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    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey - The Review
    By Hank Campbell | March 7th 2014 12:31 PM | 120 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

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    Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality - Carl Sagan

    I missed the big Carl Sagan thing when it happened. I was in high school when Cosmos came out, we lived in the country and if you wanted to watch a different television network, you had to go up into the attic and turn a giant antenna with a pipe wrench. Sports and girls and D&D were more of a priority than television.

    Yet even though I didn't watch it when it came out, shortly afterward I could still tell you who said "billions and billions" with that special emphasis.  That and riffs on "Who Shot J.R.?" were big that year.

    The 1980s became something of a golden age for popular scientific literacy and I credit Cosmos for a lot of it. Science was cool. Nova was a hit, Cosmos was a hit, Stephen Hawking had a bestseller and seemingly all you had to do to launch a successful science magazine was gather the money to do a first printing. Science had the perception of being non-partisan and for the public good - President Ronald Reagan gushed about basic research, it was one of few things he believed taxpayer money should be spent on. Today, American adults lead the world in science literacy and Cosmos has to get credit for a lot of that foundation.

    Yet since then a whole lot of 'science' programming has lost its way; it's a lot of Shroud of Turin and shark tales or 'isn't this weird' stuff.

    So I was as excited as anyone when it was announced that Dr. Neil Tyson was doing an updated version of Cosmos, called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. It needed an update and modern culture needs a new Carl Sagan. If you have ever seen him do a presentation at Hayden Planetarium, you know Tyson is magical in his element. With apologies to Sagan fans, Tyson is just plain better when it comes to talking about space, an assertion that even Tyson will dispute given his obvious affection for Sagan.


    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, March 9th, 2014.

    Yet outsiders who judge him on the episode of Cosmos I got may not feel that way. Let me explain.

    I did not get the whole series, they sent me a screener with one episode, "Standing Up In The Milky Way", but these are smart companies and we have to expect they are putting their best foot forward and sending out what they think will appeal to the broad audience.

    If that is so, they think the audience likes scary, factually incorrect cartoons about religion burning scientists alive. I was excited to watch the show with my kids - the kids and I watch all the programming people send me unless it is clearly goofy, like one of those UFO things - but we ended up not finishing it together.

    It starts out well. Tyson tells us we are going to explore the very large and the very small and then he flies us through space, a lot like he does in his brilliant Hayden Planetarium show. We get rogue planets, distant suns and 100,000 light years of context in just a few minutes.

    Then suddenly we get a claim that Giordano Bruno is responsible for the concept of the universe - because he read 'banned' books. Lucretious wasn't science - there was no scientific evidence for his claim that wind caused earthquakes or worms spontaneously generated - it was philosophy, and his book was not rare in 1600 AD, people were also not martyred for reading it, and yet we get told a philosophical belief in infinity was what got Bruno into trouble.

    It's an immediate disconnect for people who know science history because it smacks of an agenda. I instead object because it is flat-out incorrect. To claim that Bruno promoted the concept of the universe, a "soaring vision", despite persecution, while simultaneously being hired over and over by the institutions we are told were oppressing him, makes no sense. That segment of the show makes it sound like he was a devout Christian tormented by reason rather than what he was - a cultist who engaged in confirmation bias to pick and choose anything that matched his beliefs.(1)

    Bruno's "science" was never mentioned during his trial, he was on trial for being a cult worshiper. He only took up the cause of Copernicus because he believed in the Egyptian god Thoth and Hermetism and their belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not because he had perceived anything radical. Galileo rightly dismissed most of Bruno's teachings as philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Bruno was only revived as a 'scientist' and a martyr for science by anti-religious humanists in the 19th century.The church didn't even bother to ban his writing until well after he was dead.

    Bruno was not a martyr for science, the way the cartoon in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey alleges, he was a martyr for magic. He actually was a heretic. Sorry, but 400 years ago when you repeatedly lecture about what was regarded as a cult and insist Catholics and Protestants need to accept Hermetism as fact, you are getting into trouble. He also taught that demons caused diseases. No matter how little you may know about the 16th century, you know they were not teaching that demons cause diseases.


    Martyr for science? Hardly. Yet the same skeptics who deride psychics have painted a history where he did not believe in magic more than science. Credit and link: Philosopedia.org

    Roman Catholics gave him 10 years to back off from his claim that his alternate religion was empirical fact they needed to accept. Hardly a sign of rushing to judgment or pop culture beliefs about religion of the time. He instead wanted to be a poster child for the Inquisition. He was clearly mentally ill.

    It sets an unfortunate tone that they slipped revisionist history in with science - it is the story of Bruno as if it were written by a blogger on some "free thought" site. Are humanists and atheists the key market for this program? That wasn't the case for Sagan.

    And I know that isn't the case for Tyson either. Walk up to Tyson and call him a Skeptic and he will quickly assure you he is not part of any organized skeptic movement. He goes where reason takes him and, like Sagan, he can probably defend the value of a liturgical society and then he will be critical when religion deserves to be criticized.

    Sagan succeeded because he communicated science without tearing other people down. Tyson does also but in the episode provided to me, the Bruno story came across as more of a program Richard Dawkins would have hosted than Carl Sagan. And that's too bad, because Tyson is not divisive like that.

    Maybe we can blame producer Seth MacFarlane. "Family Guy" is a hilarious show but it isn't for everyone. When the religious cartoon with the demonic faces came on persecuting Bruno I just shut it off and watched the rest by myself later. It's bad to give my kids flawed history of science, it's even worse to traumatize them.

    But if lots of people do that, young people may be missing out on some of the wonder that Tyson can bring them.

    NOTE:

    (1)  In fairness, Tyson had a precedent in getting history wrong to tell a better story. Carl Sagan did the same thing with Hypatia of Alexandria in the original Cosmos. He claimed Hypatia was a martyr for science and that superstitious religious people burned down the Library of Alexandria due to her. There was almost nothing correct in that claim; the library had been gone for hundreds of years, it was a 'pagan' temple at the time. And his narrative ignored the political reality of the day; the pagans had also desecrated Christian buildings and there was a cold war happening between the government and the bishop. Hypatia was a neo-Platonic philosopher, not a scientist, and her classes were made up of Christians so they clearly did not dislike her en masse.

    Comments

    So, new questions for post-Sagan cosmologists, which is the probability that within a galaxy like the milky way, from the dust of its exploded stars, the living being who uses a computer was formed - computer included? A favourable case among infinite unfavourable possibilities? Fifty-fifty? To be or not to be, is that the question? Are calculations simplified or made more complex when the subjective self of each one is the entity that is studied? Anyway , what is the relationship between life and immense numbers? Is life a folding process of infinity? Is it just something infinite that would have enough to allow a self, something isolated but of infinite claims? But, is infinity credible within something with a beginning, out of a Big Bang? And is it credible within something with an ending, with the inevitable death around the corner? Along these lines, there is a book, a preview in http://goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another mind leisure suggestion, far away from dogmas or axioms.

    The answer to your question -- what is the probability that somewhere in the universe there is a civilization -- is not "fifty-fifty" (0.5) but exactly 1. The fact that we exist suffices to make this clear.

    Hank, your kids are lucky to have a dad who can write this well, it must be an inspiration to them.

    Hfarmer
    Good writeup.  I'll probably write up something myself from the perspective of one of us not important enough for a pre-screening.  I'll just be happy if it tells the science correctly and my Astronomy students get it.  
    Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans.
    Hank
    I think most of it was fine. Just need better editing. His homage to Sagan at the end of Ep. 1, for example, seemed out of place. Why do it then? We are already in the groove. Do it at the beginning, then go zooming through space. Cut the Bruno bit completely, since it is both wrong and added nothing to the science - there is no one between Copernicus and Galileo worth talking about and Bruno was just a crank who worshiped the sun. Talk about Copernicus if science matters, though you won't have the demonic religious types burning anyone then.
    The only way to get a Neapolitan to button it would be to burn them.
    in your review made me laugh!
    Hfarmer
    I get what you mean.  This show might be the total of what many people see of science facts for many years.  So why give them any wrong information?  Maybe they thought the idea of someone being torched just for saying things which...should not threaten the faith of Christians, Muslims, or Jews...was more evocative. 

    Right now I am surprised that there hasn't been a backlash of racist comments, yet.  Maybe my prediction made at the start of the year will be wrong in the end.  Maybe the ignorant among the masses haven't noticed this show yet.  Their too busy watching reality TV. 

    Yeah that part about people from Naples or of that extraction came from getting to know one of them.  With one of them it was like act I of Othello.  (Lifetime total of five rather tomboyish women in 34 years if anyone ask.  With me someone would).  
    Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans.
    It's good to know that Bruno wasn't killed for his wrong (scientific) beliefs, but rather burnt at the stake for his wrong (religious) beliefs. Much better behavior by the Church.

    Hank
    I agree, because Cosmos is not about church. Actually, most people in science agree that blaming a church when it shouldn't be blamed is as stupid as giving it credit when it doesn't deserve credit. No one had even heard of Bruno before his revised story was manufactured during the atheist movement in Italy in the 19th century. Now he has become a poster child for humanism - except he wasn't anything of the kind.

    Atheists might as well be lauding Psychic Sally as a martyr for science, because she is full of crap too.
    Revision of history is what you do dear sir, it's funny how in information age we still have characters like you, it only takes 5 minutes to fact check your claims.
    Very sad and boring piece of demagogy you got here. I'd love to tell you to keep it up, but please don't.

    Hank
    It doesn't take long to look up the definition of 'demagogue' and yet you chose not to do it and instead used emotional verbage to make...what point, exactly? Are you claiming Bruno did not insist Hermetism was fact and was not excommunicated by three different religions for being increasingly crazy? He was certainly not excommunicated for science but maybe you can say it was just because that is your opinion, just like you can insist UFOs are real.

    You do make a valid point, that all history is subjective. Yet if history is written by the winners, in this case a church, why would they not have revised it to make themselves look better? What we do know is that the 19th century humanists who took up the flag of Bruno did just that.

    I have no beef against the guy - I think crackpots have their place and maybe you think Harold Camping's doomsday predictions are 'science' too and that he has been persecuted. Fine by me, perhaps 250 years from now books will be written about how Camping was tormented by atheists and it can ignore the fact that he didn't know what he was talking about.
    Profoundly depressing. What we are witnessing I think is the birth of a new religion of "mystical science". The desire for a participation mystique did not vanish when Nietzsche declared God dead. The nonsense of the Kakus and Greenes and Tegmarks of the world is nothing less than an attempt to reinvent science in the image of Homo Narcissisticus - Man the Beautifully Reflected. Everything is there - the genuflection of priests, the extreme irreality, the logic-chopping over things that have no substance, the idle speculations, but most importantly, the empty mysticism.

    -drl

    Good article. Looks like de Grasse-Tyson has joined Sagan in the ranks of scientists who bungle history. Now the myth of Bruno as a martyr for science will get a new lease of undeserved life. And I love the way when anyone points out that Bruno was executed for his religious beliefs and not for anything to do with science, some idiot always pops up and says "oh, so you're justifying burning people at the stake?" Some people make me despair.

    I agree with the author of this column. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "in 1600 there was no official Catholic position on the Copernican system, and it was certainly not a heresy. When [...] Bruno [...] was burned at the stake as a heretic, it had nothing to do with his writings in support of Copernican cosmology." It is also important to remember that Copernicus himself was a Catholic priest, and suffered no ill for the promulgation of his model of the cosmos.

    Bruno may not have been a martyr for science alone, but he was a martyr for free thought. What right did the church have to execute someone for speaking his mind? What right does anyone? I didn't see any revisionist history going on in that episode. I saw an omission of the fact that Bruno was also a heretic in the traditional "defy the church's teachings way". But actually in the sentencing scene they mention the other reasons for his trial. Did you miss that part?

    Hank
    You are arguing a point no one made. No one said he should have been killed or the Inquisition was good, it is simply the case that he was not martyred for science.

    I agree with you that every homeopath, charlatan, huckster, snake oil salesman, etc. is a beacon of free thought too. It does not make them legitimate.  This free thought business tends to be just 'I hate religious people' and has little to do with 'free thought', or there wouldn't be so much energy spent telling religious people how to live their lives.
    Also, I agree with the man who mentioned that history is written by the victors. Of course the documents of the time would paint Bruno as a raving loony. Because that would suit them.

    Ummm, try reading Bruno's own writings. They make it perfectly clear that he was a kooky mystic and not a scientist in any sense of the word. If Bruno was a scientist then Depak Chopra is a quantum physicist.

    Why do you believe history is written by the winners? Just because it is a cliche that sounds reasonable? Do you have any empirical reason to believe that?

    Have you ever heard of Thucydides? Was he Athenian or Spartan? You you answered "Athenian", go to he had of the class. Where do we get over 90 percent of our information on the Peloponnesian War
    from? If you guessed "Thucydides", go to the head of the class. Who won the Peloponnesian War? if you guessed "Sparta" go to the head of the class. You see, an Athenian who lost the war, wrote the history we have today.
    Who won the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ? My mostly illiterate trogalidyte Germanic ancestors. Except for some recent archaeology, where do we get are infromation regarding that battle from? You guessed it, the Romans; specificlaly,  Roman historian Suetonius in De vita Caesarum

    The fact is, "loser's" have written a lot of history. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Southerners dominated the historiography of the American Civil War. I don't have to remind you won that war; do I?

    My specialty is World War II. Until the 1990s, almost everything we knew about the Russian Front came from German sources. It was the Russians that won that war more than anyone else. It is estimated from German sources that, 9 out of 10 German soldiers killed (not including civilians who we killed a lot of in bombing raids but soldiers) were killed by the Red Army.

    You really should not consider yourself a skeptic until you start evaluate stupid cliches such as "History is written by the winners." with empirically based critical thinking.

    Hank
    Indeed, but the embrace of Bruno seems to be agenda-based so there is no skepticism or critical thinking involved. The man thought Native Americans and pygmies spontaneously generated - or came from a second Adam. That second one likely got him into trouble, but had he just stuck with magical black boxes he probably would have been okay. 

    From "The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity" By Benjamin H. Isaac:



    Francesco Redi did not conclusively debunk spontaneous generation until a few decades later but no one took it seriously in science by the time of Bruno.
    Mark, thank you for your comment. I'm one of those people who say, "History is written by the winners", without thinking. You've set me straight.

    I am laughing so hard watching this stupid series that discredits creationism in silly silly ways. Neil: "we are made of star stuff"... "the big bang created sex"...O lord have mercy on these people who willfully reject your marvelous ways. God said they wanted proof of my existence? It's been all around you but are too blind to grasp it. The time is very soon for all that will suddenly wake up to know the truth. But it will be too late. Scoffers need to repent as I, a past atheist once did. Everything is written. EVERYTHING! :D the wars. the famines, the pestilences, the murders, the unexplainable evil. Read what you choose to ignore while you have the time in this world. Repent and seek Jesus. Who is the only way to the AFTER and everlasting life. Even this world is temporary, God will yet again make a new earth. It will have no sea. Yet the same tree of life many unbelievers scoff at in the book of Genesis will be placed within gods heavenly kingdom for his people here on earth. As the earth was cleansed by the flood by water, so will it be cleansed once more by FIRE! Accept Jesus Christ! My joy is unexplainable. My peace from God surpasses all understanding. I know the lowest lows, and am not offended by anyone! If god is for us, who then can be against us! Amen!

    Heh. 2000 years (an eyeblink in time, if you watched the show). 2000 years and still zero evidence. None. Zilch. It's really that simple.

    Regardless, the show doesn't even speak on the topic of religion except in the historic sense of early philosophers having to brave totalitarian religious regimes.

    Totalitarianism didn't even exist until the 20th century. It was not until the 19 century with the combination of technology and bureaucratic know how that, totalitarianism was even possible. I think you mean tyrannical.

    tyrannical - yup. Better word.

    Michael Martinez
    I found the show to be rather appalling.  I suppose it has a chance to improve but frankly I was at a loss to explain why the "history lesson" was even included.
    Dr. Tyson should be ashamed at pushing this kind of nonsense onto the masses.  We have reality shows for that.
    So what did you find so appalling? Was it the fact that it wasn't scientifically accurate or was it because it didn't agree with your religious beliefs?

    I disagree with your assessment of how the episode portrayed Bruno. I saw him portrayed as a bit of a loon... but a loon speaking his mind and "on to something". I saw him portrayed as burned at they stake for heresy. What I watched got it mostly right, if in summary. So... revisionist? Not really. Simplistic? Sure.

    Hank
    Sure, obviously it is a matter of interpretation. Some people have rightly noted this is intended to be a little more science-fiction-y and cartoon-y and I certainly agree culture is different than 35 years ago so if it is going to be competitive it has to have a more modern approach to science outreach.

    His portrayal as some sort of tormented Christian conflicted by his belief in science is flat out made up. Why include him at all, since Cosmos is about science? There are far better examples they could have used so it looks strange (agenda-based) to set the tone for the series by using this one. I can't imagine Tyson did it without being convinced by people writing checks. Maybe someone watched the original, noted Sagan did the same thing with Hypatia, and just followed the pattern.
    Fair enough. In that, I think you are right. I.e., it was unneeded drama. Maybe its purpose was simply to demonstrate the conflict between the theocracies of that era.... but you are right that they are probably better ways to do that.

    Halo again Hank...

    I think I will call you Hank Crap-Stater...is that ok?...since crap is a term you are fond of in addressing others views.
    Of course, MAN... those religious zealots on your site...well, you do seem to drawing flies...lol (BUZZZZZZ!)
    I wonder how you survive it...well, maybe that stuff is why you seem so mad...at disparate views...I don't like theology either, uh, Brother...

    I think that the science of the Cosmos venue is important. Hopefully, the series
    will interweave the necessary neural implications. IF not, then the show lacks
    dramatically...and chatting about the stars will get old after a while...stardust or not...
    and techno-glitz or not. Also, Tyson should provide a healthier (in shape) performance
    in my opinion...Sagan was never overweight. Health is important, right?

    Hawkin recently said Reality is in the Mind...has yours given this much thought? Just a 'thought'.

    Plato once said that Language (or TV SHOWS) Conceal as much as they reveal. Consider that for a moment.

    One never knows what they miss. You are alone in your view. As is everyone else. Seeming agreements are fleeting...although they may last for years in time...

    As for spirituality,
    I'm reminded that Ann, Sagan's wife...consistently supports marijuana
    as a spiritual tool. Good for her (me too). I also consider that Sagan,
    a leading Pot legalization advocate, was ostracized by the Science community
    for a long, long time...and that kept him out of the Science Hall of Fame
    for years. So, my point to you Hank is this: Is there really only one
    'normative' science...or actually many contending forces that drive the day?
    Hmmm? Just today, I noticed in Google science news...that more
    ozone depletion is occurring (man-made science etiology)...followed by
    another article...debuting Tyson's new show. Comparing these two articles
    is revealing...as this is the real story...showing the good/bad nature of science.
    It's the Sword of Damocles all over again.
    But you, like those Christian Folk, don't wanna hear the downside of your...FAITH.

    I see almost nothing but a dogmatic agenda being pushed in this column. Here's an example:

    "Roman Catholics gave him 10 years to back off from his claim that his alternate religion was empirical fact they needed to accept."

    Yes. The Catholics were the innocent bystanders, being pestered by Bruno to change their views. They very politely gave him 10 years to stop insisting that they change their views. Unfortunately, he refused to stop proselytizing, SO THEY BURNED HIM.

    What a load of crap. It might bother me that the Cosmos series has gotten some widely accepted facts of history wrong. They should be correcting misinformation -- even if the point of the segment is accurate (that the Church imprisoned and tortured people who went against Church teachings).

    But being lectured to by a propagandist about how bad propaganda is seems much worse.

    Michael Martinez
    Hm.  The fact that Bruno was burned at the stake has nothing to do with science.  That the TV show would make it seem like there was a conflict between science and the church in his case is misleading.  It's worth noting that the show is misleading.
    As for all the harmful things Catholics and other people have done to their people throughout human history, we're not about to change that bad behavior by rewriting history.  But at least we still care enough to express outrage at the idea of killing people for believing things we don't.
    Hank
    Your desire to call anyone who violates your beliefs a "propagandist" sets the Zealot Meter to alert level orange.

    Your misuse of the term 'dogmatic' may be why you misunderstand the sentence also. In the program, it goes from him believing in an infinite universe to suddenly being tortured.

    That was not the case at all - and you are simply being emotional claiming I said it was okay to burn him. I said he was not a martyr for science. No one except an anti-religious zealot would be so determined to criticize religious zealots that they let themselves defend a 1600 AD version of Psychic Sally. It's still zealotry, just a different flavor in some morally relative haze.

    The Bruno story had no reason to be there, really. Cutting it takes away nothing but leaving it in is factually incorrect and, as I said, sets the wrong tone for a science program.  Sagan made a similar error, though I believe more innocently, but he was smart enough to do so at the end.

    Your points about the ethical crimes of a church 400 years ago are fine, I suppose, except who are you arguing with? No one said otherwise.
    Sorry, but you can't dance away and misdirect.

    Cosmos may have gotten some commonly misunderstood details wrong -- I'm not ready to trust you on that given the state of your column -- but it is an accurate depiction of the Church's actual behavior. They did imprison, torture, and kill people for violating their dogma.

    You, on the other hand, have depicted the Church as a kind institution that gave Bruno every opportunity in the world to stop pestering them before they murdered him. In fact, they gave him 10 years of prison time to reconsider his unreasonable views.

    You are displaying MUCH more dishonesty and propaganda than did Cosmos.

    Hank
    There's no misdirection. Cosmos is not about a church, it is about science. They did not kill Bruno over science, they killed over him his cult worship. Thus, him getting a special cartoon rather than Galileo means there is an agenda at work.

    Your efforts to paint me as claiming a church was some fuzzy-wuzzy benevolent Inquisition machine is, like your knowledge of science history, lacking a clue.
    Hank Campbell: "Your efforts to paint me as claiming a church was some fuzzy-wuzzy benevolent Inquisition machine is, like your knowledge of science history, lacking a clue."

    Sorry. It was you that said this: "Roman Catholics gave him 10 years to back off from his claim that his alternate religion was empirical fact they needed to accept."

    YOU said that the church graciously allowed Bruno 10 years to back off before they murdered him. YOU said that Bruno -- a lone crank -- was rudely pestering the entire institution. YOU did paint them as a fuzzy-wuzzy benevolent Inquisition machine.

    You are much more dishonest than this episode of Cosmos in your depiction of the Bruno affair.

    Hank
    Sorry. It was you that said this: "Roman Catholics gave him 10 years to back off from his claim that his alternate religion was empirical fact they needed to accept."
    Because that is exactly what happened. 

    You may have a desire to engage in some fanatical war against a church or religion in general. Okay by me. But you don't get to invent your own science history to do it. Bruno was not a martyr for science, so implying he was in that show was suspect.

    Let's be honest. If the story was spun another way, and it was painted by Neil as that religion was awesome for science, you would be up in arms about his show. You do not care about facts or evidence or reason, you just hate religion.  You are defending it only because it matches your world view - which is exactly what religious people do.

    So now you are going to attribute a mental state to me. You don't know me. And it does not help your reputation to be pretending to be clairvoyant.

    I don't hate religion. I just hate dishonesty.

    Hank
    Then you should hate a portrayal of Bruno that tries to sandwich him in between Copernicus and Galileo, gives him his own cartoon with flashy graphics to make him look like a martyr for science, and then only afterward provides a quiet disclaimer that he was not a scientist. That sure feels dishonest.

    If the only objection you can find is that this review does not let a TV show implicate religion in creating a martyr for science when that clearly did not happen, then my analysis of your motive is spot on.
    Again, the only thing you've done is show a minor historical discrepancy in Cosmos. (If you can be trusted ... still a big question.) Even if you're correct, then it's a minor thing to complain about.

    Much more important is your propaganda. You actually imply that the Church was being kind to Bruno in giving him 10 years to stop pestering them with his demands that they change their beliefs.

    That is much more dishonest.

    Hank
    Again, the only thing you've done is show a minor historical discrepancy in Cosmos.
    And yet that is all you have focused on.

    Telling me I can't be "trusted" because you happen to have a militant cultural agenda and I do not is exactly the kind of fundamentalism the modern Bruno mythology appeals to - it just isn't based on evidence and it has nothing to do with science. It's no different than if global warming or vaccine deniers showed up when their pet belief is undermined. 

    Now saying the Bruno cartoon is a minor historical discrepancy (yet it warranted its own expensive production) but then carping on my noting it as wrong at all seems a little strange. I said it is wrong, Bruno's demise had nothing to do with science, and a whole bunch of people are bleating about how evil religion is.  It's almost as if science is unimportant to you, and just a convenient weapon in your culture war.
    Hank Campbell: "Telling me I can't be "trusted" because you happen to have a militant cultural agenda and I do not ..."

    Do you ever tire of lying?

    Hank Campbell: "It's no different than if global warming or vaccine deniers showed up when their pet belief is undermined."

    That's funny! I don't really care if you're right or wrong about Bruno. I'm not here to protect him. I have no vested interest in him, or in the show Cosmos, for that matter. They could be right or wrong on this. I think that if your version is accurate (and again, I doubt your honesty on that), then they should have corrected the commonly held notion.

    You, however, are as dishonest as the day is long. I have just selected one statement out of many that show your ideological bias -- and you have yet to defend it. You are pretending that the Church was just being polite to Bruno -- giving him 10 years to stop telling them that they should change their beliefs.

    You are much more dishonest than is the Cosmos episode that you are denouncing.

    On one hand, "idahogie" says that he doesn't care whether the author is "right or wrong about Bruno." On the other hand, idahogie excoriates him for "pretending that the Church was just being polite to Bruno." This seems glaringly inconsistent, but maybe he wouldn't take the time to comment if he actually cared?

    I wonder about Anon555's reading comprehension. What he/she calls "glaringly inconsistent" is nothing of the sort.

    I only said that I don't care about whether Hank Campbell is right or wrong about Bruno because he ignorantly and falsely accused me of being here to defend Bruno. Which he's done to many of the people who've criticized him here. It is a lie, and so I said I don't care.

    I also said several times that Cosmos should get the story right, no matter what it is. And that even if they got it wrong, the false story about Bruno still tells the essential truth about the Church.

    Campbell, on the other hand, is lying about the Church, in an effort to whitewash its history. That is a much worse crime than what he's accusing NdGT of.

    Please try again, Anon555. (And what's with the stupid scare-quotes around my name?)

    idahogie---- You are the winner in this argument with Campbell. And , you are right to be skeptical of his contention re Bruno. In fact Bruno did declare that the earth moved and the Catholic Church took the position that it did not and that anyone who said it did was a heretic. The Church believed that it had the right to Murder anyone who dared to think for themselves and take a position that was at odds with that of the Church. Galileo barely escaped the fate of Bruno for saying the same thing , that the earth moved. His punishment was to be imprisoned for the remainder of his life. Now watch Campbell defend and minimize this atrocity . Campbell's white wash of the Churches action, calling it " killing" rather than the horrendous murder that it was is shocking. I'm sure he also would defend/ downplay the action of the Church in murdering men who merely translated the Bible into languages that the masses could read.

    Considering Christianity and most religions of that era were based on Astrology then it is important open the curtain on the struggles of early free thinkers. The Creationist Museum in Kentucky teaches science or religion??? Maybe a swift kick in the pants to the indoctrinated is just what this show's agenda really is.... I for one hope so. I understand Astronomy, I learned everything on this show in 11th Grade. The home schooled and bible belt Kids will be sheltered from this. Which is criminal!
    Wake up Christians!!!

    Hank
    Bruno was also an astrologer. He made a lot of money doing that.  So shouldn't "free thinkers" be ridiculing him for it? Instead, most of the commenters here seem to want to put posters of him up on their walls and worship him as some sort of science authority. That's not evidence-based.

    At least you are being honest, that your agenda is not science, it is simply looking for new ways to debunk a religion you happen to hate. I know Neil's show is not for you, though. He actually does love science too much to hate religion.
    My agenda happens to be allowing Children of Fundy christians to watch this program and arrive at the correct conclusion that they are forced to be scientifically ignorant. These children who are told not to believe in Evolution will be your politicians in 30 yrs, a sad thought there.
    I love science- this is elementary science, but I love science enough to hate what religion does to people.
    Guess what? so does Neil DeGrasse Tyson, he just can't say this in public, nor can I..... why? ask yourself that question...

    Burned at the Cross wasn't that long ago... Oh, so that's why Bruno was mentioned in this show about the Cosmos!

    Hank
    My agenda happens to be allowing Children of Fundy christians to watch this program and arrive at the correct conclusion that they are forced to be scientifically ignorant.
    To normal people, you act no differently than the 'fundy' community you despise. You are just a zealot about a different thing. 

    Your claim that you will be persecuted if you tell the truth about Bruno...at least I think, whatever gibberish you are foisting off as more rational than fundamentalists in that comments, no one can really tell...is so conspiracy-laced and vain it is bordering on narcissism. No religious person gives a crap what some anonymous intolerant person on the Internet thinks, just like you wouldn't care what an anonymous religious person thinks of your opposing view. 

    Religious people sometimes lie to maintain a ruse. That's bad. Yet you circle the wagons around lies about Bruno and insist you are somehow more ethical. Sorry, moral relativism and rationalizations are checked at the door.
    Bruno wasn't a scientist. Tyson stated in the show that Bruno wasn't a scientist. Bruno wasn't burned because he read Lucretious, he was burned because he was spreading ideas that were contrary to the religious dogma of the time. One of those views was a heliocentric worldview, which was later proven. The overall point the segment made was that before separation of church and state, people could be put to death for their thoughts. If you want to ignore the overall point and nitpick, fine. But at least get your facts straight before you criticize someone else's.

    Hank
    Basically, Bruno had no reason to be in the show, is what you were saying. That was exactly my point also.  We get the weird, incorrect cartoon and then get told he wasn't a scientist and he simply got lucky in that his Hermetism beliefs and sun worship happened to coincide with Copernicus.

    Why have his story in Cosmos, since he was not a martyr for science and he simply embraced whatever matched his confirmation bias? It's incorrect and it's out of place and has nothing to do with science. Galileo dismissed Bruno as a crank, and yet Galileo doesn't get his own cartoon in the middle of the show. We can only speculate as to why that is.

    Like numerous others who resent any facts about Bruno that are factual, you are instead so obsessed with criticizing a church of 400 years ago, you will embrace a charlatan. That comes across as really, really odd.
    So, instead of owning up to your factual errors in this piece and correcting them, you are more interested in asserting that I wish to embrace a charlatan. I did not say that everything Bruno believed was true. He was in the show most likely because he believed in a heliocentric universe, and later influenced Galileo. And the Church has a history of favoring dogma over facts, that still continues today. Thankfully they no longer have the power to burn people for what they believe, at least not in the US.

    Hank
    There is no factual error, Bruno was not a martyr for science. It's that simple. Your efforts to make this TV show about your dislike of one particular sect, or religion in general, are misguided.  Bruno's story is out of place because it is in defiance of both evidence and reason.  
    "If that is so, they think the audience likes scary, factually incorrect cartoons about religion burning scientists alive."

    Factual error, the show never stated Bruno was a scientist.

    "his book was not rare in 1600 AD, people were also not martyred for reading it"

    The show did not suggest Bruno, or anyone else, was martyred for reading Lucretious.

    Thank you enlightening the sensitive ID'ers out there.
    Bruno, although not a Scientist (so what ), people observing the Universe with insight were very close to being a Scientist of that time ( remember the janitor/electrican in the Observatory in 1912). Bruno's ideas made the Church mad... His ideas were correct....he was killed because he refused to accommodate the church Dogma. Galalleo could have been used, probably should have, but it doesn't matter, killed for free thinking is so Christ -like.
    This is a important piece of education. In a Country where 46% of the population believes Universe is 6,000 yrs old, believes in the Noah's ark story, we need time to dwell on the teaching of Myth over Science. Is this part of the new and revised Cosmos agenda?...I sure hope so. The more people understand why people were marginalized for
    their non-belief the sooner we stop the religious junk science from one man made book of fairy tales. GREAT SHOW! I hope Sam Harris makes a cameo.

    Hank
    In a Country where 46% of the population believes Universe is 6,000 yrs old
    What country is that?
    Good ole USA..

    For thirty years, Gallup has been asking Americans their views about evolution and human beings, and the results have been remarkably consistent and stable.

    Last year, Gallup once again reported that nearly half of the country believe the Biblical version of events: “Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years.”

    Hank
    America leads the world in adult science literacy, science output and Nobel prizes and has done so continuously during the time when you insist most people are so much dumber than you. And almost 50 percent of scientists claim to be religious so it can't be that only atheists do good science. The guy who runs the NIH is religious, after all. I hope he is not a creepy Fundy.

    It could be that even as acceptance of evolution has risen, the people inclined to at least pretend to accept evolution have stopped using landlines and don't take Gallup polls. Pew shows a much different result, different by half.

    I say "inclined to at least pretend to accept evolution" because judging by the comments most of you have written, what any of you actually know about adaptive radiation could dance with those religious angels on the head of a pin.

    You simply have faith in biology, and use a different form of unquestioning belief about evolution. That's actually not more rational.
    I say "inclined to at least pretend to accept evolution" because judging by the comments most of you have written, what any of you actually know about adaptive radiation could dance with those religious angels on the head of a pin.

    Actually, before you address someone's lack of knowledge about adaptive radiation, you should look into your own ignorance of the scientific process. You still ignore your own factual errors in this review and still insist that your own conclusion is the correct one. Then when these errors and biases are pointed out to you, your response is to resort to insults. Not very becoming of someone who operates on a website called Science 2.0.

    Also you should realize that the ability to think freely is a foundational tenet of the scientific method. Without it, science could not be done. And if any organization is guilty of oppressing freethought, it should be pointed out and condemned. Especially if such an organization burns people for what they believe.

    Gallup Poll: 46% of Americans Are Creationists - Patheos
    now u know. still incredulous? uncomfortable fact? doesn't fit ur thoughting?

    KRA5H
    sinestra said, "I hope Sam Harris makes a cameo."

    Do you mean the Sam Harris who said this?

    "The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas." (The End of Faith, 2004)

    Everyone has the right of self defense, "defined as the right to prevent suffering force or violence through the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence....As a general rule, self-defense only justifies the use of force when it is used in response to an immediate threat.  The threat can be verbal, as long as it puts the intended victim in an immediate fear of physical harm.  Offensive words without an accompanying threat of immediate physical harm, however, do not justify the use of force in self-defense. (source: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/self-defense-overview.html). 

    What I find troubling is this bit: "Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."

    How is that any different from the Inquisition?
    "This page intentionally left blank." --Gödel
    yeah, so.. seems like a fire-storm here.. cosmic? ...good for Bruno. He didn't have a telescope so he did the best he could.
    Don't want to directly engage ol' hanky cranky cambell here. He seems REAL set on what is Science way back when -before physics, applied forces, calculus, ..electricy , all we are at now.
    Religion(s), unfortunately, are with us because someone with more power gets the others doing their bidding, tribute, putting up square rocks, and higher view-stages to keep on telling the others to keep up the tribute, getting a story going that the 'god' spokesmen guide u thru the door for 'life after you're dead'.
    Obviously Hanky is par-boiled (as most of the rest of the world) in religion and with our recent stick-in the- head ' stick to it scientists' who persevered to get us the modern world, the quest for KNOWLEDGE and the flowering in America (because of their relative luxury to Explore and develop) (vs.10,000 years of earlier history), NOW HAS ZOOMED into the Cosmos, with Hubble retrieving KNOWLEDGE that primitives, and medievals were not able to achieve, fulfilling the quest of early 'philosophers' who were stalling and stumbling and religionizing throughout. Kelpler, Galileo, all these first ones to break away from 'flat earth' and earth centric' still had to submit to governence by religion, or be castigated or scorned, or punished by 'god's representatives'. -Think you know that, sir.
    NOW we see there's a TRILLION TRILLION GALAXIES. So far- we're seeing it covers 15 billion light-years. The universe exploded, coalesced, exploded somemore, coalesced some more, developed, evolved. In our 'tiny' time of 'anthropology, earth is geologically quite stable.
    THIE ISSUE IS SCALE. .
    In the VAAAA.........AAAAAAAAAAST cosmos we've NOW SHOWN is VAAAAA..........AAAAAAAAST! Earth is as the size of a neutrino and lost in 10^24 (trillion trillion) GALAXIES, each containing MILLIONS or BILLIONS of stars, planets, black holes, moons, asteroids,... again, covering this VAAAAA......AAAST Dimension.
    Definitionally, 'God' is ths CREATOR-CHARACTER of all the universe, while having a direct, personal relationship with each person, animal, bird, fish, rock, atom... MOSTLY PEOPLE CLAIM THIS LINK, while existing as mu, mu, mu mu microscopics on mu, mu, mu, microscopic earth lost in a trillion, trillion galaxies. ERROR! ERROR! ERROR! — NOT SUPPORTED BY THE KNOWLEDGE. WISHFUL THINKING. SIMPLY QUITE PREPOSTEROUS. EVEN MORE QUERULOUS, AND NOT SUPPORTED, IS THE IDEA, nay the concept, nay the ideology, nay the doctrine, nay the 'given knowledge' that PEOPLE, THROUGH RELIGION, WILL GAIN LIFE ETERNAL. Not supported
    Physics now replaces Philosopy, Sir. Or more correctly Physics has solved Philosopy. Religions are antiques, relics, and DANGEROUS! They're subject to INTERPRETATION by any and every power monger, and UNFORTUNATELY, AS YOU MUST BE COGNIZANT OF, Our world exploding in wars and hatred, wherein sublying each factions 'foundation' is a dogma declared absolute, WHEN IN REALITY, NOW WE KNOW GOD CANNOT EXIST. The Cosmological Scale in which HE/IT supposedly 'exists' and 'rules', and supposedly must be guiding an individual's heart..... this VACUOUSNESS, BELIEF IN A NON-EXISTENCE, is a DRIVER of the DEATH OF OUR PLANET, OUR WORLD.
    You would do well to 'adapt' to the KNOWLEDGE AND ADVICE presented above, AND USE YOUR POSITION PROMULGATING IT. THERE'S VERY LITTLE TIME TO LOSE.
    But the discussion is about 'Bruno'. First to hear of him, and I like it. Just as Hanky can't fight about the INEVITABILITY of KNOWLEDGE coming to show mankind's wrong thing with religions, and having to come to see without religious lenses,, it's a new world,, maybe

    Thanks for this article. It seems Seth MacFarlane and company are in no mood for historical nuance, when it comes to the complex history of the church's involvement in the evolution of western scientific thought.

    So much easier to reduce that history to a propaganda cartoon, I guess.

    It's unfortunate the show got the story of Bruno twisted. It would have been better off to simply say that science suffered greatly during the intensely religious dark and middle ages and that religion and/or faith has absolutely no basis in science. To say that religion has been a large impediment to the progress of science in our history is not an untrue claim and perhaps an understatement. Ultimately, a more powerful and true message.

    Hank
    That's why I wonder if there wasn't some compromise somewhere. The otherwise solid science narrative is interrupted to show how Bruno was treated and imply it was related to science only to have Neil then immediately recant it all and say Bruno was not a scientist and just basically got lucky agreeing with Copernicus. Then Galileo, who actually did something for understanding the universe, gets scant mention by comparison.
    Someone involved with the show is in love with the Bruno story. I am betting the producers. We saw how wrong MacFarlane's instincts were when he hosted the Oscars.
    Fook man! shuud up already about Science that u 'modern' man at ur keyboard declare about the Mind of a man looking at the stars without a telescope, but sussing the the earth wasn't the 'center' , was some kind of 'cultist' (anyone the Inquision had in their sights). Who WAS A SCIENTIST BACK THEN? Who COULD put their ideas to 'provable test' , Galileo luckily saw the 4 moons of Jupiter. LUCKY FOR U! I think Bruno is a hero for 'execise of his imagination, and 'sussing'. He's a big deal now. You can't do anything about it!

    Except that it didn't. Almost all the people who did science then were clerics. Without them there wouldn't BE any science. It is simply not true that "religion has been a large impediment to the progress of science in our history." You can say it, but that doesn't make it true.

    Gail, the fact that the small amount of science that was going on during the dark and middle ages (in Europe) was done primarily by clerics does not in any way refute the argument that religion was (and in many places still is) an impediment to scientific progress.

    A reasonably objective review of the history will bear this out. I never stated that religious persons failed to make contributions to science; that is a patently false claim. Neither am I stating that religious persons cannot conduct solid science, another falsehood (though I do think it would make it a tad more difficult in certain circumstances). I merely stated, and correctly so, that religion was a large impediment to scientific progress. Primarily when speaking about Europe during the dark and middle ages.

    I agree with Hank that the Bruno piece was unnecessary and misleading. Using Galileo to illustrate the fact they were trying to convey would have been much more appropriate.

    "To say that religion has been a large impediment to the progress of science in our history is not an untrue claim and perhaps an understatement."

    And then there's this from an atheist's review of 'God's Philosophers' that undermines your entire comment:

    "By the time I produce a laundry list of Medieval scientists - like Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, John Peckham, Duns Scotus, Thomas Bradwardine, Walter Burley, William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, John Dumbleton, Richard of Wallingford, Nicholas Oresme, Jean Buridan and Nicholas of Cusa - and ask why these men were happily pursuing science in the Middle Ages without molestation from the Church, my opponents usually scratch their heads in puzzlement at what just went wrong."

    http://www.strangenotions.com/gods-philosophers/

    The dark and early middle ages were indeed times in which we suffered scientifically as emphasis was put into studying scripture instead of nature. Many of the above listed thinkers were primarily theologians/philosophers whose main emphasis of study was oriented towards religious matters. All of the above existed 1150 and later, leaving a nearly 800 year gap devoid of any meaningful scientific progress. Only from 1200 did Europe finally begin to see some noteworthy progress taking place again; and only took off (Renaissance) once the stranglehold of religious dogmatism had its grip loosened.

    Not to mention that your thesis seems to ignore or somehow explain away that Galileo was put on trial because heliocentrism contradicted literal scripture. Are you arguing that the stifling religious rule in the dark and early middle ages didn't adversely affect scientific progress?

    Thx for your response.

    Are you arguing that the stifling religious rule in the dark and early middle ages didn't adversely affect scientific progress?

    Not exactly. O'Neill again, "[T]he period from 1000 to 1500 AD actually saw the most impressive flowering of scientific inquiry and discovery since the time of the ancient Greeks, far eclipsing the Roman and Hellenic Eras in every respect. With Occam and Duns Scotus taking the critical approach to Aristotle further than Aquinas' more cautious approach, the way was open for the Medieval scientists of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries to question, examine, and test the perspectives the translators of the Twelfth Century had given them, with remarkable effects." What I'm suggesting is you're expanding your timeframe beyond historical reality. The time of "impressive flowering" it seems, was also during your so-called "stifling religious rule."

    Can you point me to the literal scripture(s) that contradict heliocentrism? Thx.

    Except progress wasn't beginning to start up again until the late 12 century, not the early 11th. Again, that's the better part of a millennium. Even once it did get moving, proposing/teaching ideas that were contrary to scripture was a dangerous undertaking.

    It's an incontrovertible fact that Galileo's heliocentrism teachings were held to contradict scripture. Whether you believe it does or not is irrelevant. However, Psalm 104:5 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 seem to point squarely towards geocentrism..

    Definition of a bigot[collins national dictionary]"one obstinately and unreasonably wedded to a particular belief or creed"Sounds like this was the point being made in cosmos which you objected to Hank,and you could have quite easily explained and demonstrated how important it is in science to keep an open mind by allowing your kids to go on watching it whilst adding your {I'm sure very valued.] comments.It's this "charge of the light brigade stuff":"there's not to reason why ,there's but to do and die" that I and cosmos are against.If more people reasoned why there would be less doing and less dying.

    Well...hmmm...

    The bottom line? Before you attempt to review a television program, you might at least watch it first. Or just pay closer attention. As Dr. Tyson stated, Bruno's conclusion about the Universe was a lucky guess. He made it a point to make that clear. You might also work on your writing skills, but that's a side issue. LOL.

    Why don't Teabaggers like Cosmos?

    That's easy.

    1. It was introduced by the President of the United States, whom they despise.

    2. Dr. Tyson is black, which they don't like either.

    3. The host is a known critic of foolishness like Creationism and other pseudo science based on belief in imaginary gods and goddesses.

    LOL

    Just found this site and thought that the discourse would be interesting and wouldn't be full of hatefilled crap. Guess I was wrong about that.

    Hank
    That guy is a crackpot but not everyone is. I have no idea what "tea baggers" or Pres. Obama have to do with anything. Since I reviewed an advance copy of the show and wrote this days before it aired, I can't imagine how I could know who was going to introduce it, if anyone at all.

    But people who believe in Bruno also seem to like that he worshiped Thoth, a god of magic, so maybe in their magical multiverse I traveled forward in time to watch it and then back to criticize one incorrect thing about the show to drum up votes for Hillary Clinton or whatever conspiracy story he is promoting.  

    And what does Tyson's skin color have to do with anything? No clue. Maybe whatever militant Thoth/Hermetism forum he came from filters everything through skin color. If you have ever seen the sexism at skeptic conferences, you'll know women don't get treated any better there than black people. They have that in common with culture of 400 years ago.
    I completely agree with your assessment that the Bruno story was inaccurate and unnecessary. One would not need to look very far to find better, true examples of scientific oppression. In addition, I found the cartoon to be cheesy. But I give the producers a pass because I agree with their overall goal: to turn people on to science again.

    I find the criticism in the comments to be ironic. I imagine most of the commenters would describe themselves as scientists, but display an emotional reaction to religion. While I am not a devoutly religious person myself, it does not bother me that others are. They follow an hypothesis that cannot be falsified at the moment. So long as that belief is not used to harm others, it is benign and fading.

    I would be interested to hear discussion from the anti-religionists about other forms of oppression from institutions other than the church: Soviet oppression in the Lysenko era caused the deaths of millions; the Great Leap forward in China had a similar effect; or U.S. government dissembling about radiation in the early atomic era. Any group structure will protect its institutional power from perceived threats. Even today we see oppression from scientists against other scientists. Any ordinary scientific skepticism about an individual climate-change model or hypothesis is treated as though it were ‘heresy.’ I am sure that I’ll get some heated responses to that assertion … basically proving my point.

    Back to the topic, I would prefer that Cosmos would have updated the content, as nostalgic as I am about the original show. The effects are better, but the show is not.

    Not a show I will watch. Tyson is so full of himself, no room for anyone else in his world. I watched his anti-God rant and it was so full of ignorance, was almost unwatchable without laughing myself unconscious.

    Strait from the person who delivered the introduction it was obvious that this was little more than a propaganda piece.

    How unfortunate that Tyson is blatantly kowtowing to..., well just consider the source behind the production, I love the Family Guy but I know enough about Seth MacFarlane to take him for what it he is, little more than a twisted decisive entertainer that thrives on controversy and little else.

    No one should take MacFarlane, or anything that he is behind, seriously. As I said, how unfortunate for Tyson to have debased himself so.

    Tyson is all over religion. Do a search on 'Tyson on religion' then tell me he doesn't have an agenda.

    Hank
    I don't think it is as overt as quote mining makes it seem. He was at The Amazing Meeting last summer and talked about religion, and it seemed like he was going to make a typical point for an audience who pay money to make fun of religion and Bigfoot, but then he turned it around to the audience and said that before they should insist they can fix the public, they should be figuring out why they can't fix scientists, who are over 40 percent religious despite being educated and scientific - which many skeptics are not.

    So he is unflinching at times but mostly because he doesn't want religion taught in place of science, and I agree - just like I don't want junk science history taught in place of the real thing, as happened in episode 1 of the show. 
    I like Michio Kaku better than Tyson. Maybe they asked Michio Kaku to do it and he refused because of the bad historiography.

    Tyson clearly states "Bruno was no scientist. His vision of the Cosmos was a lucky guess because he had no evidence to support it." I just don't get this review at all.

    Hank
    You're answering the big question. If he was no scientist, why stop a science show between Copernicus and Galileo and give a non-scientist a whole cartoon interlude about how he was supposedly killed for a science concept? 

    A science show that really wanted to talk about the cosmos would have used that time and money to talk more about Galileo or Copernicus. Instead, we got a whole cartoon - including a demonic transformation by religious people - about a guy who thought Native Americans spontaneously generated - and then a weak disclaimer about his lack of credentials afterward. Why include him at all if the goal is to promote understanding of science? 

    That is the point more people should be asking.
    Thanks for saying what had to be said. It could have been summed up in one word: "Seth McFarlane".

    I stopped watching as soon as I saw the cartoons during the credits. I wouldn't even have DVR'ed it had I known McFarlane was involved. He's a great voice actor and a comic genius. But if I want my dose of politically correct multicultural indoctrination I'll go to the natural expert on Muslim outreach, NASA head Charles Bolden.

    Oh, and to end on a less bitter note, count me as one of those teens who pursued a science degree at Cornell because of Sagan.

    Seth McFarlane is actually two words.

    Hank
    Maybe it's like space time. It used to be two words, then it was space-time, then it was spacetime and now everyone just accepts whatever we throw out there, like with string theory. Seth MacFarlane/Seth-MacFarlane/SethMacFarlane, we still know it is the genius behind "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective - The Series".
    I'll explain how I did that in five words: "de lib er ate ly".

    Mr. Campbell, what evidence are you using to refute the idea that Bruno was not a martyr for science and could you recommend a respected scholarly book that argues this point? Since the records of his trial have been lost, I think the proper position would be that of the agnostic. We don't know why Bruno was charged with heresy and it could have been for his view of the cosmos or for some other reason. It seems to me, that Bruno apologists and critics alike are just speculating.

    I have no strong opinion on whether or not a cartoon of Bruno should have been included in the show, but I did appreciate it because I did not expect it. The choice of Bruno was refreshingly different, even if flawed.

    I have to say, the misunderstanding on the part of some of your readers over whether you agree with the Inquisition is partly your fault because you sometimes write as if you are defending Bruno's persecutors even if that wasn't your intention. For example, someone reading "He actually was a heretic" could reasonably assume that you thought Bruno got what he deserved. That sentence should be changed to "The Church considered him a heretic" so that there is no ambiguity in your position. Think of it in this way, if I labeled Salman Rushdie as a blasphemer, without a hint of irony, would it not be reasonable to assume that I sympathized with the fatwa against him?

    Finally, I've rarely seen bloggers respond to readers' comments. Kudos to you.

    Hank
    . For example, someone reading "He actually was a heretic" could reasonably assume that you thought Bruno got what he deserved.
    Thanks for the comment. On a science forum, people are comfortable using words according to their accepted meanings. I doubt that the core audience attributes anything positive to 'he actually was a heretic' any more than if I said 'Tom Cruise actually is a scientologist'. If a heretic is someone who maintains religious beliefs contrary to those accepted by their church, Bruno was that and proud of it. He had plenty of opportunities to change his tune if not his beliefs - my saying he wanted to be a poster boy for the Inquisition was a riff on John Gribbon's The Scientists, but it seems obvious that Bruno was not driven by a love for science or truth or free thought, he was self-destructive. A second Adam? Native Americans have no souls? That's heretical, when you tell the church it is fact and they need to accept it. 

    His place in the show and the implication that he was a martyr for his belief in the vast universe - only later followed by a tepid, non-graphical disclaimer that he was not a scientist - is a real disconnect in an otherwise decent science program.
    " That's heretical, when you tell the church it is fact and they need to accept it. "...

    Where is the evidence that Bruno told the church they needed to accept his beliefs? It seems certain that it was all the other way around, right down to his execution for not recanting...

    Also, by calling Bruno self-destructive, does you mean he caused his own destruction by refusing to disavow his beliefs? Is it impossible to imagine that, to him, his beliefs were important enough that he willingly suffered death for them? "Only a fool would advertise such beliefs in that day and age"...is that your argument? If so, thank God for fools! Only by braving repressive forces do some new new ideas, and often true ideas, ever surface....even if those who propose them end up being called "mentally ill" by folks like you.

    Hank
    You are doing two things that doing belong here - you are engaging in speculation and then telling us why it was wrong for the church to kill him over his beliefs.

    No one argues the church should have killed him for being a crackpot. I argued that the way he is portrayed in the show is wrong - and that 25% of a science show should not have been devoted to the story of a guy who was not a scientist, did no science, and was not persecuted over science, while the actual scientists of the time barely got a mention.
    "On a science forum, people are comfortable using words according to their accepted meanings. I doubt that the core audience attributes anything positive to 'he actually was a heretic' any more than if I said 'Tom Cruise actually is a scientologist'."

    Sorry, but that's not a valid comparison at all. Saying "Tom Cruise is a scientologist" is like saying "Pope Francis is a Catholic" or "Archbishop Makarios is an iconodule." Saying "Bruno actually was a heretic" is like saying "Pope John Paul II actually was an infidel" or "Archbishop Makarios actually was an idolater." Words not only have well-accepted meanings, but they also have connotations, as well. The words heretic, infidel, and idolater have negative ones and the writer who uses them without irony can be assumed to have an affiliation that is hostile to the affiliation of the targets. That is why I said the way you write makes it seem as if you are sympathetic to the Inquisition. (Not the method of punishment it employed in the 16th-century, of course, but its broad purpose of combating heresy as the church defined it.)

    "He had plenty of opportunities to change his tune if not his beliefs."

    I was wrong, you obviously are sympathetic to the Inquisition. To each his own, I suppose.

    Hank
    The only part of this comment that is correct is when you say "I was wrong" - you should have began and ended there, because everything else was a sophistry-laced mish-mash succeeded by rambling paranoia.
    Would you care to explain what you found objectionable in my comment? I'm curious, so humor me.

    I'll retract the final comment about you sympathizing with the Inquisition. I think I went too far.

    Sagan lost me when he prostituted his science to support his political beliefs - Nuclear Winter.

    Tyson used Bruno for an agenda in an old fight pumped up by Andrew Dickson White and John William Draper (“see it in Wikipedia “The scientist John William Draper and the writer Andrew Dickson White were the most influential exponents of the Conflict Thesis between religion and science.). I’m not for forcing religion any more than I’m for forcing science—we can’t be tied when attempting to find truth (just look at all the weirdness in: “Through the Wormhole” series). OK so Tyson used Bruno for materialistic agenda…’pray’ tell (??) what is his plan for Copernicus? Is he gojng to wrap his name around the principle of mediocrity (which it typically called the “Copernican Principle”?) Good ole Nickolas had not one thought other than fixing the crude orbits because the epicycles made the whole solar system too complicated. His understanding of retrograde made science shine because the ‘formulas’ brought simplification and beauty to bear. Now, I scarred for George Lemaitre (the Belgian priest) who came up with the Big Bang idea but called it the Primordial Atom (or Cosmic Egg). It was Fred Hoyle who derisively chided George during (about the time of) a radio broadcast: ‘Oh, George! You mean it’s like a big bang?!!’ And that’s how we got the term Big Bang. And IT…was not big nor was there any bang. So the term is lousy (if one wants credit scientific prowess!). Surf for pictures (“Images”) of Lemaitre and see too who he ‘hung’ around with…while wearing his religious white collar—Albert Einstein.
    Gordon Tatro

    Hank
    You make some fine points. Cosmos is, of course, not a science history program, that is why I don't think they should have wasted 25 percent of the first episode on an episode that had nothing to do with science and was badly mangled history.

    Copernicus is another matter. You seem to be dismissive of him but he was a humble man. He did not feel like he was overturning the ancients - it is only later that he was portrayed as doing so - he felt like he was making clarifications. His modesty would incline him more toward your description than the bombast attributed to him.

    Lemaître has already gotten his rightful place in science history, I feel. I don't think most scientists are as herd oriented as you think. Before it was cool, I heard lots of biologists rehabilitate Lamarck and just as many physicists defend Lemaître. I also don't think he was dismissed because of religion, I think he was dismissed because of people being Einstein fanboys - if Einstein said it was wrong, it must be wrong.

    Hoyle had no reason to ridicule anyone else - after all, he got his idea from a horror movie. And the reputation of Lemaître today is a lot stronger than Hoyle's, so no matter how Cosmos portrays it, that won't change. 
    KRA5H
    "Copernicus is another matter. You seem to be dismissive of him but he was a humble man. He did not feel like he was overturning the ancients - it is only later that he was portrayed as doing so - he felt like he was making clarifications. His modesty would incline him more toward your description than the bombast attributed to him."


    No, he did not feel like he was overturning the ancients. In his handwritten manuscript (I know, redundant) he cites Aristarcus, but it was crossed out and did not make it into the published De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium.


    "he felt like he was making clarifications" Yes, but Copernicus' model had many problems that needed to be resolved that had nothing to do with religion nor holy books:


    1. It was not as accurate as Ptolemy's model.
    2. He added more epicycles than Ptolemy which made it even more cumbersome than Ptolemy's.
    3. There was no mechanism for the motions of the planets round the sun (Newton's description of gravity didn't exist yet).
    4. It contradicted direct observation--you can't feel the Earth move, why was there no wind from the earth's movement, why don't we just fly off the surface of the Earth (again, no Newtonian description of gravity), the moon, the planets, the sun, the fixed stars literally appear to slowly whirl about overhead. In the absence of Galileo's telescope the planets appear to be stars.
    5. No observable stellar parallax (finally measured in 1838 by Friedrich Bessel).




    "This page intentionally left blank." --Gödel
    Hank, This is my first time visiting your site. I did not watch Cosmos yet. I find human interpersonal dynamics much more interesting. It seems clear to me that neither religion nor atheism is the problem in human relationships. The problem is the reactionary whose identity feels threatened when faced with opposing beliefs no matter how much history or facts support the opposition. These reactionaries can be religious or not. I do like your blog.

    Hank
    Thanks for the kind words. Fox wants people to watch the show so I imagine there are numerous places to watch for free if you missed it. It would be un-Sagan-esque to not watch it based on a review.

    But I watch these things with my kids, for a reason networks don't realize yet (but they will soon) - the only people watching these shows as a viable demographic are people watching it with their kids and older people. The young adult demographic is not watching TV as much at all, so if kids are removed from the equation, a giant chunk of their audience is lost. As Sam Goldwyn reportedly said when asked why MGM did not mimic Universal's horror movie craze in the 1930s, 'I'd rather sell four tickets than two' - a policy Walt Disney later adopted also.

    And MacFarlane has repeatedly said he wants this to be a family show. If it is going to be a family show promoting the wonder of science, do that. If it is going to be a non-family show that wants to boost science up by tearing religion down, life is too short and I know lots of other places that do it better. I wasn't being creative when I said it came across like some amateur blogger from a militant atheist site - it was slanted, hyperbolic, far too long and, worst of all, incorrect. Little mistakes for a narrative - sound in space, the implication that a ship is dodging asteroids in some mine field - are fine, but 25% of the show being spent on an event that is told absolutely wrong is wasting everyone's time.
    It don matter, hanky. You can't make ur kids blind.
    Militant 'atheism' really seems to get ur goaty. Well try this:
    -as replied to Steve Shuler above..
    yeah, so.. seems like a fire-storm here.. cosmic? ...good for Bruno. He didn't have a telescope so he did the best he could.
    Don't want to directly engage ol' hanky cranky cambell here. He seems REAL set on what is Science way back when -before physics, applied forces, calculus, ..electricy , all we are at now.
    Religion(s), unfortunately, are with us because someone with more power gets the others doing their bidding, tribute, putting up square rocks, and higher view-stages to keep on telling the others to keep up the tribute, getting a story going that the 'god' spokesmen guide u thru the door for 'life after you're dead'.
    Obviously Hanky is par-boiled (as most of the rest of the world) in religion and with our recent stick-in the- head ' stick to it scientists' who persevered to get us the modern world, the quest for KNOWLEDGE and the flowering in America (because of their relative luxury to Explore and develop) (vs.10,000 years of earlier history), NOW HAS ZOOMED into the Cosmos, with Hubble retrieving KNOWLEDGE that primitives, and medievals were not able to achieve, fulfilling the quest of early 'philosophers' who were stalling and stumbling and religionizing throughout. Kelpler, Galileo, all these first ones to break away from 'flat earth' and earth centric' still had to submit to governence by religion, or be castigated or scorned, or punished by 'god's representatives'. -Think you know that, sir.
    NOW we see there's a TRILLION TRILLION GALAXIES. So far- we're seeing it covers 15 billion light-years. The universe exploded, coalesced, exploded somemore, coalesced some more, developed, evolved. In our 'tiny' time of 'anthropology, earth is geologically quite stable.
    THIE ISSUE IS SCALE. .
    In the VAAAA.........AAAAAAAAAAST cosmos we've NOW SHOWN is VAAAAA..........AAAAAAAAST! Earth is as the size of a neutrino and lost in 10^24 (trillion trillion) GALAXIES, each containing MILLIONS or BILLIONS of stars, planets, black holes, moons, asteroids,... again, covering this VAAAAA......AAAST Dimension.
    Definitionally, 'God' is ths CREATOR-CHARACTER of all the universe, while having a direct, personal relationship with each person, animal, bird, fish, rock, atom... MOSTLY PEOPLE CLAIM THIS LINK, while existing as mu, mu, mu mu microscopics on mu, mu, mu, microscopic earth lost in a trillion, trillion galaxies. ERROR! ERROR! ERROR! — NOT SUPPORTED BY THE KNOWLEDGE. WISHFUL THINKING. SIMPLY QUITE PREPOSTEROUS. EVEN MORE QUERULOUS, AND NOT SUPPORTED, IS THE IDEA, nay the concept, nay the ideology, nay the doctrine, nay the 'given knowledge' that PEOPLE, THROUGH RELIGION, WILL GAIN LIFE ETERNAL. Not supported
    Physics now replaces Philosopy, Sir. Or more correctly Physics has solved Philosopy. Religions are antiques, relics, and DANGEROUS! They're subject to INTERPRETATION by any and every power monger, and UNFORTUNATELY, AS YOU MUST BE COGNIZANT OF, Our world exploding in wars and hatred, wherein sublying each factions 'foundation' is a dogma declared absolute, WHEN IN REALITY, NOW WE KNOW GOD CANNOT EXIST. The Cosmological Scale in which HE/IT supposedly 'exists' and 'rules', and supposedly must be guiding an individual's heart..... this VACUOUSNESS, BELIEF IN A NON-EXISTENCE, is a DRIVER of the DEATH OF OUR PLANET, OUR WORLD.
    You would do well to 'adapt' to the KNOWLEDGE AND ADVICE presented above, AND USE YOUR POSITION PROMULGATING IT. THERE'S VERY LITTLE TIME TO LOSE.
    But the discussion is about 'Bruno'. First to hear of him, and I like it. Just as Hanky can't fight about the INEVITABILITY of KNOWLEDGE coming to show mankind's wrong thing with religions, and having to come to see without religious lenses,, it's a new world,, maybe

    Fook man! shuud up already about Science that u 'modern' man at ur keyboard declare about the Mind of a man looking at the stars without a telescope, but sussing the the earth wasn't the 'center' , was some kind of 'cultist' (anyone the Inquision had in their sights). Who WAS A SCIENTIST BACK THEN? Who COULD put their ideas to 'provable test' , Galileo luckily saw the 4 moons of Jupiter. LUCKY FOR U! I think Bruno is a hero for 'execise of his imagination, and 'sussing'. He's a big deal now. You can't do anything about it! get ur kids to pray to god for 'enlightenment'? -when their source of enlightment is going to be u!? pray for the poor children!

    Thanks again Hank, yet another source of great laughs and entertainment, especially the comments. I also really liked your article in the Federalist. Like I said before, when you are right, you are right. (pun intended)

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/03/13/five-things-neil-degrasse-tysons-cos...

    Not that it matters to people like Hank Campbell, who believe because they have an audience it makes them "special" but the major emphasis of the works of Titus Lucretius Carus was "De rerum natura" which solidly stood behind the Greek scientists who hypothesized but could not always experimentally prove, much of the physics we use even to this day.
    Titus Lucretius Carus sought to educate his fellow man against superstition as part of the working, everyday actions of the world and condemning superstition/religion for trying to feed itself by forcing belief in ignorance and mysticism. For this alone, not the worms BS you try and use as evidence, Bruno sought to emulate Titus Lucretius Carus and was willing to die to expose mysticism/superstition/religion as the enemy of science, not the judge and administrator of it.
    Surprising how people like Campbell have no original thoughts that further mankind but look to elevate their own worship, at the altar of those more ignorant then them, and contribute nothing to the future while claiming to be the voice of the future. Talentless and valueless. Thanks; that's what we need more of.
    Now Go: consume GMOs and get prostate cancer.

    Hank
    You just wished prostate cancer on someone because you disagree with science? That is surely not what I would expect of someone so enlightened they can see the science in a philosopher who believed in spontaneous generation and that wind causes earthquakes.

    But thanks for making my point that crackpots are all across the spectrum.
    Hypatia was a philosopher, but more a mathematician like her famous father who she is said to have surpassed. She was a popular lecturer as well as a great beauty who was opposed to the Christians. So some monks got together, dragged her from her chariot and cut her to pieces with clam shells, burning what remained. And so religion stoops, as always, stoops to the most ungodly tactics in the name of God and continues to divide people and act as a rational for murder.
    Today it continues with Sunni killing Shi'ite, Hindu Muslim etc. So why not the world that the Enlightenment fought for, the world the United States was the product of: people who said we can do it - and not wait in supplication to a deity - people who denied the divine right of kings to rule over them - people who believed pursued and accomplished progress who went with Ben Franklin's maxim that "God helps those who help themselves".
    Now we have folks that would deny the truth because their holy book - bible, or koran says otherwise - to me these people are the worst of idolators in holding a book, a construction of paper and ink, a product of man, as being more important than the truths revealed by science, proven truths, and only truth is the living word of God.

    -think your last sentence needs some clarification. can't tell what you mean.

    The last sentence means that if there is a God, then he is the God of what is real, of the universe as it is. Any appeal to a universe that does not exist, a universe where all the planets, stars, galaxies circle the earth, a known lie or at least a misunderstanding, cannot be the word of such a God. I don't think that the "Creator of the Universe" could make such a mistake in elementary physics. Anyone who defends a piece of paper opposing the known truth (that the earth spins around its axis, for example, instead of the sun circling it each day) is by that alone committing the act of treating a collection of paper and ink as a divine being not to be questioned, and to me that is the very definition of idolatry. I'm sure that all the ancient carvers of idols also told their audiences that their works were the result of divine inspiration.

    "...only truth is the living word of God."

    I couldn't agree with you more, but in the very same post you also seem to have demonstrated a blind faith in the "truths" that science has brought forth. To deny the creation allegory, who's origin happens to be a universal archetype found in every single cultures' mythologies throughout the world, is to deny the very basis of our humanity. But this is common among present day "scientists" who attempt to use a subordinate branch of philosophy called science, that intentionally limits its perspective to the physical realm, to express opinions on metaphysics, this is especially true among those that self proclaim themselves as atheists. The ridiculousness of these narcissistic vain attempts never ceases to make me laugh.

    Please present a falsifiable scientific proof that the universe isn't actually spinning around the Earth's axis, its a simple matter of perspective, or what can also be called and inertial reference frame. Sounds absurd but go ahead, make my day -- present your proof ;-)

    Did the Roman Catholic Church act demonstrably evil in the past? Yes, of course they did, but this is the inevitable outcome of ANY collective organization that is human in its nature. Scientific circles are no exception. The same is also true of EVERY governing social body that has ever been in existence. They ALWAYS fall, and that is due to the absolute certainty of the corruptibility of mankind. And this folks is the lesson in the creation allegories, whether found in a bible or simply heard among the elders telling ageless stories passed down from their kinfolk.

    The fact is that over 40% of scientists in the USA believe in a supreme power and DO NOT buy into the strict literal interpretations of the Bible expressed only by a very small minority. There is no creationist controversy if only one would accept that evolution is simply the tool that God chose to use, but that is not what the controversialists want, rather they thrive on the vitriol contrived in their controversial arguments -- NOT the truths found in the living words of God.

    Well in order to "prove" that the phenomenon of the Sun rising in the east and setting in the west requires that you have to accept some well proven laws of nature - I'll start out with the often proven and totally consistent special relativity theory of Einstein's, particularly its proviso that no material object with a non-zero rest mass can exceed the speed of light. And I'll also accept the calculated distance to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri as being ca. four light-years.
    So by accepting that, one a well-established law and the other a well established fact - I can say that if the earth were motionless then Proxima Centauri must make a trip of approximately 12 light-years in twenty-four hours - so that's a velocity of half a light-year per hour - far, far exceeding the speed of light. So it's not possible. Now if you want to dispute the distances or the theory of special relativity - go ahead, but all the evidence is on my side. So then extend that to the Great Spiral nebula in Andromeda - two and a half million light-years away (but getting closer), and the velocity increases accordingly. So if the earth were static and the universe revolved around it - we'd have to figure out some way that a galaxy with six trillion times the mass of the earth would swing around it and there is no way other than saying "God wills it so". We wouldn't have any physics because there is no way of explaining that phenomenon by any natural laws -and we wouldn't have any of the technology (GPS, flight, space travel etc.) that resulted from our extraction of these laws from observation and experiment - we'd be back in the medieval times killing each other over interpretations of our various holy books (but with much cruder weapons at least). Not a state I would like.
    So far as accepting the results of science on faith - it absolutely depends on which results you are talking about. The basic physical laws, the conservation laws (energy, momentum, mass, charge etc.) I accept and all the laws produced and verified by multiple experiments - laws that have allowed us to do things the bible or koran never dreamed were possible, like standing on the moon. But there's a lot, and not surprisingly, on the 'bleeding edge" of science that I do not accept, and especially the current aging paradigm which equates aging with 'wear and tear" (as I've published "Studies that shed a new light on aging." by Harold L. Katcher.ISSN 00062979, Biochemistry (Moscow), 2013, Vol. 78, No. 9, pp. 10611070. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2013.0006297913090137 you can download it at: http://protein.bio.msu.ru/biokhimiya/contents/v78/pdf/bcm_1061.pdf. but it's not easy reading, it's real science.

    The last time I checked both modern theories are still just that, theories. You are basing your proof upon another yet to be proven theory. This is the most commonest mistake made by modern theorists, they have accepted as fact that their underlying "pet" theories have succeeded in becoming unquestionable universal laws. When, in fact, as more data rolls in, the underlying theories are in obvious need of updating, i.e. in order to incorporate dark, matter and dark energy and the fact that galactic objects DO NOT, as you have asserted, act in accordance with " well proven laws of nature".

    Oh pardon my first sentence that's what happens when you post before you read what you've written. I just wanted to say something else - which is that there was no proof that the sun didn't rise in the east, set in the west and have a completely new sun rise in the east the next day. It was only human intelligence that conceived of the idea that the sun still existed as a material object (or at least a visible object) we it departed from view. I could imagine that would upset the followers of the old religion (if there were one) that believed the sun was created anew each morning. One requires a bit more intelligence and knowledge - it's hard to believe it's the same sun every morning - when yesterday's sun turned red and disappeared (at some age the infant doesn't realize that the finger you've hidden is still there). The perception that the earth spins around it axis is a yet more complex but better explanation (in that it's consistent with everything else we know about the laws of the universe (which the earth being static is not). Sso you're still thinking the sun and stars orbit the earth? Maybe you should try living in Afghanistan or join the Boku Haraam (Western religion is haraam, forbidden), where they have to believe that crap and never progress (the word itself is a curse); to me that doesn't make sense. All of humanity into two groups - pre-Enlightened who do not believe in progress and science and want man to be totally dependent on God (and of course , the religious ruling elites), and Enlightened (referring to the Enlightenment) who believe that man can and must progress - that there will always be problems related to the new, but problems can be solved - that man must do for himself - maybe make mistakes, but not depend on a God (or his ministers on earth) to do things for him. It's what Ben Franklin really meant when he said, "God helps those that help themselves."

    Bottom line is that the Bruno story had no place in the COSMOS story. After seeing the second episode (yawn) in the series I found it hard to see that it will ever rise to the level of the original COSMOS series. Unless Tyson finds his "billions and billions" moment this series will go down as just another oversold blip in the history of reality TV, right along side of Brian Greene.

    The fact that the Roman Catholic Church may have historically been poor actors does not limit political pressure to support or refute one agenda or another, be it scientific or otherwise. This is NOT a religiously isolated behavior, in fact it seems to run rampant everywhere today, be it politics, governments, corporations, and even within the many differing scientific communities themselves.

    The religious agenda (for the most part, Jews don't at least by any credo believe in an afterlife - making it a primitive religion that doesn't give people the incentive to die for it (yet millions have)), says that basically our lives in this world don't count for much except as a gateway to the eternity of eternal after-life (a frightening thought - imagine living a billion years and knowing it was only the beginning?). So life doesn't count and making life better doesn't matter only living your life according to people who tell you you'll have an eternity of pleasure beyond your imagination, if you follow whatever it is they tell you to (and to their credit that usually requires acting in a fair and civilized manner (but usually only to your coreligionists) - and supporting your organization and producing their future members. Sometime (often) it involves killing those that disagree with you, (the Boku Haraam burning college students to death or butchering them with machetes as they escaped their burning building, though there are so many others to pick, Sunnis killing Shi'ites (in the name of the Prophet, the Benevolent, most Merciful) mericifully drilling holes in their heads with electric drills. What force of good has religion brought recently - except perhaps for the new Pope who in his humility and acceptance demonstrates those as virtues and ones sorely needed by mankind, including the acceptance of atheists and peoples of other religions. But for the fundamentalists of all stripes they are the same exalting a book over a human being is the worst form of idolatry, killing people as has been done recently for burning a book - is a crime against God - against truth in raising a construction (idol) of paper to be greater than a human being - exalting it to be a god. That's how it started, that's how it's finish, but I'm still waiting to hear the rebuttal as my explanation of why the earth spins around its axis and not the universe spins around it. I don't know why that's not obvious to everyone who is not hiding from the truth.

    Sorry, I was mistaken. I thought that you were something other than a troll simply looking for thinly veiled validation. My bad, mea culpa please move on...

    Hank
    Science historians like all of the attention their field is getting, they just wish it were for better reasons:

    "Cosmos’s portrayal of Bruno is not the first time some media franchise or modern commentator has provoked historians of science."

    "The flat earth is another episode that gets recycled, despite popular and scholarly work refuting it (I’ve ranted about the power of the flat earth myth)."

    Well, if you are telling a particular type of story, rather than a story about science, facts need not get in the way. Hayton thinks the problem is that there is no accountability for massaging facts to achieve a cultural goal:

    "We haven’t demonstrated the value of our knowledge and expertise. We haven’t convinced people that we and our knowledge matter."
    Hank
    Renaissance Mathematicus is less kind, completely debunking Cosmos co-writer Steven Soter and his claim that "in his “Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems” (the book that got him into deep trouble), he discretely accepted Bruno’s greatest idea, writing that the fixed stars are other suns."

    It must hurt when you think you are writing for people who also looked up Bruno on Wikipedia and discover the people answering have two different copies of Galileo's book.
    From the article you linked to:

    "No offense, but I think you’re missing the point here. The moral of the story, as stated in Cosmos, is: don’t let your beliefs stand in the path of reality. Bruno’s necessarily oversimplified story is just a warning about anti-science and dogmatic thinking."

    While true, the reverse can also be said of anti-relegious dogma spewed by many outspoken "scientists" who merely prophesies their own personal unproven narcissistic atheistic "dogmas" and then go on to insist their own personal ideologies as somehow being "scientifically" superior. There is an awful lot of web chatter highlighting the Seth Macfarlane religious cartoon hit piece, here is an excerpt from one such article:

    "As I watched this piece, all I could think was... here we go again. Avatars of the modern ideology feel obligated to tell their great foundation myth over and over, and central to that narrative is that both the physical sciences and liberal political arrangements emerged only after a long twilight struggle against the reactionary forces of religion, especially the Catholic religion."

    http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2014/03/19/seth_macfarlane_ant...

    I can give you one such current present day example; it is in the "unscientific" censoring of anyone who does not worship at the alter of Anthropogenic Global Warming, I just heard that some college professor is demanding that anyone with a dissenting opinion be prosecuted and jailed, sound familiar? As I said before this type of behavior is an absolute certainty when dealing in any of the humanities, it is NOT limited to religions (and actually quite common in scientific circles) and therefore the Bruno story was only inserted for its indoctrination value, unfortunately a very common practice in our current failure of a public educational system.

    Death to all fanatics!

    Dogma will surely kill or severely maim all of us.

    I have no dogma.
    Here is my catma:

    We place no reliance
    On Virgin or Pigeon
    Our method is Science,
    Our aim is Religion.

    Hank
    Your catma is so messy and disjointed it looks like it got run over by a karma.