Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bringing the Cosmos Down to Earth

The final episode of Cosmos, aired and on the whole, I found it lacking.  I learned a few things but most of it was high school or a 101 science course.  I would have loved it many, many years ago as I did the original.  Most of today’s science or history documentaries are targeted to a younger audience.  When are they going to come up with a science channel for scientists?

I noticed a spin or slant to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s pitch of the Cosmos.  The shows continually seem to want to explain or counter the ideas and prejudges of those that believe in the voodoo science of creationism or that science is mostly wrong in some way.

By the way, science is mostly wrong.  Since most of the universe is dark matter, and the whole concept of dark matter is theoretical, it is probably more wrong thanright.  However, the spin coming from the Cosmos show was in defense of what we do know and is no longer a theory – scientific facts.

Evolution is not a theory: it is a fact.  How particular species evolved is theoretical, but the probabilistic trail and error of successful mutation of the DNA molecule is mathematical and a fact.  How life started is still an unknown – still one of the great mysteries of science and Cosmos brushed on it.  Theories abound with no provable (repeatable) facts.  The old 1950’s lighting in a jar of swampy like water experiment produced the building blocks of life, however, no matter how many time it was done, no life was ever built.

A lot of affirmative active and pro-active spin for minorities and women.  The recognition of those discovers and developers who are hidden in history – and were unknown because of their cultural situation – is needed, so thank you Cosmos.

The special effects were great, but a lot of cartoon-like animation of noteworthy scientists was a bit much. What else has the documentarians got.  Old, bad photographs, drawings, and scenes of where they lived and worked are not much better nor are re-enactors, so cartoons of early astronomers, physicists, and scientists in general was an interesting approach.

As for the voodoo science of creationism, our ability to understand the world around us is one of God’s greatest gifts and to misuse it in voodoo creationism is an insult to God. Belief in science is a matter of fact. It can be proven and disproven.  Belief in God is a matter of faith, and it can neither be proven nor disproven with facts.  When facts are mixed with faith, the result is no longer faith. It is something else that can lead to things like ethnic cleansing, lynchings, and one notable crucifixion.

We cannot know the Giver using the gift.

As for knowing the Cosmos, we are no different than when we stopped being hunter-gathers and settled down into what would become civilizations.  Even then, those that we would call geeky or nerdy today noticed over time the sun, moon, and stars sat and rose at predictable places on the horizon.  They saw the cycle.  They were sharp enough to figure that the stars sat and rose at exactly the same point on the horizon every four years plus one day. They noticed that five stars wandered the sky in relation to the other stars, but over time, their wandering became predictable, also.

Although their math was spot on, they could not explain why.  They concocted all manner of theories to explain it.  However, their theories were hampered by the observation that from their point of view, the earth appeared to be the center of the universe, and everything revolved around the earth, and so this concept was at the center of their theories to explain the movement of observable universe.  Of course they were wrong, but they got the moon right; it does revolve around the earth.

Let us hope in our theories of the cosmos such as the big band, dark matter and energy, and particle physics, we got a higher percentage right.