'Cosmos' return puts science and religion under the scope

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  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 13, 2014 5:28 p.m.

    @Open Minded Mormon
    @Hank Pym

    Evolution is evolving from one species into another over a long time.

    Neither question you posed is an example of evolution.
    A dog is still a dog, and a human is still a human,

    As God said "after their own kind"

    Within it's own sphere everything can variate, they can be taller, shorter, lighter, darker, have big noses, and so forth, but it is not evolution.

    Height gains can be explained by better diet and hygiene, cleaner water, no diseases, etc,

    Interestingly when Magellan landed in patagonia (argentina/chile area) those 5'1 sailors found giants, people who were 5'11!

    Yeah, not really any "evolution" going on.

    By the way, Noah's son Ham had a black wife, and asians came through Japeth that help explain the races.

    You can genetically variate without there being any evolution.

    And if God can create all the animals before the flood he is certainly capable doing it again after.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    March 13, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    to raybies

    "I get that Mr. Tyson is tired of religion inserting itself into science, but he's doing the exact same thing in reverse, and therefore his objection is hypocritical."

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition in reverse? Bazinga!

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 13, 2014 3:47 p.m.

    the truth
    Holladay, UT
    @LDS Liberal

    There is spiritual progression.
    And physical perfection upon resurrection.

    There is no physical evolution.

    Man was created in God's Image, that is not a fish or monkey or anything else.

    The LDS doctrine is quite clear.

    6:22 p.m. March 12, 2014


    I'll ask you then, the same question Elder Truman Madsen aske me --

    Q: How many "dogs" did Noah put on the ark?
    A: 2

    2 dogs evolved into hudreds of dog species since then.

    Q: How many Humans did Noah put on the Ark?
    A: At least 8

    How many "races" of Humans do we have today?
    Physical Evolution.

    Now, go bury your head in the sand,
    There are "mysteries" to be learned,
    but only IF
    you are willing to have to see, and hears to hear.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    March 13, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    Niel D Grass Tyson is an avowed atheist and has been openly hostile to religion for a long time. Just check his facebook pages, they're full of single page anti-religious nonsense. I know because everytime he comes up with some new quip all my antireligious facebook friends (and I have a lot) plaster his face and quip up in praise.

    He's been doing this for years.

    I get that Mr. Tyson is tired of religion inserting itself into science, but he's doing the exact same thing in reverse, and therefore his objection is hypocritical. I get that some people want to relegate religion to religious topics and science to the provable known... but unfortunately that's not how either group works.

    IMO, there's no need for fighting, but then I'm a fan of religious pluralism... Sadly, most of the world wants to be right more than they want to get along... and I include Mr Tyson among those who think otherwise.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    March 13, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    @ Tyler D (for future consideration as you've reached you comment limit)

    Whether in mathematics, philosophy, or the sciences, logic simply refers to defensible or sound reasoning. For example, your explanation about child->adult head size equals, voila’, two sets of teeth, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny when you consider the rest of the animal kingdom: kittens->cats, baby elephants->adolescent elephants->adult elephants. Nor does it shed any light on how the two sets might have come about.

    The evolution explainer’s favorite device is the cloak of “over time”. Your inch by inch march to the ocean only focuses on the before and after, but something is going on all along the way. Those one inch steps are randomly taken in any direction. Over the fifty million years you may have SOME that reach the ocean, but there must be offspring EVERYWHERE, in all directions, with near indistinguishable (minute) differences among them in a grand continuum. Some might have evolved halfway to somewhere only to evolve back to where they were. Does that model match up well with what we observe today, fifty million years after some point in time fifty million years ago?

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 12, 2014 6:52 p.m.

    to the truth

    "There is no physical evolution."

    Really? What about mankind getting taller over the millenia?

    Further... After coming out of Africa, you are saying Swedes didn't adapt differently than the Chinese?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 12, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal

    There is spiritual progression.
    And physical perfection upon resurrection.

    There is no physical evolution.

    Man was created in God's Image, that is not a fish or monkey or anything else.

    The LDS doctrine is quite clear.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 12, 2014 3:45 p.m.

    to mhenshaw

    "Unfortunately, science alone is completely inadequate for developing ethics and morals."

    Additionally, religion is totally wrong to develop common sense & deductive reasoning

    to the truth

    "Man did NOT evolve."

    Evolve. Eternal progression. Semantics.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 12, 2014 2:07 p.m.

    @Central Texan – “As I say, the current model (mutation/selection) doesn't get us there.”

    First, you do understand that science is about induction (observation, testing hypotheses, etc.) and not logic per se, yes? If you’re looking for logical proofs you’re in the wrong field (stick to math).

    Second, your question does not raise any serious objections to the fact of evolution. Seems like we could get by with one set of teeth but a child’s mouth is too small to fit the teeth needed by an adult… thus two sets. Maybe if we evolve into giants someday, we’ll have three sets.

    And since you’ve already acknowledged evolution in the first sense (evolution means change), how do you explain what becomes of all the minute changes over very long periods of time? Unless they do not accumulate or somehow just disappear, what does logic tell you results from them (i.e., if I take a one inch step towards the ocean every year, in a fifty million years will I reach the ocean – hint: yes, and then some)?

    Reached comment limit…

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    March 12, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    I'm still looking for the robust logic. If it's all a series of minute changes over millions of years, how did we ever arrive at TWO sets of teeth? The same principles will be in operation today, will they not?

    As I say, the current model (mutation/selection) doesn't get us there.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 12, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    @Central Texan – “explain how humans might develop…a third set of teeth.”

    Speaking generally, evolution is about minute changes (and we’ve already agreed these changes occur all the time) that occur in populations of species and those changes being passed on over many generations more successfully than others. And changes build on the previous changes adding to specialization and diversity.

    Further, new species emerge (variants only breed among themselves) over really, really long periods of time and thus would never be noticeable to any one being who didn’t live to be perhaps a million years old.

    Point being - no animal ever wakes up one day and says, “wow, I have more teeth!” or even, “hey, yesterday I was a fish and today I’m an amphibian.”

    It’s a fascinating subject that people should learn about, for the main reason that without evolution we cannot explain anything about life on our planet (except to postulate a guy with a magic wand), whereas with evolution we can explain almost everything (which is quite amazing given it has only been an area of study for less than 200 years).

  • One opinion west jordan, UT
    March 12, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    All the discoveries through the field of science are exciting and interesting to see. Science is only the belief of data studied by various individuals and changes over time as new discoveries are made. How can we not be interested in this beautiful and fascinating knowledge? To me it does not rule out religious belief but confirms the hand of God in all things. Everything is so well organized and amazing. Just take the human body and the amazing ability it has to live. I feel God is the master scientist and that His knowledge is so far beyond ours that we can't even begin to comprehend his understanding of laws of creation. I think we can appreciate all the beautiful discoveries made. There are laws by which all things function. I so enjoy the beautiful pictures of space we are able to marvel at. We had nothing of that nature when I was young.

  • Central Texan Buda, TX
    March 12, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    When someone starts talking about evolution, you'd better first determine what they are talking about. Is it simply that things have variety and can adapt, or are they assuming all creatures 'evolved' as mutations from some early primitive organisms?

    In the debate, we are often subjected to lightweight arguments such as "evolution just means change -- you're silly if you don't believe in change. (Therefore, if you don't believe in evolution you are silly.)"

    At the risk of drifting off topic, what I'm waiting for is for someone who believes in the latter definition of evolution - that we're all evolved from a lower order of life - to explain how the process really works, and not in a simplistic fashion but rather with robust logic. For example, explain how humans might develop, according to evolutionary principle, a third set of teeth. Somewhere along the line two sets of teeth became universal for our species (baby teeth, adult teeth). The principles at work to go from two to three ought to be the same as when we developed two, I'm guessing, but I don't see how the current model gets us there.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 12, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    the truth
    Holladay, UT
    Actually LDS doctrine is quite clear,

    Man did NOT evolve.


    If you are LDS,
    and you believe we do not evolve,
    how do think you can ever become like God?

    Someone waves a magic wand?
    Sprinkles pixy dust?

    Why do we as Latter-Day Saints teach Eternal Progression?
    Isn't that just another term for evolve?

    You believe what you want, and stay were you are.
    I'm Prgressing, I'm Evolving.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:15 p.m.

    Actually LDS doctrine is quite clear,

    Man did NOT evolve.

    However earth was created, no matter how long that creation took,

    Man did NOT evolve.

    and if man did not evolve you be sure no modern creature evolved either.

    The theory of evolution is pure storytelling. pure fantasy, nothing but silly monkey stories based on 100% supposing and assuming, devoid of actual facts, not fit for the intellect,

    No one should e wasting any brain cells on that ridiculous theory.

    Old fossils and bones have nothing to do with current state of earth, but believers sure like to pretend and they tell very convincing but clever and deceptive stories.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    March 11, 2014 6:50 p.m.

    Evolution and the big bang are theories and will always remain so because no one can travel back in time and observe and measure what really happened. As a student and teacher of Biology for over 60 years I've seen the meaning of many so called facts revised and then revised again. Theories are useful to help us organize facts but they require an open mind because every day there is the chance that some new study will change it. And some parts of the theory require great imagination. As Dave Clark my great invertebrate fossil professor always told us "You have to use your imagination to fill in the soft body parts of most fossils." Cosmos should be watched and enjoyed as long as we remember much of it will be good Science Fiction.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 11, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    If you are LDS,
    Science and Religion are based on the exact same foluma for determing "tuth".

    1. Ponder it in your mind.
    2. Make a decision as to what you "think" is right.
    3. Then, set out to "prove it" for yourself.

    I have no problems reconciling Science and Religion.
    If you are using the same fomula,
    You will ultimately determine the truth of ALL things.

    BTW -- Cosmos: a Space-Time Odessey hammer this home thorugh out the entire 1st episode.

  • Filo Doughboy Bakersfield, CA
    March 11, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    Thank you, Neil and Seth. And a word to you:

    "Don't let your God of Science be too big." Lest He have to be ever-redefined, as He has been in His attempts to purport Himself above and beyond the Organizer of the Cosmos. Just pick up any science text book in any decade and compare it with the previous decade's curriculum. Just compare Job 38's analogy of "stretching out" the cosmos... (The oldest Biblical book, never revised or updated.

    And science reinvents itself and its "facts" every few years, as it peers deeper into a Cosmos that it clearly cannot comprehend:
    Dark Energy, Dark Matter, Black Holes: 1924 vs. 2014? Google what astrophysicists still cannot explain. Go to NASA's site on what no one knew before Hubble's spectacular emissions back to earth in 1998...

    And don't forget God's Word to Job:
    "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (38:2)

  • Hank Jr Draper, UT
    March 11, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    I enjoyed the premier especially after I fast forwarded Obama out of it.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 11, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    @mhenshaw – “science alone is completely inadequate for developing ethics and morals.”

    And yet hundreds of millions of people on the planet who embrace all the findings science and do not believe in God (at least in the “man in white beard, law giver” sense) seem to have no problem behaving quite ethically. In fact when we look at countries around the world, there appears to be an inverse relationship between religious belief and ethical behavior - compare the most atheistic country, Sweden, to the most religious, Pakistan; or even the 20 most atheist/agnostic countries with the 20 most religious – the results should be eye opening to any fair minded person.

    But since you imply that we can only have objective morality by believing in God, I’m curious if you can tell us what this objective morality is (i.e., is there a God written/inspired book that would give these “true for all time” moral codes you suggest we are otherwise lacking?

  • slcdenizen t-ville, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:27 a.m.


    "Unfortunately, science alone is completely inadequate for developing ethics and morals."

    Empty rhetoric. Ethics and morals are a result of sociological evolution, hence the disparate values and morals of societies. Taboos and mores emerge and disappear like languages or religions. The above statement is akin to claiming an broad understanding of human civilization, recognizing a distinct pattern of morals, and being certain as to the correctness of those morals. Note: see the above comments regarding humility.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    A lot of people misunderstand both science and religion. Both use faith, both need to seek the truth. Science is always evolving as they pursue truth. Some 'religionists' do not seek truth. Science has been very helpful in developing technologies. Science has not been helpful in using these technologies wisely. Sadly, man's weak faith in God has likewise not been helpful, Clearly, more work is needed in the latter area.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    March 11, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Science is merely the observation of the world that God has created; it doesn't suggest that God doesn't exist or that Christianity is wrong, and this is something mankind has understood through most of its history. Revelation and scientific understanding both come about through inquiry and humility.

    But in recent times, people have attached a lot of un-scientific baggage to the label "science": arrogance in man's own understanding, unconstructive skepticism and cynicism, and confirmation bias toward anything they think suggests against intelligent design in life or the universe.

    For every instance in which "religion" has held back discovery and progress, so "science" has impeded actual scientific understanding and progress, as well as moral fiber. For every claim that being religious requires certainty and superstition there is the fact that some's misguided idea of "science" involves certainty in that science and a zealous denouncement of all other forms of thought.

  • jsg Mapleton, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    I really like: "Don't let your god be too small." Mormon theology has a firm footing against some of the criticisms raised in this article. The Pearl of Great Price portrays a god that weeps, yet governs a universe with countless worlds. As an LDS scientist, it is liberating to be part of a religious community that embraces science, and a god of galaxies. In my lifetime, I've never felt church leadership questioning honest scientific inquiry. These days, they allocate money toward open-ended scientific research carried out by students at BYU. Awesome, right? You've got to love a religion that essentially says: let's get the truth wherever we can find it; we're not afraid to scrutinize everything. It if turns out that the earth is billions of years old, that's enlightening; if it turns out that native American peoples have a genetic composition that's really Asian, great. Does scientific progress require that religious people revise some old beliefs? Sure, and the closer we get to the truth, the closer we get to God.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    March 11, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    >>scientific inquiry encompasses both the benefits and drawbacks of religion and thus makes the dichotomy a false one.

    Unfortunately, science alone is completely inadequate for developing ethics and morals.

    In fact, teaching people that they are nothing more than randomly organized blobs of matter who will cease to exist at death and who answer to no higher power than themselves leads one to question why any particular moral code should be binding upon the individual.

  • scorsi Farmington, UT
    March 11, 2014 6:58 a.m.

    Your belief in evolution, historical geology, or history of the earth in the LDS Church is like being a democrat or republican. The church has no stance on it and you will find members on both sides.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 11, 2014 6:40 a.m.

    Scientists teach us how little we really know and then get all excited because this means there is so much to discover. I love that: the brain firing, the imagination soaring. Learning how things really work - now that's an incredible experience.

    I think science and scientists can teach us how to become comfortable with uncertainty, and I think this would be a good thing for humanity. The illusion of certainty breeds arrogance and its many ills. Uncertainty begets humility. Humility is better.

  • wzagieboylo Nofolk, MA
    March 11, 2014 5:32 a.m.

    Self-proclaimed scientists seem to be feeling their way towards a new inquisition, but this time it is against anyone who believes in any type of religion. The initial Cosmos show universally depicted complex situations as cartoons. Rather than the ponderous, self-righteous tone, it would have been refreshing to see humility at the difficulty of understanding reality and eagerness to discover new truths.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    March 10, 2014 10:00 p.m.

    I'm intrigued by Seth MacFarlane's involvement.

    Science is all about questioning the world around us. Comedy/satire is meant to poke holes in rigid thinking & the status quo.

    p.s. Matheria: Did you notice that the lead in to Cosmos on Sunday was a Seth MacFarlane show on Fox?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    March 10, 2014 9:50 p.m.

    “And, Rossi said, Bruno was outcast because of his anti-God beliefs and not his perception of the universe.”

    What an (unintentionally) great line… as if that’s an excuse for his execution.

    And if science is beginning to push back on religion a little it is only because religion has become a disproportionally powerful political force in our country seeking to mobilize (for what?) a large segment of the population with a constant stream of fear based victim rants (e.g., war on Christmas, war on religion, etc.).

    The Religious Right has done more to change the tone (negatively) of our public discourse than science or secularism ever has, and they are largely responsible for whatever tension exists between science and religion.

    Which of course the quoted line above makes perfectly clear…

  • slcdenizen t-ville, UT
    March 10, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    Science and religion are contradictory in the sense that one requires curiosity and humility, the other superstition and certainty. Those who have continued to embrace religion into adulthood would be wise to consider the limits of human understanding in any area and maintain the distance between an ever-changing society that is developing a preference for scientific inquiry in place of rituals and dogmatic teaching. The case will always be made that the latter of the two has value and should not be discounted, however scientific inquiry encompasses both the benefits and drawbacks of religion and thus makes the dichotomy a false one. Religion has and will continue to belong in the area of anthropology. The foremost question should not be which religion is true but rather why was religion necessary to begin with.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 10, 2014 9:07 p.m.

    Why? It's kind of like comparing a tv show about reality versus reality television. On the surface they sound similar but really one is about science and one is 'big brother' or 'the amazing race'.

  • ex patria cougar Australia, 00
    March 10, 2014 8:54 p.m.

    It is easy to get caught up in false arguments, where people and ideas that are not inherently at odds, are set at opposition and people take sides. There are a number of reasons for this: ignorance, mistrust, or in the case of the media, for the profit found in the entertainment value of arguments, debates, and contention.

    Faith vs. Science is a false argument. I love both, and have no reason to doubt either. Devaluing either one is foolishness. The more I learn about faith and science, the more I realize how much there is to learn. Science does not threaten my faith.

    Faith vs. Works is another false argument.

  • matheria up North, WI
    March 10, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    I don't trust anything Seth McFarland puts his hands on. He should stick to inane attempts entertaining the lowest common denominator.

  • omegasevx Farmington, UT
    March 10, 2014 8:06 p.m.

    Please note that Tyson specifically states that Bruno was not a scientist, and that he was lucky in his guess about the universe (26:46). Whether he was a scientist or not was never the point. It's undeniable that religions have, and will continue to reject anything that contradicts its revealed wisdom, and you can see it happening today. The reality of the universe makes a mockery of the Gods our ancient ancestors worshiped, and many of us still do today.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 10, 2014 7:59 p.m.


    My 17 year college enrolled daughter just had her Sunday School teacher "lecture" her about the lies of Science.
    The Big Bang, Evolution, Age and Size of the Universe, ect.

    The Earth is 6,000 years old, Evolution doesn't happen in any way, shape or form, and the Big Bang never happened because God has always been around, and so has his universe.

    So, it would seem that the teaching of Abraham and Joseph Smith, Brigham Young etc. would not be very well accepted by many of today's 21st century LDS Church members.