Cosmos Reboot, Episode 2

My wife and I viewed last night’s episode together. She was disappointed I went ahead and watched the first one without her. (She caught up the other night when I was at the student center.)

Last night’s piece had two major movements. First, a compression of billions of years of natural history into about 25 minutes, real time. Neil deGrasse Tyson and his scriptwriters take a sledgehammer to creationism as a science. He gets a dig in to suggest that it might be evidence of hubris to think we are somehow separate from other life forms on Earth. It’s not a very Christian value to be overly proud of one’s heritage, I suppose.

On the plus side: the Permian extinction event explained–one of the theories, anyway. The best portion, and well-scripted besides, is the human domestication of the wolf, and the transformation of dogs into a diverse client species of humans. The writers aren’t above adding a bit of dramatization and tugs at heartstrings to make a point about the development of species.

By the last several minutes, Dr Tyson gets back into space, plunging into the lakes of Titan, moon of Saturn. Thumbs up for not depicting life, though the semi-dramatization suggested we ought to go back for a second look.

Unfortunately, Dr Tyson and his writers forgot to mention our first look, the European Space Agency probe that landed there ten years ago, Huygens. Have we forgotten? Some younger viewers might not remember those first images from across the solar system. The CGI depiction of Titan’s surface doesn’t quite match up to what we viewed from the camera of Huygens. The tv show coloration seemed a bit darker. Another smallish quibble is that the Titan rain seemed to fall more earthlike than it would in one-seventh Earth-gee. Methane drops would be larger, fall and splash more slowly, as if in slow motion. Check the moonwalk footage for an idea, there.

Overall, good show. No clunkers like Giordano Bruno. But the program probably didn’t make many friends among hardcore creationists.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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