Education Icon Education
Evolution Icon Evolution

Now with 12 Emmy Nominations, Why Shouldn’t Cosmos End Up in the Schools?


Next month we’ll see how many Emmys Cosmos walks away with but 12 nominations isn’t bad at all. At Mother Jones, Chris Mooney is jazzed about this triumph for "educationally driven science content" on TV.

With that kind of recognition going for it, the series seems even more likely than it did before to end up as a staple in public-school science instruction. Dan Arel at Salon is looking forward to it:

It is a safe bet to assume that the popular, critically acclaimed show will turn up in classrooms across the country, and why shouldn’t it? Tyson does a great job of explaining science so that everyone can understand what makes science fun and exciting.

Teachers should be excited about the DVD set and how it can aid in teaching such things as the cosmic timeline.

Arel and others think being critical of Cosmos means you’re anti-science. He’s got, in particular, a bee in his bonnet about us:

To those like Klinghoffer, [Cosmos in the schools] is scary news: the last thing he or any of his colleagues wants are students excited about actual science. They want students excited about their dumbed-down, edited version of science, where instead of science textbooks saying "Biology" on the outside they say "Holy Bible."

As the preceding two sentences make clear, like a lot of people who despise the idea that there may be an alternative to Darwin, Arel has no idea what we actually think about evolution, about any subject in science, about religion, or anything. So then what is wrong with Cosmos, exactly?

Writing today at The Blaze, Casey Luskin nails it. Cosmos is propaganda for a myopic view of science, where dead matter rules the universe. The series claims that

we are the result of "mindless" and "unguided" evolution, while scrubbing religion’s positive contributions. Even worse, "Cosmos" brands dissenters from the "consensus" as unthinking Nazi-followers who lack "scientific literacy" and are "in denial."

But is it a crime to scientifically challenge the consensus? After all, "Cosmos" heavily endorses panspermia — the fringe idea that life came to Earth from space.

The final episode, which aired last month, pushes the idea that humanity occupies no special cosmic location, calling Earth "a lonely speck" and citing "the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe."
Credible scientists disagree.

Proponents of intelligent design have shown that Earth does occupy a privileged position that fosters both intelligent life and scientific discovery. As Nobel Prize winning physicist Charles Townes explained:

Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all.

With expensive CGI and Tyson’s gifting as a science communicator, "Cosmos" offers lucid scientific explanations. But "Cosmos" also shows what happens when celebrity atheists are given millions of dollars to promote their views on national television.

Cosmos gives no inkling of any alternative scientific view. As a media vehicle, Mooney’s praise notwithstanding, it’s much less "educationally driven" than it is message-driven.

Casey also reminds us that for First Amendment purposes, atheism counts as a religion. And you’re not supposed to teach religion in public schools, remember?

I’m on Twitter. Follow me @d_klinghoffer.

Image source: Wikipedia.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



Cosmos (series)Cosmos: A Spacetime OdysseyFilms and VideoResponding to Cosmosscience