The new Cosmos season, “Possible Worlds,” with host Neil deGrasse Tyson is a lot cleverer than harsh, in-your-face New Atheists of the Jerry Coyne/Richard Dawkins variety. In this it follows in the path of the original Cosmos and the 2014 re-boot. Rather than openly mock religion in some oafish or venomous way, Cosmos advances a winsome case for pantheism, an attitude of awe before nature, anthropomorphizing it, and invites us to do the same. At times this is expressed in Biblical cadences. Think of Carl Sagan on the cosmos as “all that is or ever was or ever will be.”
As philosopher Jay Richards and science historian Michael Keas discuss on a new episode of ID the Future, that is a much easier sell. Easier for slipping it into the public schools! It won’t alarm the parents nearly as much as an all-out siege on theism. Very clever, Dr. Tyson.
Download the podcast or listen to it here. Richards and Keas reflect on the program’s treatment of arch-heretic Giordano Bruno, pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza, and more. Dr. Richards is co-author of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, now out in paperback with a new Foreword. Dr. Keas’s recent book is Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion. The Cosmos season concluded last night with an episode on the “Seven Wonders of the New World.” We will have more to say. See below for previous coverage of the season from Evolution News:
- “Tyson and Cosmos Sound the Climate Alarm Again”
- “Cosmos Franchise Loses Viewers, While Pumping for Materialism”
- “Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos Peddle the Myth that Copernicus Demoted Earth”
- “Another Cosmos Episode, Another Sermon from Pastor Tyson”
- “Medicine, Religion, and Cosmos — Was Andrew Cuomo Wrong to Invoke God?”
- “Cosmos Episode 6 — That’s Entertainment! (But Is It Science?)”
- “The Biggest Myth So Far in Cosmos 3.0 — Baruch Spinoza as Science Hero”
- “New Cosmos Episodes: Only Part of the Story”
- “Counterprogramming for Cosmos 3.0: Two New Videos from Science Historian Mike Keas”
- “Cosmos 3.0 Revisits Themes of the Past, with Familiar Historical Mythmaking”
- “Cosmos 3.0 with Neil deGrasse Tyson Arrives Tonight at 8 PM, Somewhat Dented”
Image: Baruch Spinoza, shown about 1665, by an unknown artist / Public domain via Wikimedia.