Episode 3 "When Knowledge Conquered Fear"
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3/25/2014 at 1:23:45 PM GMT
Posts: 41
Yes, a distinct air of scientism. It will be interesting to see if there are any departures from that in future episodes now that our expectations are near rock bottom on that category. It is particularly sad that they chosen animation for the characters so that they can better indoctrinate unsuspecting children.

Mervin, I liked you assessment and agree. I otherwise enjoyed watching, having begun with low expectations that it would rise above scientism.

3/25/2014 at 3:34:34 PM GMT
Posts: 10
I can certainly see problematic aspects of Tyson's presentation, both in this episode and previous ones. But while it may communicate a somewhat distorted picture of the history of science by greatly downplaying Christian influence (not, however, as much as Sagan did), it may also clear the ground by getting rid of some bad theology. In particular, it may help to eliminate the notion that we are to learn about God first of all from the natural world. (Yes, I know Romans 1 and I also know that those who cite it in support of natural theology don't understand what Paul is saying there.)

Yes, Newton was a Christian, albeit an heretical one. Yes, he did think that we are to know God from the natural world, as he says in the General Scholium of the Principia - and he was wrong about that. Yes, he thought that God occasionally stepped in to correct the celestial mechanism - and Laplace and others later eliminated the "need" for such intervention. & while the cartoon portrayals were - well, cartoonish ( I don't think they had to model Hooke on Gollum), Newton throwing Hooke's portrait in the fire did convey the arrogance and self-centeredness of his character - something that was shown more fully in his treatment of Leibniz.

& I thought it was interesting that nothing at all was said about Halley's religious beliefs - which apparently were atheism or something pretty close to it. That should be noted by those who think that Tyson i promoting atheism.

3/25/2014 at 6:19:27 PM GMT
Posts: 19
Dr. Murphy

Duly noted (that the purported atheism of Halley was not mentioned). And clearly the show is nothing like it would have been if Krauss or Dawkins were doing it. I don’t think Tyson is promoting atheism, but I do think he is promoting anti theism, which isn’t exactly the same thing. We will see if that continues, or (as I postulated in my original comment) whether this episode was an aberration. I would love to see a further exposition of your remark that this show “may help eliminate the notion that we are to learn about God first of all from the natural world”. I don’t see the connection between that notion and the content of the series.

3/29/2014 at 10:04:42 PM GMT
Posts: 142
Four blood moons
Tyson's thrust in this episode is centered on the way in which 17th century physics helped explain celestial phenomena like comets that ancient civilizations thought were omens of distressing times. But he might have noted that it hasn't alleviated all 21st century beliefs in such omens. Today I came across the discussion going on about the book Four Blood Moons published recently by John Hagee. In essence, the occurrence of four blood moons (i.e., a lunar eclipse, when sunlight passing through the earth's atmosphere leads to a reddish reflection on the moon) within 18 months (next one is April 2014 through September 2015) is claimed to portend great historical events. Anyone want to bet whether or not there will be a calamity during that time?