Cosmos and Creationists Do Not Mix

Cosmos Creationists Sagan Tyson

Cosmos:  A Spacetime Odyssey, which is hosted by the nation’s friendliest astrophysicist Neill de Grasse Tyson, premiered in early March as a reboot of the 34-year-old  family-friendly program Cosmos: A Personal Voyage hosted by renowned, celebrity astronomer Carl Sagan. This time around, the fourteen-episode series will explore how the laws of nature were discovered and how we find our coordinates in space and time. The series is being broadcast in more than seventy nations, the largest broadcast ever for a television series. However, Creationists and other religiously-minded individuals in the audience are not mixing with the point of view quietly.

Sagan passed away in 1996, but the enthusiasm he offered often  asked esoteric questions like, Why are we here? Where did we come from? Is there anyone else out there?, continue to be popular inquiries. The original series was the recipient of both an Emmy and a Peabody Award. Since it first aired, it has retained its large audience, being one of the most watched series ever in history, seen by over 500 million people. When Sagan brought outer space into the living room in 1980, the show’s aim had a similar vision as the current series, which is to highlight a wide range of scientific topics, including a perspective of humans’ place in the universe and the origin of life, which is inarguably exclusively presented in the series as evolution.

Naturally, those who believe the universe was created by an omnipotent being in the blink of an eye, or, ok, perhaps seven days, have a big caveat with the show. They feel their faith-based perspective deserves equal air time. They are actually demanding it. Seems like ol’ oil and water continue not to mix, leaving Cosmos and Creations at odds.

What Creationists fail to comprehend is that Fox can do what it wants. Cosmos does not have a political agenda, and even if it did, Fox can present or not present any side of the discussion it chooses. While  being stuck in a debate about how the population came into existence, those opposing the shows perspective are missing out on a dynamic discourse on the unfathomable awesomeness of the universe and how the sheer wonder of inquisitive and formative scientists have led to unthinkable discoveries that continue to expand the mind.

The show is about observation. Not story-telling, not faith. Discussing the debate on CNN before the first episode aired, Tyson remarked that because of “science says,” we shouldn’t have to have both sides of the debate. Later, while interviewed by Stephen Colbert, Tyson alighted to fact that trying to be fair and balanced,  like by including Creationism with the telling of our existence’s history, would be a waste of time.

“When different experiences give you the same result, it is no longer subject to your opinion. That’s the good thing about it. It’s true whether you believe it or not,” Tyson later embellished. “We live in a country that guarantees free speech, but it is not a country that guarantees that anything you say is correct.” Tyson’s stance is that “once a scientific truth emerges from a consensus of experiments and observations, it is the way of the world.”

In Tyson’s ideal universe, science would get as much media coverage as religion. Religionists may continue to fight their anti-secular battles, but the predominance of the fool-safe discoveries of scientific observations may not allow their voices to out yell the textbook. Perhaps, if scientific discoveries were more widely available and showcased in today’s mass media, the reality of the facts may not be as shocking or threatening. Cosmos is definitely not trying to threaten the population; it’s attempt is to synthesize what scientists know with general knowledge. A spring mixer may never see Cosmos and Creationists slow dancing to What a Wonderful World, but historically, is it not the most compelling romances that come from different sides of the track, or is it the most disastrous ones?

Opinion by Stacy Feder

Daily News

66 Responses to "Cosmos and Creationists Do Not Mix"

  1. Andy Lord   March 30, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    If Creationists are fundamentalists–i.e., believers in the literal truth of Genesis, and everything else the Bible says–they are not just foolish, they are false prophets. Since at least the time of St. Augustine, who died in 430 CE, the Church has rejected literalism. Augustine said that those who professed the literal truth of the Bible in contradiction to “what is known” hold the Church and God up to ridicule, which is exactly correct.. At the time of Galileo, Cardinal Baroni wrote, “The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go,” Literalists are a small minority of Christians whose absurd beliefs undermine understanding of man’s spiritual nature. No scientific discovery or theory could do more harm to the belief in God than the expounders of literalist claptrap, like creationists.

  2. Richard Carnes   March 30, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    creationists are funny they want “equal time” but fail to mention the hundreds of religion based tv shows and channels

  3. Zachary   March 30, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I believe that science and religion can in fact mix. The creationists may have to broaden their system of beliefs (Because lets be honest, many religions came about when we believed the Earth to be flat), and the scientologists may have to suspend belief (Because when you suspend belief anything is possible, including an omnipotent being created the universe and choreographed human evolution, orchestrating the ‘downfall’ of the dinosaurs and such).
    My personal beliefs are basically that we cannot ever know anything for certain until we have witnessed it happen, and even then there are exceptions depending on how close you were paying attention. How long ago was it that we believed the Earth to be flat? When was it that everyone ‘knew’ the earth to be the center of the universe? That we ‘knew’ the sun revolved around the earth? Tell me again, how many people ‘knew’ spontaneous generation to be true?
    We know all of these things to wrong today, but that was hundreds of years ago so it doesn’t matter right? Imagine what we “know” today that the people in centuries will “know” to be wrong? I don’t believe that we can ever know anything with absolute certainty.

  4. Kurtis Engle   March 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Show a scientist one fact that contradicts his view, and he will thank you.

    Show a creationist one fact that contradicts his view, and he will ignore you.

    Try to get between a creationist and someone elses’ childs’ unfinished mind, and now you have a fight on your hands.

    It took the Church 400 years to apologize for taking Galileo away from us. Yet, even with the apology, the behavior is the same.

  5. deeplyaware   March 30, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    It is time for creationists to embrace the latest science discoveries (history is repeating itself over and over, just like during Galileo’s time). Also, it is time for the atheists who use the latest scientific discoveries to say there is no God, it’s time for them to try to hijack these discoveries for their own purposes. If God wants to hide from us in plain sight, He will hide, and nobody will “prove” that He exists or He does not exist. And Christians need to embrace an attitude towards science that will withstand the test of time, and the test of many more discoveries to come. As many as God will allow.

  6. 365 Prophecies (@365Prophecies)   March 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    We must remember, first of all, that everything that begins to exist has a cause. There is no example anywhere in the universe where we can demonstrate that anything which has a beginning, came into existence on its own. Quentin Smith and Daniel Dennett would have us believe that the universe brought itself into being. This is, of course, impossible. In order for the universe to create itself, it would have to already exist. In essence, the universe would have to exist before it existed. In the words of Dr. William Lane Craig: “This is a logically incoherent argument.”[1]

    The logical and reasonable cause of the universe must be a transcendent source outside of the universe that existed before the universe. This source must itself be uncaused, since an infinite set of causes is impossible. There must be an infinite source for the universe—a first cause—which has always existed itself. Otherwise, how is it possible that a finite universe could come into existence apart from an infinite cause?[2]

    God is a necessity

    There no rational explanation for the existence of the universe outside the reality of a transcendent being, who possesses unlimited knowledge and power.

    Every thinking person on this planet understands that all things which have a beginning, have a cause. This would of course exclude God, since He is eternal and has no beginning.[3]

    A universe as vast and complex—yet clearly ordered, balanced, and calibrated to make life possible, must have a source that is infinite and eternal. Scientists know today that life on earth was made possible because of the precise manner in which the universe began. Had it not formed in a specific way, no life would have been possible on earth nearly 13 billion years later. Given the conditions that were present at the beginning of the “Big Bang,” the universe we presently observe would have been impossible apart from an intelligence that directed the specific sequence of events—which would make life a reality many billions of years later. Francis Collins describes the unlikely chance that life would have ever taken place anywhere in the universe:

    “The chance that all of these constants would take on the values necessary to result in a stable universe capable of sustaining complex life forms is almost infinitesimal. And yet those are exactly the parameters that we observe. In sum, our universe is wildly improbable.”[4]

    Theoretical Physicists, Stephen Hawking described the impossibility of a universe existing at all, as a supernatural event apart from a naturalistic cause.

    “The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications.” [5]

    [1] William Lane Craig, “On Guard”, Location 1938, Kindle eBook Edition.
    [2] Ibid.
    [3] Anything which has existed forever does not require a first cause. The universe, having been established with a beginning, is not eternal, therefore, requires an intelligent and powerful source.
    [4] Collins, Francis S. (2006-07-17). The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (p. 74). Free Press. Kindle Edition. ”
    [5] 1. Collins, Francis S. (2006-07-17). The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (p. 75). Free Press. Kindle Edition.
    2. I. G. Barbour, When Science Meets Religion (New York: HarperCollins, 2000).

    • shepramz   March 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      “There no rational explanation for the existence of the universe outside the reality of a transcendent being, who possesses unlimited knowledge and power.”
      How could you possibly know that?

      • 365 Prophecies (@365Prophecies)   March 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm

        In my book: “A Universe From God,” I detail 75 Scientists, Cosmologist, Astrophysicists, Mathematicians and other Nobel Prize winning Scientists who believe that God is the only rational and scientific explanation for the existence of the Universe.

        • shepramz   March 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm

          Uh-huh. Again I ask: how could YOU know that?

          • 365 Prophecies (@365Prophecies)   March 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm

            I am sorry you did not understand my answer. We know and have great confidence that God is the only logical answer for why the universe exists because some of the best and brightest scientists in the world have reached this conclusion by following the evidence. This is the same manner that you KNOW anything–someone who has studied the subject and is considered an expert–related the evidence and conclusions to you.

          • shepramz   March 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm

            “We know”? Thats funny (and so sad). Newton devoted a majority of his life to alchemy. Should we pursue that too? Problem is, there is no authority in science. Only experiments, results and consensus.

        • Justin Houser   March 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm

          Fabian McAllister once said that God knows the depths, while man only knows the green surface. I have to agree despite his homosexuality that the Jesus we know is the flash in the pan that created the Big Bang and all the love and honor of our patriots. Although we notice God-like tendencies on and in ourselves, those woman that don’t believe will clearly bemoan scientific truths beyond the death of Jesus and his wives. And so God behaves as science would predict despite his honorable service to our country.

    • Kurtis Engle   March 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      Virtual particles do not have a cause.

      • 365 Prophecies (@365Prophecies)   March 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm

        Virtual Particles only work in Mathematics, they have never been observed and are only theoretical.

        • Bart Loman   March 30, 2014 at 10:11 pm

          interesting objection. when do we get to observe god?

          • 365 Prophecies (@365Prophecies)   March 30, 2014 at 10:14 pm

            Since the subject of this article is the Universe, let us simply examine the complexity of the universe, the laws of Physics, Mathematics, and the precise manner in which the universe expanded by a clear and controlled manner, over nearly 14 billion years–to allow for life on one planet in a remote part of the universe.

          • Bart Loman   March 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

            in other words, all you have is an argument from incredulity.

        • shepramz   March 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm

          Actually, they have been observed directly through tests. Nice try.

    • Jason Sparks   March 30, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      What ever did start the universe rolling by necessity doesn’t have to be God.

    • Bart Loman   March 30, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      So, to sum up your lengthy cut’n’paste: we don’t yet have scientific answers, therefore god must exist.


      • 365 Prophecies (@365Prophecies)   March 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm

        The “cut and paste” you refer to is from my own work, in a book that I published that is factual, based on science, cosmology, astrophysics, and mathematics–not the tired repetitious bias of those who refuse to acknowledge the evidence because they chose not to believe in God…

        • Bart Loman   March 30, 2014 at 10:36 pm

          now you are committing another fallacy: appeal to authority.

          • shepramz   March 30, 2014 at 10:42 pm

            He’s been doing that at every turn: “Some scientist said this…” “William Lane Craig said that…” He appeals to unnamed scientists and the great debater, WLC, who is simply a trained Christian apologist.

    • Rex   March 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Man created God so that God could create Man. And then there’s money, power, absolution and all that other good stuff that has influenced the last 15 seconds of our Cosmic existence.

  7. Jane Hamber   March 30, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    February 14, 2014

    A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the .

    The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the

    To the question “Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth,” 26 percent of those surveyed answered incorrectly.

  8. mosquitoguy   March 30, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    This author here has been drinking the same kool-aid as Tyson. You don’t “observe” the big bang because we’re not there. The big bang IS story telling.

    • shepramz   March 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Actually, its been observed. Or at least within a fraction of a second. Read a book.

  9. Bill Smith   March 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I do think that science has the creation of the universe more or less accurately characterized so far as it has gone. However, I don’t think science has ruled out the more liberally minded creationist point of view yet. Remember that science/physics only understands about 5% of the stuff around us. They barely have a clue about the other 95% that they can’t see or touch; not to mention the literally infinite amount of physical reality that they will NEVER be able to see.

    • Rivkah   March 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Good comment. I believe in creation but also know that the universe is billions of years old. The two are not incompatible. The creationists who believe Earth is only 6K years old are denying science. They take the concept of a ‘day’ to mean a literal 24 hr period of time. If I say, ‘Back in my grandparent’s day’, I mean a period of time. As far as the Bible goes, the term ‘day’ doesn’t always mean 24 hours, either.

  10. Rick Ryals   March 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Yes, this was a fantastic opportunity to make nice with consevatives over something that they care about as well… but you had to turn it into just another facet of the culture wars…


    • Bart Loman   March 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      What they care about is absurd. If they want to air their views, they can make their own show.

      • Rick Ryals   March 31, 2014 at 3:29 am

        Yeah, um… I was talking about prior to the show being aired or written for that matter… about the common interest in space science that both sides share interests in that could have bridged the gap and possibly even started a little revolution of sorts against politics in science… or something equaly nice… BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO… fools.

  11. think   March 30, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Exactly my thought

  12. lilith   March 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    The agenda comes from Ann Druyen aka Mrs. Sagan. She strongly dislikes what she calls “magical thinking” a term which can be applied to any non-empirical line of thought. Another problem with the show, aside from its awful graphic cartoons, is the fact that much of what they wish to express has already been covered over and over again by the shows on the History, Discovery and Science chanelns in the last 15 years!!!

    • odubya23   March 30, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Ah, so you’re saying that the established facts haven’t changed? Are you saying that if it has been covered before that it need not be covered again in current media? Well then, by that token, the religious lunatics that wish their non-sense to be equal to sense ought to be silent because they’ve been going on and on about their view of the world for two thousand years. Two thousand is more than fifteen.

  13. Luke   March 30, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Hmm… It’s true that scientific “theories” can’t be “proven”, but neither can religious ideas. We don’t have time machines or starships to take us to times and places that we can witness creation firsthand, neither can we interview God and expect anything but silence. Logically speaking, should we believe what vast numbers of modern, educated scientists with brilliant technology and mathematics tell us, or should we rely on the knowledge of an ancient desert tribe that thought the earth was flat and killed their livestock to avoid droughts and locusts…? You decide for yourself.

    • Featherknife   March 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      Good point. I don’t trust anybody who doesn’t like bacon.

  14. james george   March 30, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    intelligent design and true science fit together very well.

    • Frank Wolf   March 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Jame George,
      Oh, really. Care to explain your comment a bit more succinctly…

      • AR   March 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm

        I think he was already very succinct. What we need him to do is elaborate 😉

    • odubya23   March 30, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Intelligent design is just creationism spelled with more letters. It is another attempt to equate nonsense with sense.

    • Terrence Earle   March 30, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      Humans are stupid, nothing intelligent in our design. We were made in the image of God not in the mind of god. But the question is if God doesn’t exist on the same plane of existence what defines that image? Spirit perhaps? Perhaps it’s not the vessel we are born to but the soul it contains.

  15. Chris   March 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I’m a creationist (christian), and I love Cosmos, even with its poorly-veiled jabs at faith and the backwards thinking of those who cling to it. Its a great show! I’m in awe of what God made, no matter how he made it. I am also a chemist, and fully understand and deeply value the scientific process. I just simply accept nonscientific evidence, i.e. I cannot deny the acts of God my own life.

    Big bang? Sure, why not?
    Evolution? If you insist, though modern synthesis, epigenetics, and neo Lamarckianism are poorly understood by even the most staunch evolutionists.

    In the end, though I find science compelling and good, it is unable to answer questions beyond the physical world because it does not recognize anything beyond the physical world.

    Without a free agent or soul or spirit, there is no ghost in the machine…just a machine playing out its deterministic dance…or if quantum mechanics is truly random, it’s dancing out random, chaotic movements. Either way, there is no point, no free will, and no measure of progress, goodness, or morality. Only illusions of such.

    I perhaps naïvely reject such a worldview.

    • Hodor   March 30, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      What science has over religion is it’s willing to revise its story as new information is uncovered. With faith, you simply believe or don’t. The bible can only explain things in a few ways with too many interpretations. It causes more division than it does consensus. What science and cosmos is trying to say is the more we learn that is proven by science, the more consensus there is.

      I think it’s arrogant to say science does not recognize anything beyond the physical world. As time goes on and more experiments can be made we’ll be able to see smaller and smaller. The atom, particles that make up the atom, even deeper. At some point we’ll hit something non physical. We might also find a bridge connecting the two. You never know.

      You make some interesting points, Chris. It’s too bad they are mostly shallow.

      • George Gamota   March 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm

        I really don’t think you understand what Chris has written. I am a physicist and believe in God. Too me the discovery of the Big Bang was a signal that space-time and all that follows were a creation by God. God created the laws, we humans are trying to understand them and that is what science does best.

        • Ron Brallier-Kathryn Paulson Brallier   March 30, 2014 at 9:17 pm

          So, George where did God come from and what was he doing before he did THIS!

          • Ron Brallier-Kathryn Paulson Brallier   March 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm

            We say he has done this many many times.

      • Duane Morgan (@morgan_duane)   March 30, 2014 at 9:20 pm

        It takes faith to admit if you keep looking you might find a non-physical connection, which is creationism in essence. I don’t see why you think Chris’ comments shallow.

    • Jason Sparks   March 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      We need more of this line of thinking. I may not agree with you but I bet we could have a civilized discussion about it.

  16. jay nair   March 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    The complaint from the religious folks that believe in this absurd concept of creation makes no sense at all. This is science and they should leave it at that. If they want their side (however nonsensical it might be) told in the Tyson’s cosmos, then they should also allow scientists and evolutionary biologists to preach the scientific side of every story the creationists preach in their churches or in their so called museums and podiums about how man came into existence. That is only fair. Let me see if they can agree to that.

  17. Ronald Pecorry   March 30, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    try this one: Atheist sees big bang in slice of toast:
    Go Comsos!

  18. Dr. Gerald Sutek Ph.D   March 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Tyson’s stance is that “once a scientific truth emerges from a consensus of experiments and observations, it is the way of the world.” I would like to know who made this stupid rule and when were the necessary “experiments and observations” done on the beginning of this earth and universe??? Who was there to observe and make experiment…this is what defines “science” but since none have been done then it is just the “theory” of evolution…nothing has ever been proven…so it is not scientific.

    • Paul   March 30, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      Yes, that crazy “theory” of evolution is sort of like that whacky “theory” of gravity that keeps getting tested over and over everywhere. But maybe gravity isn’t absolute either. Who knows, maybe you should put it to the test by jumping off a cliff and praying to Jesus all the way down to make an exception in your case. As for “not having been there” so as to discredit evidence, here’s a little choice in the realm of circumstantial evidence. The ground is dry when you enter a movie theater. When you exit the ground is wet as far as the eye can see. Theory 1) It rained. Theory 2) a giant peed on the world. Hmmm. So which “theory” are you leaning towards? Plausible or CRAZY?

      • think   March 30, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        I love this comment.

      • Rivkah   March 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm

        There are huge gaps in the fossil record. Do some research. Evolution is still a theory, not to be compared to the easily provable force of gravity. That said, it makes no sense for creationists to deny that the universe and our solar system are billions of years old, They are, and that is not incompatible at all with creationism.

        Stooping so low as to mock and degrade beliefs different than yours shows you do not have an open, scientifically oriented mind, but rather a need to be sarcastic.

        • Andy Lord   March 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

          “Gaps in the fossil record.” This is drivel. Natural selection forms the basis of modern biology. It is a “theory” in the same sense that “atomic theory” is a theory. In science, a theory isn’t just an idea that might or might not be true; it’s a system of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing.and observation using the scientific method and has become accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon.

          I agree that religious beliefs should not be mocked. But, as St. Augustine said, those who use the Scripture to tell people that what they know to be true about the world is not true deserve to be ridiculed by the Church.

    • Andy Lord   March 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Ph.D. in what, I wonder. Ectoplasmic Studies?

  19. James Wetterer   March 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Grammar police: “Its attempt” not “It’s attempt.”

  20. Jay D Belford   March 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Lawyers and scientists both agree – (relevant) evidence trumps hearsay – all day long – so I don’t care how much or loud,anyone wants to quibble (much less disagree) with “evidence” and/or what it “proves.” They’re stuck with yak-yak-yak about imaginary angels dancing on the heads of imaginary pins, earth being created in 7 days (yeah, right), and no admission that any OTHER set of religious ideas has any relevance whatsoever – so it’s no wonder Muslims hate Christians. Me? I’ve gotta go where the “evidence” points….i.e…. reality. Rock on, Cosmos, rock on.

  21. Brian   March 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    You do not have to believe in the Cosmos you just have to observe it.

  22. samuel   March 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    ROMANS 1

    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

  23. Tony Kelada   March 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I am one to argue that Cosmos and Creationists do mix. I watched part of the opening episode of this show. I also have faith in Creationism.

    Ironically, or perhaps not, watching parts of the episode seemed to strengthen my faith in Creationism.


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