The First Episode of Cosmos That I Wouldn't Show My Kids
Casey will have more to comment on in detail about last night's Cosmos episode, so I won't steal his thunder. [UPDATE: Here it is.] I'll simply say -- whoa, that's one I won't be watching with my 12-year-old. My oldest son and I have enjoyed the series together up till now. By chance, we missed it last night so I just watched online myself.
With past installments I had to pause now and then to point out to Ezra where host Neil deGrasse Tyson had stopped talking about science and switched to baiting Christianity. Last night's episode, number 11 of 13, would make that procedure impractical and tiresome.
Almost the whole thing is a screed -- executed artfully as always, but a screed nonetheless. [UPDATE: Thoughtful reader William questions my use of the word "screed" here. OK, fair enough. How about "sermon"?] This is no longer an exploration of the cosmos. It's startlingly heavy-handed indoctrination in an alternative secular religion, intended to displace any other faith-related notions in the minds of the program's audience. That audience is clearly imagined as being young and impressionable.
Casey and I were talking about where, with two episodes left and having dropped the initial pretense of a program on science, the Reverend Dr. Tyson will go from here? I find that my own Ship of the Imagination offers no assistance in guessing.
Do you doubt, meanwhile, there are public-school teachers out there who are thinking: Hmm, nice, as soon as that comes out on DVD I'm going to show it to my science classes every year!