Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (Ep 3 and the Whole Thing so Far)

I really want to love this show, because (a) I love science and space, and (b) I love Carl Sagan and the original Cosmos. But, by Episode 3 I’m starting to feel like its not going to be easy to love this new Cosmos.

Neil-Degrasse-TysonIt’s not because Episode 3 was a little boring (history easily gets boring). And its not because Neil DeGrasse Tyson is less of an orator or narrator than Sagan (he’s not, in fact, maybe he’s even better). It’s because the motive of the show is becoming a bit disagreeable.

With Carl Sagan, the tangible motive was that he had passion to show the world how wonderful and amazing the universe was, and how excellent modern science was in helping us comprehend and appreciate the Cosmos. I like that. That’s uplifting and, more importantly, honest. With Neil DeGrasse Tyson, though, it feels a lot more like the motive and passion to show the world how stupid and backwards everyone and everything is – except whatever it is that he and his contemporaries currently recognize as “science.” I don’t like that, it’s negative, and its dishonest.

And there is something wrong with the science too… its not very “sciencey,” at all. Sagan’s Cosmos felt a lot more like the real thing. Sagan had some humility, a lot more than Tyson. Humility is not just a pleasant character trait, it’s  crucial to science… because knowledge cannot be had without humility. Without humility we only perceive what we want to perceive – and without accurate perception, there is no hope for an empirical method.

What could be more unscientific than claiming to know everything better than anyone else? That attitude completely biases perception and thus destroys the foundation of the empiric method itself.

Degrasse Tyson paints everything except the main hero (his version of science) as “superstition.” I’m tired of that mindset, a cult-mentality fanaticism that has saturated human history for as long as there has been human history. Listening to Neil, I get the feeling that every other culture, every other philosophy, every other “science” was really just pseudo-science and superstition – but his stuff is real. What we have today is real, but what they had yesterday was a joke.

Except that today becomes yesterday in a few hours, doesn’t it?

Every other culture and science in history had a plethora of extremely convincing  evidence and proof to substantiate their world view. This is because reality is subjective. We do not perceive reality, we perceive our own version of reality – and our own version of reality almost always makes perfect sense, to us. Reality has not suddenly ceased to be relative just because we can use computer graphics to illustrate our points these days.

If Neil DeGrasse Tyson represents the newest generation of science, then the newest generation of science sucks – I’m sorry to say. Give me a previous generation, please. I’ll take  the reruns of Carl Sagan and Albert Einstien over the new-school vendettas of Tysons and Hawkings.

– Vraja Kishor

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  1. Finally. Thank you for being the voice of reason in the face of neverending “scientific” bigotry. Let’s hope and pray more people will pick it up and carry on. It’s a blundering enough world as it is. Thanks again.


  2. ” Listening to Neil, I get the feeling that every other culture, every other philosophy, every other “science” was really just pseudo-science and superstition – but his stuff is real.”

    What other philosophies, cultures, or sciences did Tyson dismiss as mere superstition?


    1. Every ancient, classical and mideval culture had only superstitions whose only merit is that they eventually led to modern science. There is absolutely no hint that maybe these people know just as much or more about the world (albeit in very different ways and fields) as we do today, and maybe we are just as wrong about the world as they were.


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