If Creationists Want Time on ‘Cosmos’ to Defend Their Nonsense, Then Let’s Bring Scientists into Churches

tyson-on-cosmosSince the relaunch of Cosmos hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, there’s been a nearly constant back and forth between people who believe in science and creationists who are bashing the show for not providing “their side of the scientific argument.”  A claim that’s ludicrous considering creationism is based on faith not science.

But this back and forth has just highlighted the seemingly endless debate we’ve been having within our very own public schools over the attempt by conservatives to get creationism taught alongside evolution in our science classrooms.

What it really boils down to is the fact that these people just don’t understand what science is.  It’s not a faith-based system of beliefs where people just randomly find a book without any evidence supporting its claims to form their belief system.

Science is science.  It’s countless hours of study, research and testing done by some of the brightest minds on the planet that conclude what is or isn’t scientifically viable.  If anything, scientific answers are answers born of doubt and speculation.  Unless a hypothesis survives a rigorous amount of testing and doubt to prove that it’s valid, it’s not scientifically accepted.

But if these creationists believe that their system of beliefs belongs in the classroom, I think we should bring science into church.  After all, if creationists believe that their system of beliefs should be accepted as equally as science, then doesn’t that actually turn church into a scientific system of beliefs, not faith based?

And if these creationists want a place on Cosmos to defend their “scientific argument,” then I think it’s time we bring scientists into church.

After all, isn’t that only fair?

If they want a fair plane on which to present their supposed “science” (though it has zero scientific evidence to support anything) then I say let’s bring scientists into our churches.  But I get the feeling that these conservative evangelicals sure as hell wouldn’t allow that.

Then again, they don’t deserve a place on Cosmos because creationism isn’t science! Just like science isn’t faith, faith isn’t science.  Cosmos is a show based on scientific evidence that’s scientifically sound.  Creationism isn’t based on anything but a book that has absolutely zero scientific evidence to support it.

But the truth of the matter is, creationists are simply too ignorant to understand what science is.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • John Maltese

    Imagine basing all of your facts on a centuries old book that was written by men who didn’t know where the sun went at night.

    • Gary Menten

      The problem is that creationists have invented many of their own facts to supplement the Bible where it fails or to contradict science where it would challenge the bible. Among these are:

      1. God changed the laws of nature several times in the course of time.
      2. The speed of light was faster when earth was created.
      3. Radiometric dating is an unreliable way of dating things whereas adding up all the begats in the the bible is perfectly valid.
      4. You can disprove Evolution with a jar of peanut butter and sunlight.
      5. (Domesticated) Bananas are proof of intelligent design by God.
      6. The only place in the universe known to have water is Earth (false) . It must have been place here by God.

      Worse still, they have the internet to spread this nonsense.

    • John Maltese

      Great point John Maltese.

    • Dennis Herbold

      I say bring the bible into the classroom,and subject it to the same scrutiny that any hypothesis is subject to.

      • Gary Menten

        It’s an amusing idea but would also take a great deal of valuable time that could be used teaching useful stuff. Also, were we to do this in the classroom, we could actually be violating the rule about state neutrality in religion as it could easily be construed as an attack on religious faith. This is a bigger problem. Still, the merit of the ideal of subjecting religious scripture to scientific scrutiny is a worthy one that everyone should be encouraged to do on there own.

  • Gary Menten

    The proposal on the surface would seem like a fair trade, but it in reality, would only benefit creationists, not evolutionists. Why?

    A. Because kids MUST attend school but no-one is obligated by law to attend church. Creationists would simply not attend sermons where their beliefs are being disproved.

    B. Kids in school are required to study, do homework, pass exams. Nobody who attends church is required to do any of the above.

    So in exchange for scientists getting to lecture to mostly empty churches, we would have our kids indoctrinated by the public school system into thinking that creationism is legitimate science and forced to study it enough to pass exams. So NO, that just DOESN’T WORK!

    As to equal time on Cosmos….NO. If they want a TV show to air their creationist beliefs, let them write it themselves, pay for it themselves, produce it themselves and sell it to a network themselves. Then they can put whatever they want into it, and it hope it finds sufficient sponsors. That’s how it works. Got it?

  • Gary Menten

    I watched the original Cosmos TV series back in 1980, and again when it was rebroadcast 10 years later with updates, and once again on the internet last summer. As far as I’m concerned it was one of the best TV series ever broadcast, and in some ways, superior to the one being broadcast now. Not because of content, but because of the production values (no cartoons) and because it had Carl.

    Notwithstanding all that, I don’t remember the kind of uproar from creationists in 1980 as we are seeing now, and I ask myself why this might be? I’m not entirely sure, but here are some of the answers I’ve come up with.

    1. The original series was broadcast on PBS and PBS has traditionally attracted a different, more intellectual sort of crowd than network TV. It probably slipped under the radars of creationists; they didn’t know it was on.

    2. Evangelicals were not part of the American political mainstream until Ronald Reagan reached out th them in 1980 and gave them what was then a small place in the American political mainstream or the mainstream of the GOP and their importance within that party has only grown since. They have become much more vocal in the interim.

    3. This was before the internet revolution. The internet is on the one hand a fantastic tool for information, but can be a fantastic tool for disinformation also. Take any topic you want that is dear to creationists, and you will find no shortage of creationist websites spurting disinformation and pseudo-science that was debunked long ago by science; but relatively few sites put up by people understanding science debunking their nonsense. Probably, scientists have better things to do. The point is that it is easy and cheap today to put out disinformation on a global scale where it was quite expensive and difficult 30 years ago.

    Now I admit that none of the ideas have been tested in any way; they are just things that occurred to me when thinking about the problem, but I would certainly entertain rational discussion on the topic.

    • Brad Rogers

      Great post… One thing I didn’t get… cartoons are indicative of lower production value?

      • Gary Menten

        Granted that’s an opinion, but the original TV series often depicted historical events with actors in period costume on location interspersed with period illustrations and paintings as Carl provided narration. When this was impractical in the original series, we simply had Carl on location, explaining what happened.

        In my opinion, the cartoons look cheap by comparison and give the series a sort of “for children” look at times. It’s subjective and you may disagree but I don’t like them. On the other hand, It’s for certain that the computer generated special effects sequences of the new series are far above the quality of the original series, which was made in 1979.

        I’m not sure why the cartoons. Probably they were much less expensive to produce and solve a lot staging problems. Or maybe they are meant to attract younger viewers, only they just seem out of place to me in this program.

        I also hate the commercial interruptions which of course, were entirely absent in the original PBS broadcast series.

    • Ken Simon

      #3 is really the most likely reason. Social media where individuals could air their opinions at the tip of their fingers didn’t exist back then. Undoubtedly, they were there, we just weren’t exposed to it (as long a whole host of issues that either hearten us to hear people believe in or disturb us with the vehemence of their hate) because of the lack of global mass media and the technology that gave birth to the aforementioned social media.

      • Gary Menten

        I think you are most probably correct.

  • richard

    Why? I LIKE scientists…why would we put them through something like that? Besides, it would be like pushing a rope.

  • Judy Jackson

    CREATIONISM is not science.

    • Gary Menten

      But let’s explore this a bit further. If we agreed to teach creationism in the public schools, which version should we teach? Well, we all know which version American Evangelicals want taught, but what if we decided instead to give equal time to say Hindu creation myths, which at least approaches the time scale of postulates has passed since the Big Bang? What would they think of that?

      • m8lsem

        Enough of all this Euro-Asian-African stuff! There were cultures in North America before the European Invasion. Let’s go with those cultures, according to the one indigenous in and around each school. All the rest is immigrant nonsense, ‘init?

  • Jondo

    Actually, while I agree wholeheartedly with the core argument of this article (faith vs. science), I disagree with the suggestion of bringing scientists into churches, as its not really a fair comparison. It would be if the creationists were arguing to have representatives have a place besides scientists at work.

    The fact is creationist get MORE than their fair share of equal time on television with their weekly Sunday evangelists and such. And if they want to produce their own ‘bible study’ documentary, I’m sure there would be more than a handful of stations that would air it (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a couple air already).

    • MoreThingsInH&E

      I find the argument of Faith VS Science , to be a false logic. How does Science contradict the existence of GOD , simply by being able to explain a small part of GOD’s process of creation. The OT is 6thC BC science, the NT is 5thC AD science. GOD did not change. Only human understanding improved.

      • Baby_Raptor

        So your response to science proving how things happened is to claim that we finally get how god did it?

        I guess that’s one way to cling to your beliefs.

  • Marc Elliott

    The best example of this idea of having creationism on cosmos was Family guy “redneck cosmos”.

  • m8lsem

    Of course this dialogue is between science and “fundamentalism”, not between science and creationism. Those who read Scripture as if a history book written yesterday in English with the aid of an American newspaper reporter, make a fundamental error.
    I believe in a God who is talked about in a religious text called the Bible, or Torah and other writings by some. And it is Middle Eastern literature dated from a beginning around 600 BCE (alluded to in the narrative about the finding of a writing in the Temple when those who’d been in exile in Mesopotamia were reunited in Palestine with those who’d been in exile in Egypt, to discover minor disputes about the substance of their then current respective belief systems).
    All of the Old Testament and much of the New was written before even the concept of a ‘history book’ was known in the region, let alone to the authors.
    Science cannot tell us what ‘was’ before the Big Bang, if nothing else, what went ‘Bang’ and why.
    Now God needs not necessarily act like a bricklayer, one atom at a time, who must take a lot of time every day deciding where it will rain, or what the next new baby will look like. If God is a creator of the whole shebang, why cannot God have done that as a ‘systems designer’ whose tool was the ‘Big Bang,’ the outcome of which was determined by God in advance by the means inherent in the design?
    God must be pretty disgusted with some of the things we’ve done with God’s creation.

  • Willis Emerson

    In 1987, the FCC panel repealed the “Fairness Doctrine” (as Right-WingNut talk radio hosts take pride in reminding us of). So why are we wasting time and bandwidth on this?

  • AlbertCat

    “…back and forth between people who believe in science” No one “believes” in science. Stop saying that! People TRUST science because it is based on evidence and has been very very successful in a short amount of time. Even the morons who are creationists trust science…. with their very lives…. daily. Every time the turn on a light, drive the car, take a pain reliever…..

    • Julie Wickstrom

      Ken Ham tried to explain that science he uses is different from science that doesn’t go along with his convoluted ideas. It made no sense. Creationists are getting more media than they deserve.

  • ELBSeattle

    Can we please stop using the phrase ‘believe in science?’ Science is not something one believes in – it is actually the opposite of such faith. Science is a system of providing evidence for things we understand to be true. One does not ‘believe in science.’ One accepts it, or one does not.

    • Julie Wickstrom

      Claps. It is not a religion. It’s more of what we know of reality.

  • Baby_Raptor

    They wouldn’t even consider allowing scientists into their churches. But sure, they’ll demand that their BS be represented everywhere else.

    Jesus had some things to say about hypocrisy. It’s funny how Christians nowadays consider it ignorable.

    • Julie Wickstrom

      Nailed it. Teach religion at church not at school.

  • UltraMan

    First let me begin that Creationist can be scientist and some are noted scientist. Creationist believe that a divine process established the known universe and is still working today. Do we believe that this is faith based? Yes. People who choose not to subscribe to this, choose to instead believe based on their faith; that the Universe was created out of anarchy with the random colliding of two atomic particles. From this “big bang” THEORY all life as we know it evolved. They also believe (some of them) that a comet seeded the earth causing a myriad of COMPLEX life from primordial goop. As a Christian what I don’t understand is why some are so close minded to not open themselves to other possibilities. If they choose not to fine that’s your right but stop attempting to berate me for my faith and belief system and I will do the same for you and your faith and belief system. Fair?

  • Rebecca

    Why bother!?!? We need to keep science in schools, and religion out of schools. People will believe what they want to believe. If we go into churches and teach science aren’t we just as pushy as they are? After all church is no place for the facts of science. 🙂

  • Jake

    Technically speaking faith is a type of science called a pseudoscience in which a hypothesis is drawn up, no experimentation is done and a conclusion is made based on what the pseudo-scientist wants it to be.

  • Kevin

    I’m not sure why these arguments have to be so black and white? I’m a Christian who attends church regularly, but I’m also a scientist. I’m not a literal creationist, but I still believe in God. I’ve found that the more we discover the complexity of nature and the universe the stronger my faith in God becomes. I know there are others out there like me. I’m sure we’d all be surprised just how many scientists out there believe in God already attend church. I personally know some biologists and chemists at my own church that do. Also, it’s interesting historically how many of the great scientists of the past also believed in God. BTW…big fan of the new “Cosmos” and remember watching the old “Cosmos”

    • Ken Simon

      But as a scientist, you can’t fill in a blank and say “since we can’t define this area that is currently unknown to us, it must then be of divine origin”. You can certainly have personal conjecture or opinion (and that can include divinity), but I doubt you would include that in an official conclusion, at least if you wish to remain respected in your field.

    • Julie Wickstrom

      I don’t even see a definite bible timeline. I’ve read multiple versions of the bible and Deuteronomy only has who begot whom. There are no years. It doesn’t list all people from the beginning of time to present day. I’m not sure why the Creationists are so threatened by real science and choose to make things up based upon a monk who made up a timeline 1,000 years ago. I was really surprised when I heard for the first time a few years ago that people actually believe the earth is less than 7,000 years old. Glad my church never force fed me such B.S. I love the old school Cosmos and science.