|Image Courtesy of NASA|
My father is retired from a career as a science news reporter. I grew up with the American manned space program and have a deep passion for it. I am awed by the discoveries in astronomy and fascinated by our ever-expanding universe. My first degrees are in anthropology and history. My first Master's degree is in Archaeological Resources Management. I have a deep appreciation for the scientific method and understand all the hitches and lurches that accompany advancement. I am well read and trend toward the intellectual ... even the geeky at times.
I am also a lifelong Christian. I am an ordained minister. I have a deep knowledge of my faith from heavy research, which was required to obtain the Master's of Divinity degree (an extremely labor intensive degree). I know many great intellects, past and present, in Christianity. I also understand well the hitches and lurches that accompany advancement here. I am equally awed by all God has done and where my very personal faith has led me. Awe burns at the very core of my being.
Here's the problem.
I enjoyed the original Cosmos series on PBS. I'd like to watch the new series. However, as someone with a foot in these two worlds (worlds that should complement each other well ... IF allowed), I feel myself increasingly being pushed away from the table of scientific discovery by ridiculous comments made about my faith, my intellectually rigorous faith (no, I won't argue with you about this). Neil deGrasse Tyson is a remarkable astrophysicist and an extremely talented public speaker, conveying the enthusiasm for his science well. I enjoy that. However, when he ventures into the world of religion (I know, he doesn't bring this up himself generally), he peddles out of date arguments ("God of the gaps" arguments, Neil, really?!) against the faith (responding to the attacks from the most fundamental, I'm sure) which truly disrespect all I have worked for and all the intellectual people of faith I know. His best comment, and the one I most agree with, on issues outside of the scientific world that don't apply to his passion, "I don't care." That I can respect.
I wish we could all get past the truly time wasting arguments which boil down to kindergarten "I'm right, you're wrong" nonsense. I'm glad we haven't yet descended into "My dad can beat up your dad" arguments yet ... or have we? I wish we could all agree that we are motivated by awe, all of us, and leave it there. But, it seems we can't. So, I'm torn.
I gained some insight though. I see that the new Cosmos will air on Fox. Instantly I sneered, tarring the series with Fox News, just as I've been tarred. Well, I guess we're all human here.
I'll have to decide what to do. It's a shame it has come to this.
UPDATE: I watched the first episode and was disappointed. Looks like I'm the bad guy in the science world. The incredibly biased view of Christianity portrayed is precisely what I'd expect from Fox News. It's terribly sad. Choosing to go with an opening sequence with animation for a tour of the planets rather than the wonderful images we have of all the planets from various spacecraft was surprising and disappointing. It was particularly bad when the "ship of the imagination" flew past the Viking lander on Mars rather than the current Curiosity rover, of which there are many impressive self portraits and images of the surrounding landscape. All in all, I wished it was better. I wished I wasn't being tried and found guilty like Bruno (with whom I have great sympathy), a guy with both passions for the cosmos and for his faith ... by people whose conceptions of both were just too small ... just like Cosmos's.
For my final word on the first episode of Cosmos, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/03/furious-following-cosmos-episode-one.html