The deputy editor of USA Today reflecting upon the update of the series Cosmos remarked, “Carl Sagan fought pseudoscience with a smile and wide-eyed wonder. One of the taglines from the series was 'The Cosmos is all there was, is, or ever will be'.”
That famous catchphrase is itself non-scientific at best and pseudoscientific at worst.
Even if one grants that the universe is billions and billions of years old (to employ rhetoric of nearly that many parodies of Sagan), on what grounds can one state such an absolute conclusion from the basis of observational science?
For example, in the worldview espoused by Cosmos, it is held that the cosmos began at the moment of the Big Bang.
Thus, if one cannot peek back beyond that point, on what grounds apart from a faith as deeply held by the most adamant of theist does one conjecture that something else did not exist to bring the something into existence?
One can make the case of the cosmos being all there is all one wants.
But if the triumvirate of space, time and matter is all you are going to appeal to, on what grounds do you lodge a complaint should those not wanting such a gospel of nihilistic hopelessness to infect the minds of their children want to blow your brains out?
The last segment of Sagan's trademark mantra dogmatically asserted that the cosmos is all that will ever be.
If we are to exist in an epistemological framework where nothing is certain and there is no purposeful supreme intelligence superintending so that everything continues on a routine path, how do we know some manner of quantum cascade won't take place tonight where one subatomic particle is so knocked off course that all of reality disintegrates back into nothingness?
For did not even the great skeptics such as David Hume concede that, just because the sun rose from time immemorial, that was no guarantee that it would do so tomorrow?
Interestingly, the proponents of the Cosmos invocation might insist that they are providing viewers insight into whatever was or ever will be.
However, what these propagandists are conveniently leaving out are those aspects of the totality they happen to disagree with or cannot flippantly gloss over.
For example, in the premiere episode, an inordinate amount of time was spent badmouthing the adherents of a supposedly non-existent God in the case of Giodarno Bruno who was persecuted for believing that an infinite God could have created additional inhabited planets.
If nothing is to be concealed in the name of approaching a comprehension of the universe as it is rather than how we would like it to be, at any point in this documentary's presentation did Neil deGrasse Tyson --- himself an avowed atheistic humanist --- give an as lengthy presentation about the liberties infringed and abridged by assorted forms of atheism such as Communism in the attempt to maintain a stranglehold on power by preventing the dissemination of not only competing perspectives but as well as facts deemed inconvenient to adherents of that particular ideology?
Thus, if the hallmark of what distinguishes the modern era as supposedly superior to that of the medieval is that by the definition of these terms that we know better and are more enlightened, doesn't that make the atrocities of Communism far greater having been committed by the self-professed adherents of science?
In another episode, Tyson became emotionally discombobulated that if we as a species did not repent of our carbon combusting, global warming ways, we could very well cease to exist.
However, once again, if the only thing that exists is the material totality of the universe and there is no noncontingent intelligence or personality sustaining these complex systems, who is to say existence is superior to nonexistence?
Science writer George Johnson suggested that the tendency to view the universe as designed is an evolutionary holdover that humanity ought to progress beyond.
Then why not this desire for continued existence beyond that of our immediate selves?
For is this for the most part a trait and bias of the human plague infesting the planet?
Swarms of grass hoppers defoliating an area don't reflect if there will be enough to go around decades down the road.
One truism is that any resident of this realm will be subject to some kind of ultimate authority.
One can either settle for that of other flawed human beings that will in the end lead to disappointment and eventually destruction.
Or, one can look to God as the foundation and utilize a number of the tools that He provides such as His word foremostly followed by reason contemplating upon principles derived from that revelation and their operation through the handiwork of His creation.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.