Cosmos: A Spacetime Controversy?

Helix Nebula
Helix Nebula, as seen from the Hubble Telescope. Photo courtesy of NASA

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, premiered it’s second episode this past Sunday. This show is a follow up of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980)

The second episode, which focuses on molecules, contains information about the origin of life and evolution. This can be a controversial topic that many religious people may not enjoy watching, but I think the show’s host, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, presented it very intelligently and non-threateningly.

“Some claim that evolution is just a theory, as if it were merely an opinion. The theory of evolution — like the theory of gravity — is a scientific fact. Evolution really happened. Accepting our kinship with all life on Earth is not only solid science. In my view, it’s also a soaring spiritual experience,” Tyson said during the program.

Some people, mainly Creationists, did not like Tyson’s outlook of the theory of evolution. Danny Faulkner, Professor of Astronomy and a Creationist, was interviewed on The Janet Mefferd Show. Faulkner said he thought it was only fair Creationists received a chance to rebuttal the claims made by Tyson in the show.

Faulkner said; “I don’t recall seeing any interviews with people – that may yet come – but it’s based upon the narration from the host and then various types of little video clips of various things, cartoons and things like that.”

Tyson had made a statement earlier in the month during a radio interview on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show. In the interview, Tyson about one-third “Western/American scientists who claim that there is a god to whom they pray” and they’re “fully functioning” as scientists. He said problems arise when they use scripture as their source for theories.

Overall, I know there will probably be conflicting views of creationism versus the big bang theory for a long time, but I’m glad I can tune into the show to learn more about the major scientific theories there are about the universe.

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