Cosmos Episode 3

I missed the network airing of episode 3. I watched it earlier today. Four is on a bit later tonight. But I might catch that later.

A confession: I never watched the Carl Sagan series. I have no reference to the original. So when viewers and reviewers comment on commonality, I have nothing to say about that.

So far, my sense of the new series is mixed. The visuals and direction are great. The writing is fair. The defense of science is cloying. People upbraided Bill Nye for debating an evolutionist and losing. But Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey debates too much that modern anti-intellectual opponent, unseen and quasi-imaginary. Getting bogged down in that debate stashed the real fathers of modern astronomy (Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo) in favor of a good guesser, Giordano Bruno.

My own sense of the first three episodes so far is that there’s not quite enough reliance on wonder, despite the sleek appearance of that “ship of the imagination.”

From episode 3’s start with comets (good!) we get an involved personal tussle among the Brits (fair) and a good summary of the accomplishments of Edmund Halley, who didn’t discover his namesake comet. Via Halley we get back to comets, and a good visual interpretation of how that 18th century scientist deciphered the orbit of one particular “dirty snowball” and showed that comets were not objects of menace and ill portent. Just a new form of celestial body.

Episode ends with galaxies in collision. Would’ve liked to see a bit more of that and a little less 1700’s cartoons.

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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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