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Coming Next Month, It’s The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Landmark Science Series

Evolution News

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If Neil deGrasse Tyson were the type of man to habitually wear a hat, you could say that Sean Davis at The Federalist knocked it clear off his head. Davis has caught some excellent and well-deserved attention for his posts documenting Tyson’s serial errors and misrepresentations, including a particularly egregious and repeated story about President George W. Bush.

Cosmos-Cover500-1.jpgBut for all the excellence of Davis’s sleuthing, his articles just scratch the surface. As we have shown in detail at Evolution News & Views, Tyson’s series Cosmos, for which he’s best known, is chockfull of agenda-driven distortions — not about politics but about science and religion.

That is why it’s a pleasure to be able to announce the upcoming release of an important new book, The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos: Fact and Fiction in Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Landmark Science Series.

We’ve gathered our coverage of Cosmos into one splendid source. Why?

The 2014 reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic 13-part series Cosmos struck a chord with viewers, garnered 12 Emmy Award nominations, and is headed straight into schools as a science teacher’s instructional aid. It’s also an agenda-driven vehicle for scientific materialism, casting religion as arch foe of the search for truth about nature and pressing home its message that human beings occupy no special place in the universe. Discovery Institute Press offers this urgently needed critique and response to Dr. Tyson’s distortions. The publication date is October 21.

Contributors Casey Luskin, Jay W. Richards, Douglas Ell, and David Klinghoffer, who edited the volume, dissect each episode of the new Cosmos, explaining where Tyson turns from objective science to science-flavored, fact-challenged preaching for a tendentious and corrosive worldview. Students, parents, and teachers will find a useful counterpoint in this lively viewers’ guide.

Tyson’s passionate fans and defenders won’t like it one bit. They try to spin each invention by their hero as an isolated case, reflecting no tendency to fabricate.

Don’t we all make mistakes? Of course, but in Tyson’s case it seems that a particular narrative about the cosmos and our place in it persistently guides how he understands science and history, resulting in a m�lange of fact and fiction that he passes along to impressionable viewers.

Who can forget the episode with Giordano Bruno as a martyr for science? The one trying to scrub the recognition of design in nature from Newton’s work? Or presenting Chinese philosopher Mo Tze, a monotheist, as a critic of religion? How about concealing the religious sources of inspiration in the work of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell?

Remember how science historians considered giving Tyson a pass for circulating "taradiddles" — untruths — because it was all for a good cause?

There’s a lot to like and admire about Neil Tyson, a charismatic, amiable man with a gift for explaining science in a way guaranteed to excite young people. He does seem to be blind, though, to the way his own biases edit the facts as they enter and exit his mind. Nor is it a coincidence that the producers of Cosmos, who share a philosophical outlook with Tyson, chose him to host the series.

It’s our particular hope that The Unofficial Guide to Cosmos will find its way into the hands of students in classrooms where the series is being used as a supplement, for which teachers were already saying they had plans before the program had fully aired.

Keep an eye on at ENV for more news about this exciting upcoming release.

Evolution News

Evolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues.

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