Now, don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the latest incarnation of Cosmos. I loved the Carl Sagan version as well, because both versions did their best to communicate the wonder of scientific discovery to a lay audience. And that’s great.
What bothers me however, is how quickly – and unthinkingly it seems – these shows veered off course and into unfamiliar waters. Sagan and DeGrasse Tyson were/are both formidable scientists with some pretty hefty CVs attached to their names; Seth McFarlane, the new Cosmos’ executive producer is a talented screenwriter and television producer. But historians and social scientists they ain’t.
Again, because it bears repeating (and apparently needs to be repeated): being an expert in one field does not make you an expert in others, and just because you want to tell the wonderful story of the evolution of science, doesn’t mean that you should get a free pass on bungling history. If you want to know how things went down in the past, why not take the time to actually ask an historian, instead of parroting worn-out pseudohistorical myths and New Atheist fables as fact?
Here’s a blog post that says it much better than I. Take it away, Tim…
Originally posted on The Renaissance Mathematicus:
A few months ago while visiting Rome I did something a tourist should not do in a strange…
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