Did “Cosmos” Pick the Wrong Hero?

By Corey S. Powell | March 10, 2014 1:07 pm

UPDATE: Cosmos writer Steven Soter responds to my critique here.

The first episode of the ambitious reboot of Cosmos, which debuted last night, closely follows the template of the first episode of the original. It also differs in some important ways–most of them right on target, but one of them unfortunately off the mark.

Giordano Bruno: cosmologist, heretic, martyr, jerk. (Credit: David Oliver)

Giordano Bruno: cosmologist, genius, heretic, martyr, jerk. (Credit: David Oliver)

Special effects have advanced greatly since Carl Sagan’s 1980 original; the new visualizations are both more dramatic and more realistic. Science has advanced greatly as well. The updated Cosmos discusses free-floating planets between the stars, shows real images of Uranus and Neptune, and gives a precise age to the universe (that would be 13.8 billion years). All of these things were unknown 34 years ago.

In overall content, the new series introduces two major innovations. One is a tribute to Carl Sagan, a moving segment  in which host Neil DeGrasse Tyson recalls his teenage encounter with the revered astronomer. The other is an extended tribute to the 16th-century Italian philosopher and theologian Giordano Bruno.

Here is where Cosmos 2.0 runs into its big problem, missing out both on a chance to set history straight and to embrace the generous, forward-looking spirit of Sagan.

Bruno is well known as a martyr to the cause of modern astronomy. As Tyson intones in Cosmos, “for one man, Copernicus didn’t go far enough.” Starting in the late 1500s, Bruno argued not only in favor of Copernicus’s sun-centered cosmology, he also proposed that space was infinite in extent; that stars were other suns, surrounded by other Earths; and that those other worlds were also populated.

His belief in an infinite universe, reflecting the infinite glory of God, got Bruno shunned and exiled from country after country. He grew impoverished and largely friendless, but refused to recant. Eventually Bruno was imprisoned by the Church, and burned at the stake in 1600–10 years before Galileo announced his first observations that confirmed Copernicus was right.

It’s a powerful, tragic, and cautionary tale, right?

Meet the Real Giordano Bruno

That depiction in the new Cosmos matches the standard textbook story of Bruno, but it is misleading and in some ways downright wrong. For starters, Bruno was not the first to link the idea of infinite space with the infinite glory of God. That idea actually originated with Nicolas of Cusa, a German philosopher who lived a century earlier (and who wrote about the notion of infinite space even before Copernicus, though not in a detailed astronomical way). Nicolas kept his infinite theology within the Catholic framework, however, and suffered no ill consequences for his views.

A mystic reaches toward the infinite. This woodcut, adapted in Cosmos to depict Bruno, actually appeared in a 19th-century popular science text. (Credit: Camille Flammarion)

A mystic reaches toward the infinite. This woodcut, adapted in the first episode of Cosmos to depict Bruno, originated in a 19th-century popular science text. (Credit: Camille Flammarion)

Bruno also was not much of a Copernican, or by most accounts much of an astronomer at all. His interests were theological, not physical, and his astronomical writings are considered amateurish and confused. Bruno’s talents lay elsewhere. He performed great feats of memory (using an early form of mnemonics), he was accomplished in mathematics but also in magic, and he was a true theological and philosophical innovator in his vision of endless inhabited worlds.

In Cosmos, Tyson does carefully say that Bruno was not a scientist, and instead describes that picture of infinite worlds as a “guess.” But Bruno was not guessing. He was advancing his own, heretical theology, which goes a long way to understanding the real reason that he was burned at the stake.

The Roman Inquisition listed eight charges against Bruno. His belief in the plurality of worlds was just one. The others involved denying the divinity of Jesus, denying the virgin birth, denying transubstantiation, practicing magic, and believing that animals and objects (including the Earth) possessed souls. You could fairly call Bruno a martyr to the cause of religious freedom, but his cosmic worldview was neither a deduction nor a guess. It was a philosophical corollary of his heterodox belief that God and souls filled all of the universe.

Despite his heresies, Bruno was neither impoverished nor alone. In reality, he had a series of powerful patrons. In 1579, he was appointed a professor of philosophy in Tolouse, France. In 1581, King Henry III of France offered him a lucrative lectureship at the Sorbonne. In 1583 he visited England, lived with the ambassador to France, and met regularly with the Court…and so on. The gaunt, lonely fellow you see on screen in Cosmos is not the real Bruno.

Nor was Bruno the simple, humble figure shown on TV. A major reason he moved around so much is that he was argumentative, sarcastic, and drawn to controversy. He engaged in bitter academic disputes, many of which had nothing to do with his cosmic framework. One example He fled France because of a violent dispute about the proper use of a compass (seriously).

None of this means that Bruno in any way deserved his fate. But neither does he deserve to be reduced to a cartoon about intellectual freedom. He was a brilliant, complicated, difficult man.

Bruno’s impassioned statements and outrageous personality alienated many of his natural supporters. Neither Johannes Kepler nor Galileo thought much of him. Kepler even wrote specifically to refute Bruno’s ideas. Citing Bruno as the “one man” who dared to go beyond Copernicus also obscures another, equally important and often overlooked historical figure.

Thomas Digges, the Forgotten Copernican

While Bruno was making grand pronouncements and racking up enemies, Thomas Digges was quietly doing much more to bring the ideas of Copernicus into the  mainstream of European thinking. Digges was one of the leading astronomers in 16th century England–a place where Catholic doctrine obviously did not hold the kind of sway that it did in Italy. In 1576, Digges published the first English translation of Copernicus’s revolutionary (literally) text, De revolutionibus.

Digges’s goal, in the words of science historian Francis Johnson, was to make the ideas of Copernicus and the sun-centered universe available “to the skilled artisans and mechanics whose intelligent co-operation was so necessary to successful research in the sciences.” Digges was not just an astronomer, he was also a popularizer of science. You might call him the Carl Sagan of his day.

The universe of Thomas Digges, 1576. He placed the stars outside the orbits of the planet--the first explicit illustration of infinite space. (Credit: Galileo Project)

The universe of Thomas Digges, 1576. He placed the stars outside the orbits of the planets–the first explicit illustration of infinite space. (Credit: Galileo Project)

Along with his translations, Digges added commentary and new ideas, making it clear that the Copernican model was more than philosophy, it was a physically real model of the solar system. Even more significant, it was Digges–not Bruno–who first broached the idea that a sun-centered universe could well be infinite in extent.

If all revolved around the Earth, then the stars needed to be confined to a shell that could likewise circle around us once a day. But if the Earth is in motion, then there is no reason why space could not be open and unbounded. Digges made this point explicit and even created a drawing showing, for the first time in history, how the stars might be scattered through endless space outside our solar system.

All of this seems very much in the spirit of Sagan: taking an audacious idea, explaining it to a broad audience, and citing philosophical precedent from classical Greek literature to show that the idea was not so heretical after all.

Science and Religion in Tandem

OK, you may still be thinking that this is much ado about nothing, splitting hairs over old astronomical history. I believe otherwise. The story of Bruno and Digges has a lot to say about the way science operates today, and about the spiritual side of science that Sagan was so adept at exploring.

One irony of the Cosmos narrative is that Bruno very likely got some of his ideas from Digges, since Digges was widely read and Bruno spent two years in England in the 1580s. A second, deeper irony is that in trying to show how science and religion sometimes worked hand in hand, Cosmos missed a chance to showcase a key episode in brokering peace between the two sides.

Bruno was a pugilist and an ideologue. In many of his ideas he was right–wildly, spectacularly right–but his method of spreading his ideas alienated his supporters. More importantly, his ideas sprang from faith nearly as much as did the ideas of the Church; Bruno was far from a scientist in the modern sense.

Digges, in contrast, was focused on advancing the work of Copernicus. He helped lay the intellectual groundwork for Kepler and Galileo, and established England as a beachhead of progressive scientific thought. “The influence of Digges’ treatise on contemporary astronomical thought can hardly be overestimated,” Johnson continues. Digges grafted the idea of infinite space onto Copernicus’s idea of a sun-centered solar system, showing that the two ideas naturally go hand in hand.

By presenting the heliocentric system not as heresy but as an extension of classical learning, Digges pointed out a path forward: away from superstition and theological debate, toward the modern world in which scientific theories own real power as physical descriptions of nature. He also implicitly presented science as a cumulative intellectual journey, with each generation expanding on earlier ideas, testing their validity, inviting further questions.

I suspect Carl Sagan would approve. Over to you, Cosmos, for episode 2.

Follow me on Twitter: @coreyspowell



  • Jerry Asbridge

    Great post! As a Christian who also believes in evolution, I felt Cosmos missed an opportunity to build bridges. Your words here are helpful in that cause.

    • Marcelo Ribeiro

      One scientist can build 100 briges in the same time a fundamentalist destroys 1.000.

      • Buddy199


        • Marcelo Ribeiro


          • Paulo Picolomini

            $#!T :)

      • Topheh

        And the converse is true as well.

      • Jim Oberg

        But look around and ask, who are the dogmatists who are suppressing contrary opinions today? It’s not a church-versus-secularism as presented in this myth, the modern players following the inquisitional/suppressive style inhabit different social structures. Just sayin’….

        • Aldo Elmnight

          “In truth, there are only two kinds of people; those who accept dogma and know it, and those who accept dogma and don’t know it.”

          ― G.K. Chesterton

      • skwills

        The Science VS Religion crap is gettign old, and so is the misuse of the term Fundamentalist. In reality, there wee no Fundamentalists in Mediaval or Renasaucne Europe. Fundamentalism began in the 20th Century in America. its also nto the violent, hostile force its depicted as.

    • Morva Ádám

      You are a christian who also believes in evolution? Wow, good job, here’s a sticker for you.

      You also believe in magical skydaddies and other horrible nonsense, so you are not much more rational than your creationist peers.

      • Buddy199

        You’re an intolerant imbecile.
        Funny, the same thing you call religious people.

        • Morva Ádám

          Oh no. I’m so hurt. I bet you get all warm and fuzzy when you think that your god will punish me?

          • Buddy199

            Don’t flatter yourself. No one thinks or could care less about small angry people like you. Crawl back into your hole.

          • Paletero

            why are so angry at the individual and dehumanize them in such a way for stating a harmless opinion that would other wise be crushed by the very institution he is criticizing when given enough power by hateful individuals like you?

          • skwills

            You mean liek hwo the Sovietsd killed peopel simply for beign Relgiious? oh thats right, we’re suppoed tot hink that had nothgin to do with Atheism.

            Face Reality, the idea of Christaisn wantign to kill peoepl who disagree is a trope, not a Reality. its doubtful that in the modern orld, if the Chruch were givne real absolut power we’d see them crush all opposition mrcileessly. Meanwhile, the original poser yoru defendign Dehumanised peopel for meley beleivign God existed.

          • Paletero

            The soviets killed atheist to. I doubt Trotsky and his followers were killed for his christian beliefs by Stalin. They sought to eliminate any tyrannical institution or anything perceived as a threat to their tyrannical institutions.

          • skwills

            There is a difference though. It’s not like the Soviets killed people who happened to be Chhristians becaue they saw them as a Threat politically, for reasons other than their Religion. The Sviets killed several Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and other assorted Religious Clergy expliitly under the Doctrine of State Atheism. The goasl was the eradication of Religion and the development of a Purely Atheistic State.

            Trotsky was killed for his opposition to Stalinism, but hundreds of Orthodox Priets and Bishops were killed simply becau they wre Orthodox Priests or Bishops.

            it’s intellectually dishonest to pretend the Societs never killed anyone motivated by their Atheism.

          • Diogo

            Religion has no tolerance for any free speech which is against it and it should be ridiculed for it. One beautiful quote: “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used
            against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before
            reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the
            trinity. – Thomas Jefferson”

      • http://theprogessivecontrarian.wordpress.com/ Bernie Mooney

        And atheists wonder why they have such an image problem?

        • Morva Ádám

          For pointing out to the obvious?

          He believes in some magical being who counts the fall of every sparrow and sends you to hell for not believing in him.

          Do you really expect educated people to take theists seriously?

          • http://theprogessivecontrarian.wordpress.com/ Bernie Mooney

            You know nothing about him except for what he revealed here, yet you feel you can pass judgment on his whole belief system.

          • Morva Ádám

            Isn’t that enough?

            What part of christianity is rational?

          • skwills

            Well, Christainity is Ratioanl in its exploration of the Human condition, such as its treatment of Sin, Forgiveness, and Stonement. From a purely Psychological Standpoint, the idea that e need to forgive others, as well as let go of our pasts and embace a future, and that we can, in fact, change, soemthignthat in the Time and plce Christainity was formed in was radical, hs been proven True. Regardless of yorublefis inthe Afterlife, rhe proccess of Temproal Forgiveness and redemotion inthis Life is vry useful and still employed by contemproary Psychology. If yu read the Early Chruch fathers, you’d also see a wealth ofundertandign in ho the Human Midn works.

            Then there’s ideas about God and the afterlife which you will fidn Irrational, but which don’t actually viilate causality or any other Rational thing. Even if we aep the “no evidence” claim, the ideas do nto ontradic what we do know.

            a better wuestion is, what part of Christainity is irrational?

            The best you will liekly give is in the representation fo Christain ebelfis from men liek Dawkins which really won’t be what Chrstaisn beleifve at all, such as God sending you to Hell just for not beeliv ng in Him orother useless crivel we’ve all heard before.

          • Brian Dunaway

            You sound more like a politician than a believer in science.

          • skwills

            have you ever bothered to look up the word “Caricature’ in a dictionary?

            You arent describing Christian beeklifs, you’re oversimplifyign them absed on what Militant Atheists have used as propaganda.

        • Marcelo Ribeiro

          Not all of them are dicks. :)

      • coreyspowell

        One inviolable rule on this site: all discourse must be carried out in a civil way. It is Discover policy, and it is also just common sense. Nobody has ever changed someone else’s mind with insults and name-calling.

        Some words from Carl Sagan for all sides to consider: “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

        • Morva Ádám

          I did not insult anyone and I didn’t call anyone names. I merely pointed out to the fact that a christian who is not creationist is just one tiny step less absurd than a creationist christian.

          Also, you are mistaken if you think that quote of Sagan’s is somehow defending theism.

          • icowrich

            You were very clearly insulting that commenter, and were far from trying to establish common ground. You surely didn’t give him any incentive to consider your point of view. Sagan was more open theistic possibilities than you assume. In Contact, he even imagines a scenario wherein the Creator seems to have left a signature embedded in the value of pi. There are limits to where reason has taken man, so far, and Sagan acknowledged that.

          • Morva Ádám

            Insulting? No.

            I merely reminded the commenter that there is nothing rational about christian dogmas. If you think that was insulting then I suppose that means that you demand special rights for religions and religious people and judge them by completely different standards.

            I find it funny though, that you cite Contact (Sagan’s work of FICTION) in which a group of religious terrorists blow up the first machine humans have built, killing multiple people in the process.
            Sagan was open-minded, yes, but he was not gullible, and he rejected the idea of gods, theistic possibilities and funny things like that, because there’s no evidence to support claims of divine interventions, virgin births, resurrections and whatnot.

          • icowrich

            Sagan was critiquing fundamentalism and distinguishing it from other religious characters in the novel whom he deeply respected. You, in contrast, conflated both groups, saying that any theist is about as worthy of ridicule as outright fundamentalists. You were, in essence, denying that Sagan’s distinction is at all valid. That Sagan goes further and posits that a search for some Creator (divine or otherwise) is a task is worthy of even the most advanced civilizations is utterly incompatible with the stark judgment you made about any deviation from atheism.

            Sagan was an atheist, but he was not wedded to his position beyond all hope of reason. He just didn’t see the evidence that he clearly hoped was out there. I’m guessing he died with that hope still in him. Human aspiration isn’t limited to what we know of the universe.

          • skwills

            You don’t even seem to understand that Deism is a kind of Theism, and prefer to pretend that they re distinct. My guess is, you’re just following yoru own Religiosu Dogma and “Fundamentalism”. Christian beelifs aren’t as irrational as modern Militant Atheiss liek to proclaim them, and the ides that Rarional people cannot be Relgiiosu or that Relgiion itelf is inhernaly Irrational, especially Christianity, is just another Dogma that is reiterated by peopel who refuse to even consider the possibilit that Christianity can eb Ratioanlly defended.

            No one is askign you judge Christain ideas by a different standard, but in Reality you already are. You’ve decided A Priori that they are wrong, and Irrational, and even stupid, and that no Ratioanl person can accept hem. You dont do this woth other beelifs, expect maybe other Relgiins liek islam.

            The fact is, you don’t evaluate Christain ideas hoenslty, you’ve just declreed them wrong becaue it fis yoru narrative.

          • JM1001

            Here you go, this is for you:


          • MattT

            Thanks for that! I hadn’t seen it and it was worth scrolling down through the vitriol.

          • coreyspowell

            Just to be clear: calling someone else’s views “horrible nonsense” is not civil discourse. This should be a place for constructive conversation.

            Also in the cause of clarity: I did not say that the Sagan quote is a defense of theism.

          • Physics Police

            And yet the quote stands in the middle of an argument over whether or not Cosmos 2014 did justice to theism in the first episode.

            In particular, we have Jerry, who agrees that Cosmos missed a chance to build bridges. If science is compatible with theism, he may have a point. But science is NOT compatible with theism!

            Jerry grants evolutionary science, but this doesn’t mean his mind is at peace with both science and theism. He’s managed to evict theism from his belief in the origin of species. If he keeps learning more and more science, there will be less and less room for theism.

            This is why theists fear science, and why Bruno was burnt at the stake.

          • coreyspowell

            Near as we can tell, Bruno was burned primarily for denying the divinity of Jesus and Church doctrine on salvation.

            And Sagan most definitely did believe in building bridges. He had zero room for mystical nonsense–but he very much wanted to make it clear that empiricism was not the enemy of spiritualism.

          • Physics Police

            You’ve sneakily changed the subject. You write of empiricism and spiritualism, when neither of those isms are the isms I’m talking about.

            I said *theism* (the belief) is incompatible with *science* (the process) in the mind of a person.

            Bruno is the right hero for Cosmos not only because he exemplifies this inherent conflict, but also because he was the first person since antiquity to call the stars other suns! No matter how he arrived at it, this is a fantastic idea!

            You attempt to claim Sagan as a fellow religious apologist. He wasn’t. He found in science a similar emotional joy that others derive from their faith. If that’s what you mean by spiritualism, then fine.

            That’s got nothing to do with the inherent conflict between science and theism, much less the heroism of Giordano Bruno.

          • coreyspowell

            Who is claiming Sagan as a religious apologist, and who is saying that I am one? I quoted Sagan on spirituality–his word, not mine–and suggested that the quote had something for both sides to consider. The responses here illustrate the delicacy of the task Sagan was attempting.

            But back to the subject at hand. Bruno was not executed for believing other stars are suns (at least not primarily); his personal cosmic beliefs, innovative as they were, were not integrated into a sophisticated Copernican worldview; he was not the first to suggest that stars are other suns (that was Nicolas of Cusa, a century earlier); and he was not the first to consider an infinite expanse of stars (that was Thomas Digges).

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            And Nicholas of Cusa was made a cardinal of the Church, which should indicate that the concern did not center on cosmology per se, but rather on the religious uses some people made of it.

          • skwills

            How is beleif that a god or gods exist incompatibl with the Proccess of Science?

          • ModernEra

            Sagan would be appalled at the way an entire wing of American politics is denying the findings of the entire scientific community on religious grounds.

          • Buddy199

            That might come as a surprise to the Jesuits who run some of the most distinguished universities in the world, Georgetown for one. Painting with such a broad kindergarten brush is a mark of a lazy mind.

          • Behind_You1

            Let’s not forget that the Jesuits pretty much invented modern seismology.

          • Paul Williams

            Science is not incompatible with the concept of a creator. If you would like to eliminate the possibility entirely using the scientific method, we’re all ears. Please don’t respond by reduction to the absurd either like “well we can’t disprove a bunny rabbit crapped us into existence either”. Conceptually, entertaining a creator of vast intelligence is valid. Claiming any certainty about it’s existence without evidence is absurd.

            The point being asserted by Neil deGrasse Tyson is that the scale and complexity of the universe should make any idea of a creator even more grand to entertain.

            Anyone who resorts to call any and all theists absurd is him or herself a bigot.

          • Physics Police

            I am not Morva Adam. Please give me credit for having not called all theists (people!) absurd. I do not think it, and I would not say it.

            You’re sound like you’re talking about deism, not theism. I hate philosophical hair-splitting, but theism is the belief in a personal god that intervene with the universe.

            As it happens, I do not exclude all deism in the sense that our world might be a simulation or envelope of spacetime intentionally inflated by an intelligent being. These are two natural explanations for our world that include a sort of creator, which I’ll allow to be called soft deism.

            This is not the creator that theists believe in. You cannot compare these scientific ideas to the magical idea of a supernatural creator who exists outside time and created the entire universe.

            My silly ideas of soft deism are not supernatural, and do not suffer from the problem of infinite regress which does, in fact, *entirely* eliminate the possibility of the theist’s creator.

          • skwills

            Theism is not the beelif in an active personal god that intervenes int he Universe. Theism is the beelfi that a god exists. Deism is a kind of Theism. I knwo rhis beause, unliek you, I’ve formally studied Relgiions in University, and am getign a doctorate in Theology as well as Psychology. (Cracks abtu my spellign I expect, I am dyslexic though so…)

            If you cant’ even get that right then of what use isyoru arugment?

            I know that it’s popular to make a distinction ebtween Deism and theism, but I also knwo hy, its because so many Enlighrenemtn Era heroes tot he Ne Atheists were Deists. Modern Militant Ateism wants to depict Theism as itself inherantly wrong and evil, but also wants men liek Thomas Pine to be on thir side, so they fabricated the idea that Deism and thesim are distinct. In reality Deism is a kind of Theism.

            its liek hwo many modern Athiest redefine Ateism as “Lakcof beelfi in a god” rahter han a a beelif so they can make it immune from Critisism.

            That said, an Active, ingerventionist God is not incompatible with Science as far as I can tell. I see no rason why in our Modern Sicnetific Undestnign you can’t also accept the possibilit of a personal and active creator, other han you not wanign it to be so.


          • Physics Police

            Actually, yes, theism *is* the belief in an active, personal god, says the dictionary. https://www.google.com/#q=define:theism

          • skwills

            Siphons work by a difference in Atmosphiric Pressure. Thus Saith the Dictionary.


            I’m sorry but, you’r overreliance on Gogole’s Dictioanry is getting old. Dctionaries seem to be like the Biel to you, the Innerant word of the Universe that can never be mistaken.

            By the way, thnere are more dictionaries out there, and most don’t define Theism as belefi in an active, personal god. THogh you’d think Mirriam Websters did ebcause it says beelfi in a god, especially a personal one, and sicne it says especially a personal one this emans a personal god is intrinsict to the definition, because the word Especially will be ignored.

            Theism means youbeelive a god exists, it does not mean you beleive in a personal god.

            I do’t cafe what google said. Google is wrong.

          • skwills

            Why is Science not compaticble with Theism?

            Just declarign its not is not really impressive. I can say Sxience is incompatible with Atheism, and it’d mean nothing. Just liek you’re claim emans nothing.

            Too many Scientists, including promenant ones liek Francis Collins, are Theists for me to accept the notion that Science is incompatibel with Theism.

          • EnochWallace

            Let me guess – you probably believe disagreeing with someone’s views is “bullying” them.

          • skwills

            You also calld God a Skydaddy, a ridiculous insult invented by Richard Dawkins that’s used to make beleif in God seem silly but that in the end is innaccurate. Christians do not beeliv ein a magical sky daddy.

            The truth is, calling Christianity, or any other beelfi other than absolute Atheism, absurd is just baed on a Relgiiosu Dogma itself, an frankly the idea that only an Atheist can eb Rational and all “ReligioN’ is aburd nonsense because its Religion has become this unwuesitoend dogmatism itself, a Dogma that’s justa s blindign to its adherants and just as wrong.

            Peopel can disagree while stllrespectign others views, but if you’re goign to proclaim that tohers ae simply wrong becaue they are wrong, and then mock them baed on innacurate caricatures and misrepresenatiosn of their beleifs, then it’s really not beneficial.

        • Physics Police

          Sagan is referring to spiritual feelings of awe and humility, not belief in the supernatural. At issue is whether a science show should build a bridge from science into the realm of the supernatural. It should not. If you want to adopt science, you must first reject anti-science. There’s no other road to build.

          • skwills

            Two questions then emerge to me.

            1: Is Relgiion relaly just about the Supernatural? I’d say its not. Religion is really just another term for Philosophy, with the modern claim that Philosophy is distinct from Relgion just a concient.

            2: Is beleif int he Supernatural itself Anti-Science? Really, its not. You can beelive in both, and if the Supernatural exists, it also can evntually be discovered and studied.

            I fidn it droll to limit Science to the Mateial world and just as dogmatic to insist that it is, and that Relgion is beleiv in the Supernatural, and that the Supernatural does not exist and that your Anti-Science fo beleivign in it.

          • Physics Police

            These questions amount to nothing more than playing silly games with the definitions of words.

            1. According to the dictionary, this is untrue. If you can name a religion that involves philosophy but not prayer, at least one supernatural god, and an institution of practitioners, then what you’ve named is no religion at all.

            2. Again, no, that’s not what the word means. https://www.google.com/#q=define:supernatural

          • skwills

            Actually, there are more Definitins tot he word Relgiion than the one you foudn on Google, and they don’t all say belefi in the Sueprmnatural or in a go d is required. Relign on a single Dictionadry and demandign a signle definition is theonly one ever is itself rather silly.

            Just because Gogle defines Relgiion as beelfi in and revernece of gods and supernatural pwoers doens’t mean this is the sole, exclusive Truth we al have to obey. Google is not Infallible.

            Why not look up Relgiion in the Encyclopedia Brtannica? It cotnradicts Google. Why is Gogle better than Brtannica?

            For thatmatter, why is Google better than proffessional Anthrolologusts liek Pascal Boyer? Or proffessional Theologians like Stark?

            Gogled is not the end all be all of the terms meaning.

          • Pedro

            1. Religion is not just another term for philosophy. I think you’re confusing with a personal philosophy, which can be seen as a replacement for religion.

            2. It depends on what you call supernatural, but I think there’s no definition under which belief in the supernatural could be called anti-science.

          • skwills

            1: Religion and personal Philosophy are the same thing, and if you can replace Religion with Personal Philosophy you prove its the same thing. If a Personal philosophy serves the same function as Relogion does, then its not different from Religion. I know a lot of peopel want there to be a distinction, but theres not. The divide is puely a culturlaly created construct, and in the end Relgion and Philosophy are the same thing.

            2: We agreed here.

          • Pedro

            Personal philosophy is, but what’s usually called a personal philosophy has little to do with philosophy. I think you’re using a metonymy to refer to very different concepts.

            Philosophy is very different from religion, in purpose, scope, and methods.

          • skwills

            Religion has no “Mehod”, and the scope of Religion is everything, which is the same scope of Philosophy.

            Philosophy is an attemot to understand the world aroudn us, from Moralty, to where we came from, to how we shoudl live, to how peopel work, to the meanign of Life, and is not bound to any single topic or area. Well, the same is True of Religion. Religion is not limited to beleif in a god or to supernatural consiederations. If you look at Judaism, foe example, the Law of Moses deals in Moral and Ethical issues, as wellas National policy, and covers everythign from practical laws about food regulation and quality of clothing, to worhsip of God.

            it’s clearly not limited.

            Look at Christianity. Is Christianity all abotu Theology alone? The Sermon On The Mound refutes this on its own as it gives a list of moral and ethical situations,a nd most odf Jesus’s Teachings revovle aroudn how we treat one another and how we udnerstand one another rather rhan on simoly discussions about God and his Nature.

            So, I’d argue that the scope of Religion is identical tot he scope of Philosophy.

            And both rely ultimatley ion peopel rhinkign about the issues they see before them in the world they live in and tryign to find resolution to questiosn abotu who we are, whee we came from, what our uktimate purpose is, and how best to live.

            In what way then do they differ in scope or in Method?

            As for Purpose, the Ourpiose of Religion is to unerstand the world we liv ein, and hte urpose of Philosophy is to understand the world we liv ein. I again see no disrinction.

            Religion is, again, not all about bleif in gods.

            So in what way do they Truly differ?

          • Pedro

            OK. Forget it.

          • Leo

            Except the “supernatural” is not necessarily “anti-science”. Science can only ever explain what we can perceive with our senses. We can’t say whether the logic of the scientific method applies outside of that perception, so you can’t use rationality to claim what exists or not outside the realm of our perception.

            What is non-science doesn’t have to be anti-science. Science and non-science can go in pair, the problem is both sides are too often extremists in their belief.

          • Physics Police

            You’re right the *idea* of the supernatural is non-science rather than anti-science. However, belief in the supernatural is an *act* of anti-science.

            Which are these two sides so often extremist in their beliefs?

          • Leo

            Those who disregard science because its findings doesn’t match their beliefs, and those who disregard everything that is not science

          • Physics Police

            Extremism sure sounds like a bad thing. I’m not sure what you mean by disregarding everything that’s not science. Disregard means ignore, pay not attention to. I think scientists get into conflict with theists when they pay attention to that theism, and its consequences. I don’t think that’s extreme. I think that it’s reasonable to question *all* beliefs, religious or otherwise.

          • Leo

            Disregard also means “to treat as unworthy of consideration or respect”. What I’m getting at is that many so-called scientists have the belief that only science can bring answers, and that anything outside the scope of science is unworthy of consideration. The belief in a god, in other planes of existences, in an afterlife for instance.

            Science deals with observations acquired from sensory perception, and it seems to me that our logic itself arises from sensory experience, so anything outside such experiences may be outside the scope of science and logic, but that doesn’t mean we can gain no knowledge without applying the scientific method and our classical logic. There might be other planes of existence, science cannot say, but we may find an answer through other means outside of sensory perception and logic.

            Since all we can perceive with our senses boils down to electrical signals in our brain, and since our logic seems to derive from sensory experience, then when you think that these electrical signals could be simulated in the first place, you realize that what we can observe with our senses and deduce from them through the scientific method may be a tiny part of the whole picture.

          • Physics Police

            What’s your point, exactly? That science may never answer every single question? What does that have to do with supernatural beliefs being anti-science? What does it have to do with a missed chance for “building bridges”, as Jerry Asbridge put it?

          • Jim King

            many so-called scientists have the belief that only science can bring answers, and that anything outside the scope of science is unworthy of consideration.

            Quite right.

            The belief in a god, in other planes of existences, in an afterlife for instance.

            If those things exist it only makes sense to believe in them once that existence is proved. There may be secrets of the universe we can never unravel, but it’s foolish to just assume that things like the existence of an afterlife would be among them, or the existence of God, etc. Knowledge of how things work is only gained through science.

          • Leo

            >If those things exist it only makes sense to believe in them once that existence is proved
            >Knowledge of how things work is only gained through science.

            Because you assume that this is the case. You cannot prove using the scientific method that science is the sole or the best way to acquire knowledge. It works pretty well to describe and make predictions about what we perceive, but that’s it. Every logical and scientific reasoning is based on axioms that by definition you cannot prove, and you cannot prove that these axioms are the ones that allow you to gain all or even most knowledge that can be acquired. We use these axioms because they appear self-evident or reasonable to our brains, because our brain processes information in a way as to make them appear self-evident, but an alien brain might conceptualize things in a totally different way to ours. It is narrow-minded to affirm that science and logic are the only way to acquire knowledge. The current paradigm is to believe that this is the case (because indeed that is a belief), but eventually that will change.

          • Jim King

            Obviously, we can trust those scientific axioms because otherwise the technology based on them would not work. Science can’t be narrow minded. First, science is a way of thinking, not a thing in itself, and it’s a process that is open to change as new evidence is acquired.

          • Jim King

            Science explains a lot more than just what we can perceive, as Dr. Tyson points out early on. If we were limited to only what we can perceive we wouldn’t have got very far. The supernatural doesn’t exist, though. It can’t. There’s only the known and the unknown.

          • Leo

            Instruments such as an infrared telescope make you perceive things that you would not perceive otherwise, you perceive the output of these instruments, so indeed science helps explain things that we can perceive (directly or indirectly through these instruments). What else could it explain?

            Regarding the supernatural, if we use the definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: “unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature”, then your very perception of the world is supernatural, because science does not explain how sensory perception can arise from physical processes, from interactions between particles.

          • Jim King

            supernatural – (of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature: a supernatural being.

            From the OED.

            Instruments such as an infrared telescope make you perceive things that you would not perceive otherwise, you perceive the output of these instruments, so indeed science helps explain things that we can perceive (directly or indirectly through these instruments). What else could it explain?

            Quite obviously we cannot perceive those things unaided, which was my point.

            science does not explain how sensory perception can arise from physical processes

            Science has done exactly that. We know how vision works. How hearing works. Touch. Taste. This is all known.

          • DJ1706

            The adopting of science doesn’t require going out of your way to denigrate religion. You don’t have to “build a bridge,” but you also don’t have to wield torches. Saying NOTHING about religion seems the better bet when trying to promote science, does it not? Science should be its own light, and stand on its own. It doesn’t need to crush anything else in order to do that. You do not need to be actively anti-religious to be pro-science. Hostility really has no place in science.

          • Physics Police

            Who went out of their way to denigrate religion? Certainly, not the writers of Cosmos 2014.

            Let’s not forget that the Roman Inquisition were the ones literally wielding torches! It happens to be a *supremacist* argument to equate depicting this horrible act with painting religion in a bad light.

            The first episode of Cosmos has EVERYTHING to do with the beginning of our understanding of what, exactly, is the Cosmos! The idea that all the stars in the sky are other suns with other worlds is the most grand way I can think to begin the series.

          • DJ1706

            “Who went out of their way to denigrate religion? Certainly, not the writers of Cosmos 2014.”

            Certainly, they did. And let’s be honest — the hostility they’ve shown to religion in other venues grants them no benefit of the doubt on the subject. Nor does the implication that Bruno was tortured with devices which didn’t even exist at the time.

            Bruno was not a good example of the point they were ostensibly trying to make. I suspect they chose him because they got to close off the story with a burning at the stake, something they would get to do with Galileo, Kepler, or anyone else who was an actual scientist of the same time, espousing theories contrary to the Church, yet who lived long lives and died peacefully in their own beds, un-immolated.

            What does “supremacist argument” even mean? What’s supposedly “supreme,” and where do you take me as arguing for it?

            Not that I even “equated” any such thing. It’s funny how you can read in what you want to see, and entirely ignore that which you don’t.

          • Physics Police

            Yes, you’re right, the images of torture devices was way over the top. But those cutaways meant to bring attention to the (historically factual) barbarity of the inquisition at the time. I didn’t see it as a statement on religions per se. Yes, you can read in what you want to see. But don’t mistake that subjective opinion for objective fact.

            Which claim or image from the show was denigrating to religion per se? Who has shown hostility to religion in other venues? It’s not clear who you mean. Seth? Neil? Ann? Atheists? Fox?

            We can agree to disagree as to why they chose Bruno, and that whether or not it was a good choice.

            Your argument is supremacist because it subtly relies on the belief that one particular culture (the Christian faith) is superior to all others.

            Consider these hypothetical examples:

            A racist claims denigrates whites to show pictures of lynched blacks.
            An anti-Semite claim it denigrates her to show pictures of the holocaust.
            A male chauvinist claims it denigrates him to talk about rape prevention.
            A heterosexual claims it denigrates traditional marriage to allow gay marriage.

            It is similarly supremacist for a theist to claim it denigrates religion to show pictures of a man burnt at the stake by the Roman Inquisition.

          • DJ1706

            My “argument” relies on nothing about religion, period. I didn’t even mention Christianity, let alone say it was superior. My argument is entirely about the content of Cosmos.

            Indeed, you ARE reading into things exactly what you want to see.

            And the “reasoning” you present — “a racist claims,” etc., is preposterously silly.

            I’m not gay, yet I speak up for marriage equality. By your sad attempt at “reasoning,” I would have to be gay to do so.

            You can keep shluffing it off all you want, but it isn’t just the depiction of burning at the stake; it’s the context of the entire thing. Context is everything. Do you deny this?

            And elsewhere (maybe even here; I haven’t read all the comments), there are other atheists who have no problem seeing the religion-bashing and *applaud* it openly.

        • Bill Braski

          I completely agree with the civility part, this isn’t world net daily.

    • Jay

      If they were interested in winning over the Religious Right, they wouldn’t have let the President they think is a Muslim introduce the show.

      • icowrich

        Nixon’s famous phone call to the Apollo 11 astronauts got much more play than this. It’s not unusual for the sitting president to play some small role in such things.

        • Jay

          Of course it’s not unusual. That won’t stop religious conservatives, especially those who question the president’s religion and place of birth, from criticizing the show.

          • icowrich

            The nation is far more embedded in the partisanship of Washington than it once was.

      • Buddy199

        Give it rest.

        • Jay

          When they give it a rest, then I will.

          • Doug Maupin

            Are you 12? What a childish response.

          • Jay

            I disagree.

            “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” – Nelson Mandela

    • Jim King

      By believing in evolution your god is reduced to an incompetent bungler. If He existed he wouldn’t need to go through that whole, inefficient song and dance, He would have created us how he wanted in the first place. Face it, religion and science are incompatible.

  • Buddy199

    I hope the rest of the episodes are better. The first was pretty good for kids or if you or have a very limited education in science. But I thought it was kind of thin gruel compared to many of the things I’ve seen on PBS, or the original Cosmos as I remember it. They could have gone easier on the cartoonish “religion BAD, science GOOD” stuff also. But at least Seth didn’t tell the story with the Family Guy characters.

    • coreyspowell

      I really recommend going back an (re)watching the original Sagan version. The first episode uses a lot of the same dialogue and examples, but the tone is drastically different–more urgent, more personal, more optimistic.

      • Buddy199

        I will. I haven’t seen it since then and I’m sure my current impression of the original will be a lot different from my nostalgic memory of it.

  • mudfud27

    Great post, Mr. Powell! Agreed that Bruno, though well-known, was not necessarily the best lens through which to tell the story they wanted to tell– and that the Digges story would have been better. Hopefully they do better with Pythagoras and some of the other Sagan stories. But there was much to approve of in the new series opener, and I for one look forward to watching with my son.

    • coreyspowell

      Thank you. I agree, and admire much of what the new Cosmos team is attempting to do. But this was one area where I felt like they missed an important opportunity, and where I could add something meaningful to their story.

      • Physics Police

        It was plenty meaningful to an atheist like me.

        • skwills

          Of coruse it was. So is the story of how th Enlgthenment ended the Age of Faith and bruth usinto Reason, which also liberated men with freedom and brouth us unparralleleled Progress. The wuestion si not wha is meangineful to you, ut hat is True. The fact htat you ignore Historical Reality anduse Episodes fromt h past as nohign mroe than mraliry plays to advoate yoru own Religion-thats-not-a-Religion is theonly Reason these thigns are menaignful, a hey personify and embody the ideals and narratives you prefer to think in.

          • Physics Police

            I haven’t ignored any historical realities! I’ve learned a lot, and am grateful to Corey for his blog post, and some others (yourself firmly excluded, I’m sorry to say) in the comments.

            Quite the contrary, I’m very open to hearing other people’s ideas and narratives. I’ve tried very hard to read and understand yours, and am thoroughly disappointed. You keep attacking me and building straw men out of my arguments. You tell me that my idea of religion is wrong. Fine, what is religion, to you, then?

          • skwills

            Tell ing me thay I am firmly excluded is rather CHildish. It reinformces my overall point that you’re bein rude and unfair.

            I doubt you’velearedn much formt he psoershere so much asyou nolw want ot garner some kind of High Road for yourself in contrast to me sicne yoru tlakign to me.

            I really hate it when peoeol use this kind of language as its always a ploy.

            Religion is nothign moe than the belifs one holds to that explains the Reality they see. Man didnt stat with no Relgiion then invent Relgiion, the very moment Huamnity, or even a Pre-Human Ancestor, attained conscious awareness and tried to make sense of their world “Relgiion” was created. Religion is notign more than our explanations of how things got here, and the suppsoed distinction ebtwen Reglin and Sicnece, how they arrove at answers, dosn’t even exist sicne there is no Relgious Method all Relgiiosn use to come up with Answrs.

            To me, Evolution and Big Bang are as much Creation Narratives, Myths in the academic sense ( Not stories that arento True so much as explanative stories that explain who we are or where we came from or soem other higher Truth) as is Yougn Earth Crwationism. WHile I am not reducing them to the same level as youmay think, from a ourely Psychological standpoint, they are about the same tings and serve the same opurpose. They tell us where our world came from and how we got here.

            Religion is nohign ore than the framework we use to undertand ourselves and how to live. In a sence, I agree withthe works of Pascal Boyer who was an infleucne on my own Research, he was an Anthroologist who said Relgiion did not exist, only CUlture. To me, Relgiion both doesnt exist and does. There is no oen signle thign called Relgiion, its jst a bklnket term like “Govenrment”, that has no meanign in itself. In the end, it bpils down to what you beleive abotu hwo thigns work.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Certainly they could have pointed out that the Aristotelian universe was not small and cozy and the Earth was supposed as being in the bottom of the world as a place insignificance, not in the “center” as a place of honor. Further, the show could have explained that the Greeks, the Arabs, and the Medievals were not stoopid: there was sound empirical evidence for the geostationary model and against geomobility.
        Galileo never did find evidence proving the Copernican model, although he did find one bit of evidence that the Ptolemaic model was wrong: the phases of Venus cannot be accounted for in Ptolemy, but are explicable in the the Copernican and the Tychonic and Ursine models. These phases were noted at about the same time by Lembo, Galileo, Harriot, and Marius. (Lembo was teaching the phases at Lisbon before Galileo announced his discovery.) Astronomers dropped Ptolemy like a rock and flocked instead around the Tychonic and Ursine models — because there was still no evidence that the Earth moved.

        Complication: the actual Copernican model was wrong.

        • Physics Police

          And yet it moves.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Witelo showed that motion was relative to the observer, so there is a slight complication. The point is that you can’t just proclaim it as a matter of faith. In science you have to demonstrate the claim with evidence — as Cosmos claimed. Up until the mid 1800s all the empirical evidence was against the dual motions of the earth.

            See here for discussion:


          • Physics Police

            Anyone could have applied the ellipse to the motion of the celestial bodies at any time.

            The evidence was there, waiting to be seen.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Actually, no. The evidence was actually not there “waiting to be seen.”

            The Alphonsine Tables had been corrupted over the centuries by copyist errors. That’s why the Copernicans’ Prussian Tables failed to make better predictions. They were simply new calculations on the old data. No way would anyone discover ellipses in that mish-mosh. It is doubtful that even the pristine data would have been precise enough to winkle out an ellipse, given the sorts of instruments then in use.

            Pristine, precise data, made with calibrated instruments, was needed; and that is where Tycho and his Uraniborg observatory came in. He spent years designing and calibrating instruments and then using them to make meticulous observations. He achieved precisions on the order of the diameter of a quarter seen from down the length of a football field.

            Based on the observed diameters of the stars, they could not be too far away — otherwise, they would be so enormous as to dwarf our entire solar system, and the Sun would have been the only pea in a universe of watermelons. Hence, the stars could not be much more that 100x the distance to Saturn.

            Given that — and the precision of Tycho’s data — stellar parallax should have been clearly visible if the Earth circled the sun. There was no visible parallax. Hence, the Earth did not circle the Sun, but was stationary. So Tycho devised a modified Heracleidan model as the best model consistent with the available data.

            Because Copernicus’ solution to the Martian orbit was so badly screwed up, Tycho hired Kepler to work on it. But because he suspected the Imperial Mathematician, Reymers Baer (“Ursus”), of plagiarizing his data, Tycho would not allow Kepler to make copies of the data. He had to use them on-site. After Kepler succeeded Tycho (who had succeeded Baer) as Imperial Mathematician, he negotiated better access to the data. He tried Mars in the Ptolemaic model, the Copernican model, and the Tychonic model, but was dissatisfied with each.

            He gave up on uniform motion, and assumed that the planets sped up and slowed down (for some reason). Lo! This reduced the error to a few arc minutes.

            Well if the physicists were wrong about uniform motion, maybe they were also wrong about circular motion. He tried ovals, but wrote to David Fabricius that he did not know the geometrical method of generating an oval path. If only the orbit were a pure ellipse…

            So, what the heck. He tried it and it worked. It took him another 23 years to work out the Rodulphine Tables — and at one point he had to flee Linz on the approach of a peasant army intent of sacking the place. Thirty Years War stuff. The tables came out in 1627. They predicted a transit of Mercury in Nov. 1631.

            Gassendi spotted Mercury, but wasn’t sure. (It was smaller than he had thought it would be) So he didn’t announce this vindication of the Rudolphine Tables for a few years.

            Galileo remained wedded to Platonic mysticism and insisted on the pure Platonic circles, even after Prince Cesi pointed out the elliptical solution. In his infamous “Dialogues” Galileo did not so much as mention the Keplerian model.

            In 1665, Riccioli applied ellipses to the Tychonic model; but by then the simplicity of the Rudolphine Tables had won the field, and the 1660s marks the acceptance of Kepler’s model over the Tychonic and Ursine models as at least the most useful math. (The two main physical falsifications were not dealt with for another hundred years.

            So basically Latin Christian mathematicians discovered ellipses about as soon as they could have possibly been discovered.

          • skwills

            You do know that Gallileo ddn’t actually saythis, Right?

          • Physics Police

            And yet it moves!

          • skwills

            So, basiclaly you nee o promote a Histortical Lie to advance yoruown Religous Dogma.

  • Mikel

    Quite possibly this blogger is right. I think Bruno is a great character to talk about, but I’d be careful not to put him on too high of a pedestal. I think the story of Bruno as told in Cosmos is best interpreted as a cautionary tale about what happens in a society when there is no separation of church and state and when religious authorities have absolute power. He came across some truth about the universe more or less by luck but could offer no evidence, and that is not how scientific discovery works. A scientist doesn’t just have a dream and then declare that their dream is The Truth. But even if he had been 100% wrong, what these churches (Roman Catholic clearly, but also Calvinist and Lutheran) did to him was worse than wrong.

    It also reminds one of the current state of blasphemy laws in some Muslim countries. Different religion, but exact same problem.

    • Topheh

      Well, sure, religious freedom is important, but this show is not about religious freedom, but about science, and the show pushed the same tired ‘Religion and Science DEATHMATCH!’ rhetoric that only burns bridges, and, as pointed out in the article, isn’t even TRUE.

      • Physics Police

        Better burnt bridges than burnt people.

        • Sneaky_Bitch

          best response ever LOL

      • Morva Ádám

        Religion played a very serious role in keeping rational, scientific, humanistic thinking back. If history is to teach us anything, we should understand that dogmatic thinking, groupthink, conformism, submission to leaders and other things that make up the backbone of religions are destructive, are in our nature, and we should overcome them with education and understanding.

        That being said, I wasn’t entirely happy about the episode and how they portrayed things. While the portrayal of Bruno and his execution wasn’t entirely realistic, let’s not defend the religious people who

        killed a human being

        for not believing in their dumbass dogmas.

        • coreyspowell

          Huh? Nobody here is saying the Catholic Church had a right to imprison and execute Bruno. My whole point is that Cosmos bought into a common misrepresentation of Bruno, casting him as a lone cosmological pioneer rather than as an oppressed iconoclastic theologian. But the punishment by the Church is evil either way.

          • Physics Police

            Corey, what changes would have satisfied you as a correct interpretation? Maybe at the podium, if he’d been accompanied by some followers? Maybe have him sleeping a supporter’s house instead of alone in the forest?

          • coreyspowell

            The show’s assertion that Bruno was the “one man” whose ideas went beyond those of Copernicus is just not true, and despite some waffling the claim that Bruno’s cosmology was fundamentally physical rather than theological is also not true. The bits about his wealth and support are secondary to the issue of intellectual honesty.

          • Physics Police

            You misunderstood the line from Cosmos. “But for one man, Copernicus didn’t go far enough.” (~17:30 into the episode.) This introduces a character, but does not give Bruno undo credit.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Bruno never lectured at Oxford, another historical inaccuracy of the show. He was denied permission by the faculty. It was this snub that drove him to write The Ash Wednesday Supper.
            The translator’s comments are interesting because he held a PhD in physics.

          • Physics Police

            “Bruno who visited [Oxford] in the summer of 1583 and gave a series of lecturers on Copernicus’s theory that the Earth rotated round the fixed Sun.”


          • Morva Ádám

            My reply was aimed at Topheh, and its second half was a mere reminder and warning.

          • skwills

            Why iwas he Punishment Evil?

            Aren’t you presumign to judge peopel in a different ra by modern standards?

        • skwills

          The Soviet union taught us that Blind obedience to Authority, ridgind Dogmatism, Humanism, Praisign Sicnece and Reason, and a desire for absolute ocnfirmity can be pushed by Atheists as well.

          The Real problem int Relgiion. The real probelm is hose who refuse to look at all the facs and make heir own desicsion.

          Yoru idea that alL Relgiion si Irraitonal and we’d be bettr off without it is just as Blidn, confrommist, and dogmatic as anythgin else.

          • Sneaky_Bitch

            Another uneducated dude about urrs history, leaders in that empire were portrayed as gods aswell, and there was a religion of state, we would be better off without religion and thats for sure, though i wouldnt ban any religion at all, that just gives more power to religion and i wouldnt do that anyday, Id do what sweden did for exaample,Let religion fade slowly.

          • skwills

            The Soviet Union may have been called “The Evil Emoire” by Reagan, but they ere not formally an Empire at all, and the claim you just made about their leaders being portrayed as gods is rather a bit silly. The Soviet Union functioned along the official Doctrine of State Atheism. The official position was that there were no gods a sll, and the State spent a lot of Time and Money on puttign out Anti-Religion and Atheistic Propaganda.

            Please don’t cite the stupid Hitchens excuse. Hitchens claimed the Soviets were Religious but at that point it became apparent that “Religion” is just anythign Hitchens didn’t like. Basiclaly, any Time somethign evil comes up its “Religion”, but once you define it that way it makes all conversation meanignless.

            Why shoudl i see you as not havign sa Religion, and thus as the model of hat we shoudl all be like, and yet see the Soviets as Religious?

            Don’t you get how absurd that is?

      • ModernEra

        Burn bridges? why again?

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      In the 17th century, religious authorities did not have absolute power. In most countries, they had been subordinated to the State; and each State enforced its Established Church because they equated heterodoxy with disloyalty. (And in fact, the use of religion as a surrogate for political issues has a long history.)

    • Jim Oberg

      But look around and ask, who are the dogmatists who are suppressing contrary opinions today? It’s not a church-versus-secularism as presented in this myth, the modern players following the inquisitional/suppressive style inhabit different social structures. Just sayin’….

    • skwills

      Or hwo abou the State Atheism of the Soviet Union? Separation of Curch and STate is not a cure all, sicne the State can decide to be so Militantly Seculaist it activley eprscutes Religion. Given that I see the distinction ebtween Relgiion and Secualism as artificial to begin with, I think the Separation of Church and Ttae, or Relgiiona nd Sicnec eis just a Hindeance to actual Free Thought.

      Really, the problem isnot a Religiosu Orginisaion beign given unlimited Power. In fact, qhen Brino died the Chruch didnt have unlimited absolute Power. The problemis that all societies have beleifs yoru expected to follow that they enforce on us, and just callign them “Secualr” doesnt make much difference. The real question I have is, does Bruno actulaly represent a man persecuted for Science? And he doesnt.

  • Physics Police

    I don’t like the misrepresentation of Bruno.

    Nor do I think there’s any reason to attempt “brokering peace” between science and religion. Religion is anti-science by definition. It’s not compatible or comparable to science.

    Digges may have envisioned an infinite universe, but I thought the important idea, first had by Bruno, was that the stars are other suns!

    • coreyspowell

      When I talk about “brokering peace” I am talking about a historical reality, not a theoretical goal. Digges took an approach that defused theological battles (made easier by being in Anglican England, to be sure) and helped open up widespread scientific conversations about the Copernican system. This was an important and constructive approach. It is more relevant to the story of astronomical progress than is Bruno’s heresies, which were grounded more in philosophy than in the early attempts at constructing a physically realistic model of the universe.

      Bruno’s ideas about the plurality of inhabited worlds were creative and strangely prescient. But as I noted, they were rooted in theology, not science as we now understand it, and even those ideas are present, in more limited form, in the writings of Nicolas of Cusa. Bruno was a disciple of Nicolas’s, so we know that he read those texts.

      There is no question that Bruno was a brilliant man, a devotee to the free discussion of ideas, a mystical visionary, and in some ways a scientific one as well. My objection is that he was not the simple, solitary explorer of the infinite depicted in this episode of Cosmos.

      • Physics Police

        Right. In order to make the story more compelling, they use the hero myth of Joseph Campbell. They show him as a solitary explorer sleeping outside alone. He flies around in his dream like Jesus.

        But didn’t they give credit to Lucretius for his idea of infinite space? Maybe they could have mentioned Digges, that would have been fine. I don’t think an episode about Digges would have been as inspiring or fun.

        I also don’t agree that Cosmos should commit time to the historical reality of peace brokered between religion and science, or be limited to the most relevant characters in the story of astronomical progress.

        I think its poignant to show a little bit of how bad were the times before the enlightenment and the birth of modern science. This show is targeted at people who don’t necessarily know about it.

        • Jim Oberg

          to Phsyics Inquisitor: And in modern times, therefore, in countries that suppressed religion, we saw such a flowering of free thought and unfettered scientific progress that… uh, wait. Attack of cognitive dissonance looming. Uh…
          There, Back on track. I got to see the ultimate in the intellectual liberty of religion-free societies when I recently spent a few weeks in North Korea. No burning at stakes THERE!

          • Sneaky_Bitch

            You have just showed ur utter ignorance to all of us with that north korea statement, in North Korea, leaders are depicted as demigods ,and doers of supernatural magic tricks ,just as Jesus was. That do not seem like a religion free society for me buddy, You would like to take a look at palces like sweden or switzerland where religions are almost entirely dismissed by the general public, and they seem to be doing very well( also in science fields LARGE Hadron Collider anyone?)

          • Physics Police

            The ad hominem in calling me an “inquisitor” is the least damning fallacy you present. It does not follow from the fact that some secular societies were bad that religion is good. Suppressing religious freedom is obviously bad, in and of itself! That’s the theme of the entire segment on Bruno!

            My argument is that “brokering peace” sounds like religious apology. Religious apology is bad, because it attempts to compromise principles that I’d rather not compromise. That’s NOT the same as suppressing religions. Rather, it’s not allowing *science* to be suppressed by religions!

            Turns out Corey wasn’t making religious apology, he was talking about historical fact. I misread that one sentence. Silly me.

        • skwills

          I think the real problem you have here is that you want to depict Relgiion as inherantly Hotiel to Science, ebcaise yoru “Philospphy thats not a Relgiion” says os.

          You defned COsmos less because you think its accurate, and mroe because the interpretation of History and the Historical Mythology about the Dark ges of Christaintiy holdign us back beign cshttered byt he WOnderful Enlightenemtn defines hwo you udnerstand the debate. Its liek whe I tell Americans that King George wasn’t actually a Tyrant and a lot of the thigns in the Declaration Of Indeoendance are polemic and Unfair. Most just don’t accept this because the whoel Idea of King George as a tTyrant and Monarhcy as Evil as oppsoed to a Republic as Freedom is intrinsic in their identieis, so much so ghat they think Monarhcy must be DIctatorhsip and use “King”as an insult.

          The Actual Hisotry is irrelevant. You use the Hisoy to embody the ideas of a conflict between Sicnece and Relgiion. The fa tthat he Enlightenemtn saw loads of popel slaughteed for Thoughtcrimes, and that the Reign of Terror in France was a diect resutl fo it means nothing. To you, its the Dark, Vilet, oppresiv Dark Ages of Relgiion holdung us back, and the ownderful redom Ratioanlity gacve us in the Enlightenemnt. You simpky refuse to see anythign else.

          • Physics Police

            I think the real problem here is your typing. I honestly can’t be sure what you’re trying to say.

            Cosmos did a good job at sparking a conversation. I learned something from Corey about Diggs, which is great. There’s also a wave of religious supremacy, where some people feel victimized at seeing focus drawn to the church’s victims, namely Bruno.

            You’re the one seems to refuse to see anything other than a myopic war between science and religion.

          • skwills

            I;m DYslexic. As for COsmis doign a good job at Sparkign a COnversation, woudl yo have said the same thign if it advocated Rael, the founer fothe Raelian Relgiion (WHich does not ebelive iN Supernatural gods yet is still a Relgiion, Midn you) as a downtrodden outcast who nobly pursued Truth?

            Misrepresentign Histgory by castign Bruno as a sympathetic, Kndly man who just sought Scientific Truth andwho was beaten down by the Church isn’t dign a good job at Sparkign COnversation, it’s simply reinforcign he idea that the CHruch held back Science and Progress and castign those who challenged it in a Heroic Light, which fits the idea that Science and Relgiion are cotnrary forces. That’s also why you like the swgments and appriciate them.

            What I see is the distortion of Historu to promote an Idea, so stop tryign to shift the blame to me.

    • Danthraxus

      “Religion is anti-science by definition.”?! That’s abject nonsense. Allow me to list a few scientists you might have heard of, who were also devout Christians, and whose scientific research and philosophy was driven significantly by their faith in God and their Christian world-view: Copernicus. Galileo. Kepler. Newton. Mendel. Pasteur. Faraday. Maxwell.
      There are many more who would at a minimum find your statement to be nonsense. Planck. Heisenberg. Even Einstein.
      Physics Police? You should read at least one book by Polkinghorne, who studied under P.A.M. Dirac and who authored “A Very Short Introduction to Quantum Physics.” Or perhaps your PhD in Physics is from a better qualified University than his.

      • Physics Police

        I didn’t say “religious people” I said “religion”.

        • Danthraxus

          Yes, you made a claim about religion and science, a claim that you think is TRUE, but a who’s-who of the greatest scientific minds ever thought was FALSE. Now are you understanding the argument?

          • Sneaky_Bitch

            thats cause u people do not think in context, science has been taking distance from religion as it progressed in time. You people do not know to think in context, so i do not think u would ever get it

          • Danthraxus

            “you people”? I’m a degreed Engineer who started out as a Physics Major. My father was a professor of Physics who did his undergraduate work at MIT and his PhD at the University of Washington.

            Since you suppose yourself educated on the “context,” how much have you read (in their own words) about the REASONS that Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, etc. were devout Christians, while being among the greatest Physicists ever? None? Of course not–you wouldn’t want your “context” spoiled by learning a fact or two.

            And how many of John Polkinghorne’s books have you read? None? Wow. I should have so much respect for your insights into “context.”

            I have read all of the above, and because of the deep ignorance of your comment I can tell that you have not. Pat yourself on the back for spouting ignorance in the name of science.

          • Physics Police

            I’m not understanding you, no. Lots of great scientists held lots of false beliefs. So what?

          • Danthraxus

            You call yourself the “Physics Police,” but you do not understand the history of Physics, nor do you have the least clue about the thought processes of most of the Physicists who invented Physics itself. So, being yourself entirely ignorant of their thoughts on these matters, you label those thoughts “false beliefs.” Yet it is those very beliefs that made them great scientists. They believed that there is a rational God who wrote the laws by which the universe runs, and as such those laws, being rational, were discoverable by rational beings. Also, they believed that Time is linear, a belief historically held by Jews and Christians alone in the world–every other culture we’ve ever studied thought of Time as circular. All of Physics is predicated upon an understanding of Time that is linear.

            Also, your statement is ridiculous in another way. How could the entire development of Physics be done exclusively by Christians (or at a minimum Deists) for three centuries of great advancement, if Christianity and Physics were fundamentally incompatible? It’s like positing that every great military leader from Alexander to Pershing universally held beliefs that are known to be incompatible with warfare. That is irrational. Their beliefs and thoughts had to be compatible with warfare, or else they could not have become the greatest military leaders in history.

        • Danthraxus

          e.g. Newton: “Atheism is so senseless & odious to mankind that it never had many professors.”

        • skwills

          You also made ti as if tis a fact wthotu rlaly givign a Reaosn for it. Relgiion is not Anti-Science by definition. It sjust Anti-Sicence to soemone who buys intot he old Conflcit Thesis.

          • Sneaky_Bitch

            Not at all, religion is really anti science by definition, i rest my case

          • skwills

            You know something, I keep hearign how Religion is Anti-Science by definition fom you lot, but I never encounter an actual defiition of Religion that says this. Relgiion is nto Anti-Scince by Defiition, all Religion is is a set of beelifs about he nature of our existence, and is really somehign evn the Anti-Religiosu liek you have. Religion is beelifs, and Religion is not and cannot be in itself Anti-Science.

          • Physics Police
          • skwills

            Heres a link for you. Keep in mind Google uses the Oxford English Dictionaey.


            I’m not sayign the OED is completley worshless but, to assume the singular definition you foudn on Google is the absoluite definition of Relgiion once and for all Tiem and that it is completley infallible is just stupid.

            The Encyclopedia Britannica makes mention of Huamnistic and Naturlaisgic Relgiions in its article on Relgiion, but that;s not a valid soruce, and in my 15 Years of formal study of Relgiion, even (Agnostic sicne that meanshe isnt a Christain apologit) Pascal Boyer noted that he came tot eh conclusion that Religion didn’t exist, only Culture and there was no thign called Relgiion.

            The Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosoohy also says the term Relgiion is difficult to pin down and has no absilute meaning.

            But hey, you foudn the definition on Google so we all have to bow down to it withotu Question, Right?

          • Physics Police

            Religions contain worship of a “supernatural”
            god. Belief in the supernatural is anti-science.

          • Danthraxus

            Really that’s a circular argument, if you trace it to its source. Natural Philosophy, as defined by Newton, was not materialistic. And even in the current, dumbed-down “matter is all there is” redefinition of science, you hear discussions of branching realities and multiverses–things that are by definition inaccessible to physical observation.

            So, on the trivial level (If you re-define science as limited to the physically observable, then non-observable things are incompatible with science) your reasoning is circular. But on the substantive level, even modern science is chock full of things that are physically non-observable, and therefore supernatural in any meaningful sense.

            But your first sentence is exactly right, for any religion worth its salt!

          • skwills

            Your wrogn on both counrts. Beleif int eh Supernatural is not Anti-Science and there’s no Logical reaosn tot hink thatg if soemone beleives in the Sueoprnatural he is Anti-Science, and Relgiion doens’t require the worship of a Supernatural god. Threvada Buddhism doens’t worhsip any gods, and yet is classified as a Relgiion, and many forms of Confusianism don’t worship any god. FOr that matter, Ancien pagans didn’t wrship supernatural gods. Yes thy worshipped gods, but their gods were the Spirits of Natural forces, not distinct from Nature.

            In facrt, even modern Christuanity isn’t restricted to a supernatural god as many Theologians have come up with the beleif in a Natural god.

            I’m sorry you’r so ignroant of the study of Relgiion, and desparately need to create a distinctiin betweenyour “Rationl and Sicneticif” beleifs and Relgiion, but your fundamentlaly flawed approach won’t sustain your claims.

          • Physics Police

            You’re re-defining terms again. The Christian god is, by definition, supernatural. You can read all about him in that book, what do they call it? Bib-ell? Bee-ball? I forget.

            I’m pretty sure the Christian god listens to and sometimes answers people’s prayers. If you take that power away from him, and take other supernatural powers away, too, what’s left?

            What is a natural god? I think it’s just nature. The study of nature is called science, not religion.

          • skwills

            I idnt redefien terms though, evertgin I’ve said has been said before by others. The real problem is, your efuse to see past thelence of yoruown Religion and accept whatever proves yoruposition without lookign at cotnrary information.

            Just usign Google doesnt give you the absolute dfinitive meanings of words.

            Your also wrong. The Christain God is not by definition Supernatural. If this were True, then how do you explain the Christian Theology of Paul Tillich who envisioned God as the Ground Of Beign raher han as a separate Supernaual Entity? Or ChristianPantheists who followed the lead of (Jewish) Spinoza? I’m sorry you arent well vrsed in History or Theology but, plenty of Theologians have postulated God as natural as oppsoed to Supernatural, and the claim tha od must be Supernatural in Christainity is just you trying to force thigns to fit oru mould.

            By the way, the Bible never mentions the term “Supernatural”.

            And please stop beign childish. We all know your “Atheism” is shallow and you relaly just lie mockign Christianity butsayign you forgot the name of “his book’ and calling it things liek the Bi-bell is just childish.

            By the way, the ability to lsiten to and answer prayers is not nessisarily Supernatural either. Do you even knwo what the term Supernatural means?

          • Physics Police

            Actually, the real problem is you’re using esoteric definitions of words. You may be using them correctly in the context of some technical, theological discussion. But as you say, I’m not privy to this discussion. I’ve not studied theology. I studied computer science.

            I don’t know anything about Paul Tillich, but it sounds like he was talking a bunch of nonsense.

            Of course the Bible doesn’t have the word “supernatural” in it. Neither does it have the word “electromagnetic”. These are both concepts that exist today, but not when it was written. This illustrates my point that religion is at best unhelpful in science, and at worst, a hindrance.

            Listening to prayers is a supernatural act of mind reading, and answering them is the supernatural act of using magic. You can play this word-definition game all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that supernatural stuff doesn’t happen and isn’t real. It’s a mistaken way of thinking about the world, that’s all.

          • skwills

            Youre trign to condemn all Relgiion as unhelopful, even a hinderanxe, to Science, and yet you want to claim you aren’t prvy to the discussion on how peoepl sue terms and what they mean? or what peoeplbeleive? I’m sorry but, you’ve just lost the plot. You can’t pove that Relgiion is a hinderane to Science if you don’t even know what Religion is or what actual Religious peopel think.

            Deinign words for them and tellign them what theybeelive then sayign they are wrong is just stupidity.

            I’m not tryign to be mean here but, relaly you just said Paul Tillich spoke a bunch of Nonsense after admittign to not knowign anythign abotu him. This is the equivolent o me usign the popualr Evolution trope to say “I don’t knwo anythign abotu Darwin but it soudns liek he said a bunch of Nonsense”. Does that fly with you? or does itonly work with “Relgiion”?

            Ignorance is acceptable as we are all ignroant on sime things, but to condemn somethign out of ignroance is just irrational.

            By the way, saign that the Bible not mentionign Supernatual or Electromagntic illustrates yoru poitn that Relion is unheloful to Sicnece is alsostupid. I have a Phsics book that faisl to mention Associative conscousness, which is a concept in the Science I use, Psychology, so I can conclude that Physics is not a real Science. Or i can say newton has no relevance today sicne he makes no mention of Reletivity and is unhelpful.

            Yoru comment on how the Bible is unhelpful becaue itdoesnt menionconcepts we have today is absolutely preposterous.

            By the way, Machio Kaku, a Physisit, says we may one day build machins that let us read Minds. If humans can do it usign the laws of nrue, why is it a Supernatural asct for God to?

            That’s the real problem with you, you’ve demarcated lines and refuse to ven consider that your undestandin may be mistaken.

    • skwills

      Actually, Religion is not Anti-Sicnece by definition. The definition of Relgiion is a set of beelifs about he nature of our existence. How on Eath is that Anti-Science?

      The real probekm is, you won’t let go of the Myth that Relgiion and Sidnce ar in conflict, which was created in the 19th Century by Draper and White and hich has since been disproven.

      Also, Diggs thought the Stars may be other suns…

      • Physics Police

        You left out one important word from your definition of religion. Religions contain worship of a “supernatural”
        god. Belief in the supernatural is anti-science. That’s not a myth. It’s what those words actually mean.

        • skwills

          So, what you’re sayign is, Christianity is not a Religion.

          I may come off as Facicious here but, not all Christians accept that God is Supernatural.

          In fact, the Ancient Greeks didn’t think any of their gods were Supernatural, as their gods were the product of Nature and Evovled from it. The gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans wre personifications of Natural forces, and understood as the Spirit behind them, not as Supernatural entities that controlled them. So to you, the Greeks and Romans, whiel not Atheists, were also not Religious. Neither was Paul Tllich or Spinoza.

          I’m, sorry bt, Religion does not require the Worship of a Supernatural god. I know you need it to so that yoru Atheistic Materialism can be seen as Distinc from Religion, butgt the Reality is that this need of yours to create a distinxction between your beleifs and Relgiion is wrong.

          Further, even if we acept hat Relgiion requires the worship of a Supernatural god, which I remkdn you it does not, how does beleif in the Supernatural constitute beign Anti-Science in itself? Because yoju said so?

          You claim the word Supernatural itsef means Anti-Science. Well, no, it doesnt. The term Supernatural means Above Nature, it does not mean Anti-Science.

          I know you likely want to define Science as only the study of the Natural World, but two problems emere when you claim beleif in the Supernatural is by deifnition Anti-Science. One is, even if we accet that Science is only about the Natural World, beleif in the Supernatual that is not connected to the Natural is not rejection of the existence of the Natural World, and as a consequence one can still apoply Science tot he Natural.

          Further, you’re wrogn abotu what Science is. Science is not just the study of the Natural World. It’s the study of he Oberved World. If we cudl observe the Supernatural, then we coudl also apply the Scientific Method to it. Science is not limited tot he Natural World by its very Natue, our practice of Science is limited tot he Natural World as the Natual orld is al we can rpesently see.

          So, you’re enturley wrong. Bweleif in the Supernatural is not Anti-Science, and Relgiion does not require the worship of a Supernatural god.

  • Aklixh

    Excellent post. I wonder why no mention of Lemarc(Jesuit priest)author of Big Bang theory.

    • Ye Olde Statistician


  • icowrich

    If you look at the 8 charges of which Bruno was convicted, there are several which are correct scientific principles, today:

    #2 is the infinite universe which Cosmos mentioned
    #3 “There is no reality that is not accompanied by a spirit and an
    intelligence.” This is a basic phenomenological principle, so, not just science, but I would argue, scientifically valid. In other words, for something to be perceived, there must be a perceiver. It is a basic prerequisite to observation in experimentation.
    #4 is, amazingly, conservation of mass (I was unaware this was a heresy)
    #5 is that the Earth moves!

    One might argue that the other 4 charges aren’t about science (at least in the way we view science), but certainly these, which comprise half of the charges, are, indeed, relevant to scientific progress in his day.

    • Earl Wajenberg

      The tally is not quite so high.

      Re #2: No one knows if the universe is infinite or not. It’s hard to see how we could ever know for sure.

      Re #3: I agree with that sentiment, but then I’m a theist, nor am I taking it the way Bruno meant it. Plenty of hard-core science fans would dismiss it as twaddle.

      • icowrich

        Yes #2 is in dispute, even today. Einstein, for instance, thought the universe finite. But, the arguments of the day which promoted a finite universe do not stand up to Bruno’s theory. I’d argue he was on the right side of the narrower argument.

        #3: Ah, but wasn’t everyone involved this debate at the time a theist? Yes, this often falls under the heading of “philosophy,” these days, but the line was more blurry back then. I think this qualifies. Besides, science still is interested in this issue. Just look at the double slit experiments!

        • skwills

          Te line between Religion and Ohilosophy isnt exaclty xlesr today either…

    • coreyspowell

      To understand the charges, you have to let go of modern meanings and understand the way these charges would have been read at the time. #4, for instance, refers to the transformation of the Communion wine and wafer into the blood and body of Christ. A little different than the modern concept of conservation of mass!

      • icowrich

        But there was not yet a distinction made between the phenomenon and the physics of the material world. True, conservation of mass was thought to have implications in the nature of the Eucharist, but that just meant, from Bruno’s point of view, that such an understanding of the Eucharist had to be torn down in order for this principle to be understood. At the end of the day, he was right.

        Of course, more to the point, he certainly didn’t deserve to die for this dissent.

        • coreyspowell

          If I’m understanding you correctly, it’s actually the other way around. Bruno thought that the Earth had a soul, that the divine was present in all of those other planets and beings, and that conventional Church teachings about salvation and the divinity of Jesus were incorrect. In other words, he thought the miracle of the Eucharist permeated the universe. It was essentially a pandeist theology.

          Viewed that way, it makes more sense that the Church regarded Bruno’s cosmology as heresy, whereas Nicolas of Cuna escaped unscathed.

        • coreyspowell

          If I’m understanding you correctly, it’s actually the other way around. Bruno thought that the Earth had a soul, that the divine was present in all of those other planets and beings, and that conventional Church teachings about salvation and the divinity of Jesus were incorrect. In other words, he thought the miracle of the Eucharist permeated the universe. It was essentially a pandeist theology.

          Viewed that way, it makes more sense that the Church regarded Bruno’s cosmology as heresy, whereas Nicolas of Cuna escaped unscathed.

  • Jerry Asbridge

    Wow! My one short comment certainly opened a lot of speculation about my beliefs. What do I believe? I believe there can be a rapprochement between faith and science. Check out the work of BioLogos and Dr Denis Lamoureux. Of course some skeptics can’t accept this just as some Christians can’t accept evolution, climate change or the big bang theory. I work with several people who are atheists and agnostics–I accept and respect them and they accept and respect me. We have great discussions on both science and faith. It’s too bad the same can’t be said of this thread.

    • Physics Police

      First I want to say, I don’t appreciate the way Morva Adam spoke to you. You deserve personal respect, not sarcasm and purposefully hurtful phrases like “magical skydaddies”. As Phil Plait says, that’s wrong and doesn’t help. I’m sorry he said those things.

      However, I hold no respect for the *ideas* held by Dr. Lamoureux or the *goals* of the Christian advocacy group BioLogos. The only relationships between scripture and science is anthropology.

      You draw a false analogy between skeptics of these ideas/goals, and science deniers. I wouldn’t deny rapprochement, if by that you mean everybody getting along. The problem is, those ideas/goals contain religious apology which is very counter-productive to science. See the Nye/Ham debate for an example.

      Religion has no place in cosmology. That was part of the message of this episode, and Bruno was the right iconoclast for the job.

      • David

        I am Christian, and I believe that science belongs in the textbook and theology belongs in the church. I personally believe that our universe exists due to God (note the intentional non-use of the phrase “created by”) but as it is not a fact that can be proven, it cannot ever be reconciled with scientific discovery and presented as fact. It is a matter of faith, and should always remain that way.

        Any “scientist” who attempts to ascribe the process of evolution or the existence of the physical universe to a supernatural creator is at best a fool and at worst a humbug.

        Does this mean that I believe in a magical man who lives in the sky? Absolutely. Does this mean that I believe mankind came about as the result of random series of cause and effect, mutations, and such? Absolutely.

        How do I reconcile this internally? Not your problem, or the problem of that chipper fellow from before who wants to insult and burn bridges. I don’t ask you to hold respect for those people or their ideas. I do ask you and others who post online in this manner to be respectful and to understand that not everyone sees the world as they do. (To be fair, you’re much nicer that the other guy.)

        • Physics Police

          David, I hear that you feel no dissonance between belief in your personal god and the products of mainstream science. I understand a lot of people feel that way. I hope I have been (am being) personally respectful to you.

          I don’t have respect for that *idea* of a personal god. It seems like a god that makes no difference, or worse, a god of the gaps.

          The god that makes no difference isn’t the god of Giordano Bruno or Dr. Lamoureux. He’s just off-topic.

          The god of the gaps is the opposite of the central message of Cosmos:

          “We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.”

          • skwills

            Well, wat aout me? I think of God as sort of liek he Authori of a Book.. he chose to create an orderly Universe that funcitosn on Fied laws and utilised those Laws as his Primary mechanism for development fo the Universe.

            In other words, the Scince we see is just how God did things, and you won’t find God in the Physical World anh more than the Characters in a Novdel will find direct Physical evidence of the Novelist.

            I think that Reason can defend Gods existance alone by hat e know of the Universe, but still think that God primarily functiosn via the Natueal mechanisms he established, and hsi control is more subtle. In that sence, while I am not a Deist, in that I think God oes occassionally interact with hsi Creation, I still see God mainly leaving the Unvierse up to the dictates of pre-existign Laws.

            This is also, Ironiclaly, the position taken by Meaeval Theologians. I justthinkw e know mroe about those Laws now.

          • Jim King

            That just kind of makes God seem stupid and/or evil.

          • skwills

            Why? because you said so?

            I see nothgin overly cruel in God as I presented him.

          • Jim King

            Why? because you said so?

            No, not because I said so.

            I see nothgin overly cruel in God as I presented him.

            You’re an exceptionally stupid person. (Hey, at least you excel at something, right?!)

          • skwills

            So, instead of actualy telling us why you think what I said depicts God as either stupid or Cruel, you just call me an idiot?

            That is not really an argument, its just you ruttign aroudn un the gutters.

          • Jim King

            No, I called you an idiot because your response of “Why? because you said so?” was so idiotic given that God being stupid and/or evil is the only answer if one accepts the view you laid out.

            But I guess you need it explained so I’ll be brief. The key point: I still see God mainly leaving the Unvierse up to the dictates of pre-existign Laws. Well, if that’s the way it is, then an all-knowing and supposedly perfectly good being purposely designed a universe where cruelty reigns, and where he does not deign to show his face. This will often be defended by the religious by saying that it’s the “best possible” that could be created but given omnipotence and omniscience, this can’t be true.

            ‘Nuff said.

          • skwills

            You’re part of “The Religious”. I knwo contemporary Athism has a deep rooted hated of Religion and see’s itself as the Antethesis of Religion, but its not. Yoru Humanistic and Materlaistic beleifs are as much a Religion as anyoen else.

            Also, please dont put words in my mouth.

            What you said is just how you descide to interpret it. I neither see Cruely reignign supreme in this world of ours, nor do I limit God to the world we see aroudn us. You have to do both to see God as either cruel or stupid. Instead, I understand God quiet differnelty and our world differently. For starters, I don’t think we liveonly in this life. If this is so, then whatever befalls us in this life, no matter what pain or tribulation ofccures, it is not the final blow to us.
            I know that you will mock as Pie int h Sky, becaue yoru own Relgiion demands you denegrate god and those who beleie in him, but given that you itterly failed to even consider this, it relaly betrays how short sighted your critisism is. If there is an afterlife, then even if this life is Cruel, its also rtemproary.

            With that said, I really dn’t thinkt his world is cruel. I’ve seen even Wild Animals show affection and concern.

            This life has problems yes, but it also has joys, and limitign it to “Cruelty reignign supreme’ is just silly.

            I also think God designed the Unvirse for us to have challenges, and for us to grow in a Psychological sense, to learn how to overcome obsticles, or to truly Love, or to know Sacriice. The problems in this world were thus creaed with an explicit purpise that overall does help us.

            But, again, you limit God, and my concerns, to only this life and then procceed to denouncethis life as where Cruelty reigns supreme.

            Well, that’s not how I see it. What i said did not depict God as either stupdi or Evil, but hat you brouth to what i said did.

          • Jim King

            Incorrect. Atheism is not a religion. Partly because it is merely an acknowledgement of the poverty of evidence for the existence of any deity. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. An acknowledgement of that one simple fact. Hatred isn’t a part of it.

            As for putting words in your mouth, I didn’t. The world definitely is very cruel, and while animals do show compassion, if you knew anything about the world you’d know what a brutal struggle it is for most animals. Humans are somewhat isolated from that being at the top of the food chain.

            The idea that the universe is designed the way it is to provide us with “challenges” is absurd. It’s that kind of thinking that makes people think you’re simple. You’re proof that either religious belief leads to a weak mind, or that only the weak minded are religious. I was correct in my initial assessment: You are a colossally stupid person.

          • skwills

            I necr said Athrism was a Religion, but I hear this refrain a lot. However, Moern Athim is a Religion pr4cicely because it is far mroe than the beleif there are no gods. its essentially a Humanist Philosophy.

            By the way, Athism is a beleif there are no gods, not an acknowledgement abotthe pverty of evidence of the existance of any eity. If you beleif there are no gods because youthink a magic fairy told you so you’re syill an Atheist.

            The whole “Povery of evidene” routien is just an illustration of my point. To you, Atheism is linked to Logic, Ratioanlity, Evidence, and Science, which in itself takes Atheism beyind what it actually is.

            Atheism isnt the acknoeedgement of a simpel fact, and the “poverty of evience” is just a repeated dogma by you. The poitn is, you do hate Christianity, and generally Theism, or you’d not sit here arguong abotu hwo stupid and cruel God is or how stupid and cruel Christians are.

            lets face Reality, nohtign I say will matter sicne you’ve ecided in advance ahta is “The truth’ and, lik a good apologist, you’ll just argue form yoru position without even aknoeledging anythign the other person says. Look how you treated my comments about this life and its challenes. You all it absurd and sy this world is by fact Cruel. Don’t you hink its Tiem you admit that to you Atheism idnt a mere axcknoeleeme t that there is a poverty of evidence? Tgo you, any time anyone makes an argument to explain anythign that justifies any aspect of “Reliion’ you feel compelled to counter it. You dotn counter it becaue it si inherantly logiclaly flawed, you copunter it just because you feel the need to undermien Relgion and promote Ahism, which to you is asbout mroe than just one simpel fact.

            I don’t agree with you that the world is obvioduly Cruel, and its not becaue I’m simpel or Isolated. I grew up in Rural ztennessee and know mroe abotu Wldlife than most people as msot come from cities. I still dont’ se it as inherantly Cruel.

            Thatg’s from my own observations.

            But you can’t even discuss them because that requies you to admit the possibility that you are wrong and the way you see the world may be mistaken, or at the very least to admit that your opinion abou ho cruel the world is is itself subjective and not absolute. Instesd, you assert as an absolute fact that the orld is cruel and iI am simple.

            Well, rhat pretty well settls it then doesnt it? Nothgin I say mattrs to you since you’re here to proslytie yoru own Relgiiosu Dogma and don’t care to allo others to really critisie it.

          • Jim King

            I necr said Athrism was a Religion, but I hear this refrain a lot.

            Yes you did. You said: You’re part of “The Religious”. I knwo contemporary Athism has a deep rooted hated of Religion and see’s itself as the Antethesis of Religion, but its not. Yoru Humanistic and Materlaistic beleifs are as much a Religion as anyoen else. It’s right there.

            Athism is a beleif there are no gods, not an acknowledgement abotthe pverty of evidence of the existance of any eity.

            It’s a rejection of belief based on the lack of evidence for any gods.

            Atheism is linked to Logic, Ratioanlity, Evidence, and Science, which in itself takes Atheism beyind what it actually is.

            Wrong again. Atheism is linked to those things, of course, because without them there wouldn’t be a basis for rejecting religious belief.

            lets face Reality, nohtign I say will matter sicne you’ve ecided in advance ahta is “The truth’ and, lik a good apologist, you’ll just argue form yoru position without even aknoeledging anythign the other person says.

            I’ve acknowledged what you’ve said but every single point you make lacks any reason for me to believe it. You can’t give me any evidence to support your beliefs. I can support all my mine. That’s how it works. If you want to convince me, give me a reason.

            Don’t you hink its Tiem you admit that to you Atheism idnt a mere axcknoeleeme t that there is a poverty of evidence?

            That would be a lie.

            I don’t agree with you that the world is obvioduly Cruel

            Then you don’t know anything of the world, but it’s the universe as a whole that is obviously exceedingly cruel. Of course the universe itself isn’t capable of cruelty, but were it actually designed the designer would have to cruel and psychotic.

            I grew up in Rural ztennessee and know mroe abotu Wldlife than most people as msot come from cities.

            Are you sure it wasn’t Appalachia? You’re either lying or you’re delusional. Predators and prey. That’s the natural world. That’s the reality. If it was designed that way, it’s even worse, and makes God look very bad.

            But you can’t even discuss them because that requies you to admit the possibility that you are wrong and the way you see the world may be mistaken, or at the very least to admit that your opinion abou ho cruel the world is is itself subjective and not absolute.

            Before I ever expressed that opinion I had considered every point you’ve raised and many others besides. They don’t hold up. I suspect you know this. There are some people who desperately want to believe, and ignore anything that might make them reconsider their position. That’s a weakness religion promotes. Science teaches us to look at things a different way.

            Well, rhat pretty well settls it then doesnt it? Nothgin I say mattrs to you since you’re here to proslytie yoru own Relgiiosu Dogma and don’t
            care to allo others to really critisie it.

            I suspect you know that’s not true.

          • skwills

            In another post, you said you have met plenty of sumb Religious people, but have never met a Dumb Atheist. Look in a Mirror.

            You think I called Atheism a Relgiion because I called your specific Materlaistic and Humanistic belifs a Relgiion, because you are uttelry incapable of reading anythign outside of what your Religion tells you.

            Let me explain it in this way. Religion is simply another word for Philosophy. As much as people today like you would rpefer to think there is an absolute clear definitional distinction between the Two, there isn’t. Religion is nothing more than a set of beleifs that determines how we understand the world we live in, and covers topics from Mroal and Ethical behaviour, to the Nature of our Existance, to where we came from, and what our ultimae fate will be, to what the meanign of it all is. When I call yoru beleifs a Relgiion, I dont’ mean the belief there ar no gods, I mean the totality of the Humanistic beleifs you hold to.

            I know you’re too stupid to get that, but that’s what I’m refferign to.

            By the way, Atheism is not “Rejection fo belefi in dietiyes due to lack of Evidence”, its simply the belief that thee are no gods. Again, you can beelive there are no gods for uttelry silly reasons and still be an Atheist. You can become an Atheist because you think a Demon from Hell told you there were no gods, and you’d stll be an Atheist. You can be an Atheist because you think if God existed the Sky would be Redbecause you oreffer Red to Blue and you’d still be an Atheist.

            Atheism is not about Evidence, it’s a conclusion, ot a Reason for the Conclusion. I know you’ll misrepresent what I just sid but, frnakly, I do’t care.

            By th way, your also stupid if you think that without Logic, Science, and Rason there would be no basis for rejectign Relgiosu belief. You reject “Relgoious beleif” for utterly Irrational Reasons yoruself.

            But he way, you didnt even Reject Relgiosu beleifs sicne yoru still Rligious. Your just too incompetant to realise this.

            Also, can the “no evidence’ routine. There is evidence for God’s existance and even the “Four arugments for God’s existance that have been disproven”, like the Ontological or Teleological Arugments actually rest on Evidence. The refian that there is absolutely no Evidence is just stupidity. I know tis a dogma to you that Faith is belief withotu Evidnee, Relgiion is another word for Tehsim, and people ar eonly Relgioosu because they ar stupid or gullible, but just asseing there is no evidence Doesn’t make it so.

            Hell, you evn use th “You didnt give me evidence to accpt yoru ebelifs” eot here. At this poitn its proven t be nothgin but a mantra. You arent even talking to me, yoru usign me as a proxy for a Christian sterotype you’re aruging with.

            I’m not actually tryign to prove Christianity is true here, I’m refutign yoru claims. And I have rpesented evidence for sayign yoru beleiofs are wrong. You just twist it becaue you have to fit everytgin inro yoyr own Religiosu Dogma.

            In short, yoru whoel Atist act is a Lie. You dont think for yoruself, dont use Logic, arent Rational, and dont care about science. It’s all a ruse. You just want to down Christianity. In fact, you just want to arue with a caricature of Christainity to validate yoru sense of self worth.

            Bythe way, I also dont think rpedator and rey is cruelty. Ut again, you wont drop the idea that the world is crel or even consider that this may be subjective opinion, becsue you need it to be “scinetific fact” that the world is cruel, and its relaly just proof of yoru dogmatism.

          • Jim King

            In another post, you said you have met plenty of sumb Religious people, but have never met a Dumb Atheist.

            No, I didn’t. You must be thinking of someone else.

            Religion is simply another word for Philosophy.

            No, religion and philosophy are separate and distinct. Some theologians have been philosophers and have used philosophy in an attempt to explain (or “prove”) their beliefs, but no, they’re different things with different aims.

            your also stupid if you think that without Logic, Science, and Rason there would be no basis for rejectign Relgiosu belief. Y

            No, I’m not, and I’ve explained why. Your idiocy is the reason you haven’t been able to understand anything I’ve said. You know how colossally, superhumanly stupid you are. You’ve probably had numerous, uncountable people tell you over the course of your life what an imbecile you are. Your lack of success in school. Your inability to understand anything that’s ever been said to you. Your no doubt dead-end, bottom-of-the-barrel job. All of it. Your stupidity is of almost godlike proportions, which is funny since you’re a moronic theist. Even I lack the ability to truly put into words how truly, spectacularly, abysmally stupid you really are.

            You just want to down Christianity.

            Nope. That wouldn’t make any sense at all.

            Bythe way, I also dont think rpedator and rey is cruelty.

            That’s down to your gross stupidity.

            you wont drop the idea that the world is crel or even consider that this may be subjective opinion

            Probably because it’s not subjective.

            you need it to be “scinetific fact” that the world is cruel, and its relaly just proof of yoru dogmatism.

            Wrong again. Your low IQ at work again.

            You’ve probably blamed your dyslexia for a lot of your problems, but there have been intelligent people who suffered it. Your problem is that you’re so feeble minded.

          • skwills

            I don’t bame Duslexia for my Low IQ, I blame yiufor it. That may not make sene, but when you consider that I’ve actually tested Highly on standard IQ tests, what i said begins o become clear.

            I don’t have a low IQ, you just need to see me as havign a low IQ as that, along wht calling me stuoid, invalidates me and acts as a sheifl so you don;t have to address what I’ve said. In fact, you even imaine a life I’ve lived in which poepl call me an ibocile, complere with how I did poorly in School. That’d be odd given my 4.0 avergae in my Doctoral programme in PSychology.

            Look mate, calling me stupid and hen imaginign a life for me is just mroe evidence that you aen’t even talking to me but a creation in yoru head you project onto me. How is that remotely Rational?

            it also reveals why you;d want to down Christainity thoughm for the same reason you want to down me. You want to feel superior to the Cristains, and so by acceptign he neo-Atheist aruments and rpesentation fo what they say Christians are, you have a venue for it.

            It’s not liek you’ve bothered to study Christainity, all yu do is parrot the usual drivel we’ve seen a Million Times before.

            Nothign yu say is new or Intelligent, Even yoru “ZThe world is crel and this is obective fact; dgma isnt relaly remotely clever. Its just soemhign you need to be true as a prop to your greate rpurpose.

            Thats’ the Reality abotu you.

          • Jim King

            The basis of my assumption of your low IQ is your comments. Your inability to understand what I’ve said to you (and not just me, you have this problem with others) and your inability to articulate your own position.

            Further proof, by the way, is your claim of a 4.0 GPA in a doctoral program. Your writing should stand by itself. Is anyone going to be impressed, or have their opinion of you altered, by an impossible-to-verify claim like that?

          • skwills

            Actually yoru he one who distorted my points, andno, I dont have trouble understandign you, you have trouble understandign me. Just because I dotn capitulate to yoru ridiculus claims doesnt mean I dont understand them.

          • Jim King

            Your responses to what I said were the basis for that claim, not the fact I haven’t persuaded you (which is something I never expected to happen).

          • skwills

            I didnt say that yoru filue to prusaide me. However, you seem to miss my pount. You say that my gettign a doctorate is imppssibel to verify. Well, isnt it also impossibel to verift that I did poorly in school and work a dead end Job? For that matter, where did you actually learn abotu me doign poorly in shookl or workign a Dead End Job? Do you know me personally?

            The reason I todl you I had a 4.0 and am gettign a Doctorate was not to impres you. Its actually True that I am, but irrelelvant. Even fi I made it up, the poitn remaisn that you have no actual basi for yoru claims abotu my life and how many peopel clealry call me an Imbocile. Yoru claism abotu my poor school perfoman and Dead End job were completely fabricated.

            Doesnt that undermine the claim you make abotu yorself as an Atheist?

            ow can you be said to be motivated ourley by Ratioanlity and Logic and only soeak where evidence is given when you make sweeping claims liek this?

            I’m sorr but, yor “Athdm’ is motivatedby Emotion, and is derived by Imagination, not by Rationality.

        • skwills

          I am a Christain and I dont beelive in a Magical man int he sky, and iI dotn think Faith and Sicnece need to be kept separate. I do think e need to be careful in science to rpesent only what is absoluely known, but I find no real reason why Theology and Philosophy cannot incprporate the discoveries of Science.

          • Jim King

            What’s a Christain? Sicnece? You’re a babbling idiot.

          • skwills

            I’m actually dyslexic.

          • Jim King

            Does that prevent you from using spell check? Most of those errors could have been corrected that way.

          • skwills

            Spell check works by a drop list that contains wods the compuer thinks you may mean. To you its a simpel matter of pickign the correct word, to me they all look alike unless I spend a good deal of Time concentratign on them.

            So, Spell Chekc is at best compersome, and ven then I hve no gurenteeof pickign the corect word out of similar words.

        • Scott

          Despite your clever language (“created by” vs “exists due to”), why is this a fact that can’t be proven? In what way does the creation/existence of a universe escape the ability of logical evidence?

          • David

            Scott– There is a realm of theological thought that God created the universe and all of it’s rules; and then left it to run its own course. I have seen this described as “deism” but I am not fully versed in their beliefs, so I’m not sure if that’s absolutely what I believe.

            I am a software developer, and I think my beliefs can best be summed up as saying that I see God as one who created a vast simulation of physics, and allowed that simulation to run its course with minimal interaction. He is still a “creator” in that sense of belief, but not in the sense that he created the universe solely for mankind through the process described in Genesis.

            I’ve told this to others and they said what I believe is intelligent design; but I reject that also as people who believe in intelligent design still believe that God did it all for us. He did not.

            So what about the bible, and Jesus, and the prophets, etc? I think the books of the Old Testament were written in a time of great chaos and barbarism; and were associated with God to give them authority, when their real purpose was to be used as a series of laws, written by man. If you notice, most of the dogma and so-called “hatred” you see from the church now originates from the laws of the Old Testament.

            The New Testament was written after a time of religious rule, by people who believed that the laws of the Old Testament had been subjugated in order to set up a religious caste of rulers, and they were slowly rejecting that idea. Again, what better way to get people to agree with you than the base your books on a great leader, a King, who was prophesied from the very laws that they current followed?

            I am not a bible scholar, so please take my thoughts with a grain of sand, and investigate on your own. This is just how I see the text after reading it.

          • skwills

            Actually, nothgin in Genesis says God creared the Universe, or even the Earth, for Man. Indeed, while this may be a popular beleif, its not in the text andnot really a component central to Christian or Jewish thought.

          • Jim King

            Actually, it does say that. More than once. I guess, like most Christians, you haven’t read it. I bet your faith would not survive if you did.

          • skwills

            Quote it saying that God mae the whole world for Man, mroe han once.

            or even just once.

            I dare you.

          • Jim King

            It’s right there in Genesis. Are you sure you’re really a Christian? You don’t seem familiar with the Bible at all.

          • skwills

            Quoge it and prove how Ignorant I am. Show me the quote from Gnesis that says the Universe was made for Man. Or even just this world.

            Wuldn’t you liek to prive how wrogn I am and how stupid and uninformed? Well, here’s your chance.

          • Jim King

            Quoge it and prove how Ignorant I am.

            Okay. Genesis 1:26 and 1:28. I’ve already shown how ignorant you are, though. I’m surprised you’re not tired of it.

            Show me the quote from Gnesis that says the Universe was made for Man. Or even just this world.

            It’s this world, but of course in those days there wasn’t any distinction between the world and universe.

            Wuldn’t you liek to prive how wrogn I am and how stupid and uninformed?

            I would!

            Well, here’s your chance.

            And I took it!

          • skwills

            You know whats interesting, if that’s the right word, about you? How you desicde what is and is not the Truth based on yoru own Relgiious DOgma, and then refuse to see anytign btu that, and tghen how you think those who don’t accept what you say are idiots.

            Well, hre I m provign I’m an idio to you again by pointign out that your wrong.

            You didn’t quote Genesis 1:26 or 1:18, youjust referenced them. I will quote them. Before I do though, I’d like to note that neither of thsoe verses actually say the World was Created for Man.

            Read what I’ve said, and this Time, dnt;’ just say “Yoru worng, ti does mean he mae the world for Man” and act liek thats that. It never ocne actually says this.

            26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

            Tes it says Man has DOminion over the Earth. However, Dominion simply means Man Governs, or Rules. To assume this means Man is the Reason for the Earth beign Created from this is however unjustified. I knwo you want to make that assumption and won’t be able to swallow your pride and admit you were wrogn and will call me an idiot or say I’m twistign thigns but, the term “DOminion” does nto mean “You are the prupose for this thing”. This is liek sayign a Kigndom exists for the King, or that Staes in AMerica exist for Governors.

            Man beign given Dominion over the Earth is not evidcence that God’s sole purpose in Creatignt he world was Man, it only means God left Man in CHarge of the Earth,. The two are distinct.

          • Ben Had

            “Actually, it does say that. More than once. I guess, like most Christians, you haven’t read it. I bet your faith would not survive if you did.”

            Upvoted your comment… but I do think it is ironic that your name “Jim King” is almost dead on “King James” :)

            Jim isn’t short for James is it… :)

        • Regan Ashby

          Um. You can’t reconcile your religious beliefs with your scientific beliefs? No offense, but that means you haven’t made up your mind. Is the world 6000 years old or 13.8 billion years old?

          Your problem is that you have been indoctrinated and you can’t realize that Christianity is just man-made mythology. You actually are trying to fuse a fairy-tale and reality.

          I don’t mean to be offensive, but you’re playing both sides of the fence because you are a coward who is afraid of ‘hell’. You have been indoctrinated with the fear of God and it’s tough for you to see through the veils of bullshit that have been fed to you since you were born.

          If Jesus was born in Palestine (Bethlehem), why does he look like a white, Northern European?

          Because its a European, man-made, human-controlling, load of nonsense.

          • Jim King

            It’s not European in origin. The white Jesus is just the most known to us because of Western art but the Byzantines depicted him differently, as did the Coptic Christians. For the record I’m an atheist.

          • Alex Adao

            The bible really doesn’t say 6000 years by the way. Maybe you’ve been too indoctrinated by pseudo atheist bible haters. lol You are generally right about it as a control method.

        • DrDRobbins

          And then God said “Let there be light” and the entire universe was born.

        • Aldo Elmnight

          “Any “scientist” who attempts to ascribe the process of evolution or the existence of the physical universe to a supernatural creator is at best a fool and at worst a humbug.”
          So a scientist who ascribes to the Big Bang theory is a fool?

          • simon tusting

            Actually the Big Bang Theory does not posit a cause for the big bang, just states, with the available evidence that the universe as we know it came into existance 14 billion years ago through an explosion at a point of singularity from which the universe seems to be expanding.

            No supernatural being, just statements based on current available evidence

        • Brandon Roberts

          i believe sciene and religon could work better to gether

          • Jim King

            Science does not need religion. Mankind doesn’t need religion. It does not answer any questions, it only asks us to believe without proof which is contrary to modern thought.

          • Brandon Roberts

            o.k 1. that’s not exactly true look at the allignment of the planets and the sizes everything is in the perfect place and the ideal size you expect me to believe that’s an accident i just can’t if that offends you than you need to learn to settle down and every peice of biblical prophecy is coming true and even nasa is saying something the bible said would happen on the end of days 4 blood moons with a solar eclipse in the midddle. 2. stephen hawking asks you to not believe in something without any real proof so it’s o.k for him cause he’s a genius. look i don’t care what you believe so thank you for your kind words:) and have a happy life wish all your dreams come true.

          • Jim King

            1. What are you talking about? The alignment of the planets? The only one that’s “perfect” is Earth because it’s the right distance out for life to be possible, but given the billions of galaxies and billions of stars in each that’s bound to happen occasionally. 2. Not exactly. The difference is that when a better explanation comes along we discard the old one. Religion doesn’t allow that.

          • Brandon Roberts

            yeah that’s what i meant but still earth is the perfect size to have an atmosphere 2. thanks for clearing that up for me but we all put faith in something science religon etc. and stephen hawkings probaly an atheist because he’s angry and bitter (it’s pretty clear) but i don’t know so it’s not fair for me too judge

          • Jim King

            Hawking doesn’t seem angry and bitter, though if he was a more likely culprit would be his condition and not his atheism.

            Science and faith do not go together. Part of the whole appeal of it is that you know why you believe it – experiments prove the answers are real.

          • Brandon Roberts

            o.k that was my point that hawkings if he is angry it’s cause of his condition but look if a man is smart and can cure a disease than why should not he be allowed to work in a lab but firing scientists for being basically agnostic is wrong i’m sure you believe that too but supercolliders leaving debris does not prove anything and their are failed evoloution experiments and it’s still a theory not a fact but i know i believe what i do and you yours so bye and have a great day sir

          • Jim King

            What you said was:

            and stephen hawkings probaly an atheist because he’s angry and bitter (it’s pretty clear)

            The rest of what you said is just a rambling, run-on mess.

          • Brandon Roberts

            i’m sorry that’s not what i meant i’ll try to do better look just do one thing look up some names of christian converts brittni runz danny wallace i believe was his name. i’m not trying to ‘save’ you just want you to see these peoples stories and there’s a lot of others you can. (you don’t have too i just think it could be an interesting thing for you too see)

          • http://www.jhalicea.com/ The Great Jon Gatsby

            It’s funny how religious people are confronted with reality and they need science to proof their religion. The problem is that science don’t need religion. In fact religion is the lack of knowledge of the ancient people. They used god for the hardest scientific answers. But in today’s society god is small. The more the science answer the truth about our Cosmos the small becomes god. That why god this days is the god of the gaps and that’s why we no need god or religion in science. Religion just shuts down rational thinking and dismiss science.

        • Alex Adao

          I want to see the archetype of “God” finally entered into the realm of accepted science. Surely being that seeded life on earth would qualify as one that fits the archetype we have. Or perhaps the archetype grew in the human psyche because of “leaders” pretending to be god and enslaving their fellow man.

      • skwills

        I diagree with the both of you, with no intended insult.

        Faith is not beelif withotu evidence and FReligion is not somethign distinct from Science. In truth, Science, Philosophy, and Religion are all the same thing. In the end, Religion is nothign mroe than what we beleif abotu who we are, where we came from and the ultimatemeanign of our existence. Science isnt chosen over Religion, nd can be, for his makes Sicnece into Religion.

        I see no incompatibility with beelif that God exists, and created us, and modern Science, they ae from a Psychological stance just ideas, as is Creationism.

        Whiel I am not a creationist, I knwo that Creationism is true to those who beleive in it in the same way Evolution is true for those who accep it, and in the end its just us tryign to make sense of our world.

        I find arguments overit or attemots at selective categorisation mroe flawed than anything else.

        • Physics Police

          The kind of faith we’re talking about here, religious faith, is indeed defined as belief without evidence.

          Religion is a cultural practice more distinct from science than any other thing.

          You’re trying to confuse the answers to questions with the method of coming up with those answers. Religious leaders and scientists can both answer deep questions. That doesn’t make the practice of religion similar in any way with the methods of science.

          Evolution is true whether you accept it or not, that’s part of the difference between science and religion!

          • skwills

            Religious Faith is not defined as Beleif without evidence. I know your own “Not-A-Religion” dictates that you define it that way as many of your arguments agaisnt Religion rest on how Irrational Religion is and how no evidence exists in Religion, but had it dawned on yo that your “Not-a-Religion” may be wrong?

            The Westminster Dictionary Of Theological Terms defines Faith as Trust or Confidence in the Teachings of a Relgiion, or in God, and makes no mention of this beign given without any evidence. The idea that Religious Faith is, indeed, beleif withotu Evidence is unsupported.

            In other words, you have no Evidence that the Relgiious Definition of Faith is beleif withotu Evidence.

            Just like you have no evidence that Relgiion is the thign the least like Science. The Truth is, you’re just spoputing the shallow Dogmas of Militant Ateism, which Ironically is itself a Religion. You’re the same kind of mindless Fundamentalist you like to mock and berate.

            Relgiion is not distinct from Science and totally dissimilar to it, Religiosu Faigh is not beleif without evidence, and your claism about Relgiion and Methodology dont’ make any sene. I nevr said that Answrs and the ways you coem to answrs were the same thing, but Relgiion has no set Methoology vo how Answers are arrived at. What you don’t understand is that Relgiiosu Answers arent all just invented and passed down.

            With that said, I am not a Creationist, and I can easily say “God exists if yo beleif in him or not” and have the same impact. It’s also a stupid thign to contrast Science to Relgiion usign that Line. Religion doesnt teahc that Relgiionsi only True if you beleive in it, so it works the same way Science does,based on the idea that its Trachigns are True Regardless.

            Of coruse all this ausmes “Relgiion” is this oen thing, which its not. Relgiion doesnt exist. Religion is a blanket term which covers multiple beleif systems. But you’re too lazy to really understand that.

          • Jim King

            Religious faith is indeed belief without evidence, and many religious people over hundreds of years have prided themselves on believing without seeing. There is no evidence of any kind to support the beliefs of any religion, not just Christianity. None at all.

          • skwills

            Actually, Relgiion is not a singlualr thign and doesnt defien any terms. the idea that all Relgiiosn define faith as beleif withotu evidence is just bunk.

            I can even prove it. if belief Withotu Evidence was the Relgiiosu Definition Of Faith, then htis is how the word woul be explicitly defined in Religious Dictionaries. Yet The Westminster Dictionary of theological terms doesnot define Faith as beleivign oin soemthign without evidence, but rather as trust in or loyalty to god, or a set of principles, or to another person.

            Given that The Westminster Dictioanry of Religious terms is an actual Theological Dictionay composed by Christuans form multiple denominations, and never ocne defines faith as beleif withotu evidence, why shoudl i accept that this is the Religiosu Defimnition of Faith used by Christians? And if its not the Relgiiosu Definition fo Faith used by Christians, why shoudl i accept any other Religion defines it that way?

            I keep hearign form Anti-Religiosdu Atheists liek you that Religion defines faith as beleif withotu evidence, btu wbat evidence do you hav of this? a qote out fo context fromt he Bibel liek Hebrews 11:1 which actalky doesnt say this?

            By the aay, there is evidence supportign Chridtian claims, and the “Absioltuely no evidence: routien gets old. pick up a boomk by an actual acaemic.

          • Jim King

            The definition in The Westminster Dictionary of Religious Terms is in agreement with what I said. Virtually every dictionary defines “faith” the same way, along the lines of: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” So, what does that amount to? Believing in what your religion tells you – and they all say, basically, that how anything works isn’t your business, that God did it. That’s why it means believing without evidence. Understand now?

          • skwills

            You see, this is why talkign to a New Atheist becomes tedious. You :know” that all Relgiion says Faith is beleif withotu evidence, and “know” relgiion says :God did it”. Well, yoru wrong. I’m sorry but, what you’r sayign is oure drivel. Religions do nto all Universlsly tell you to just beleive whatever yru Relgiion eaches you withotu question, nro do all Relgiions tell you to never loo for futher ansers and jus beleive, That is how idiitoic New Atheists such as yoruself decpit “Relgiion’, its not hwo it actually is. Even the infamous “God did it” arugment is not actually used y Theologians, it is primarily a caricature invented by Militant Atheidts.

            If you cannot answer what peopel actlaly ebelive or what Relgion acally is, then yoru arugments arent valid.

          • Jim King

            Religions do tell you what to believe. Christianity says what you must believe in order to be “saved.” Can you be a Christian and not believe in Jesus? No. The Bible itself is full of the things you must believe, and different Christian groups have more (and varying) additional rules.

            Religions, especially Christianity, do tell you to look no further because all the answers are supposed to be there. In the Bible. You’ve said it yourself when I asked what “deep questions” it had the answers to, and you said “all of them.” So, why is there any need to look further?

            “God did it” is in fact what it boils down to. God is responsible for creating everything, and the Bible tells you what you need to know to reach Paradise, what else do you need?

          • skwills

            Lt me break this down as I know you are slow.

            There is no such thing as Religion. The term “Religion” is applied to many different beleif systems who do not all share the same definitions of owrds or core concepts. it’s ntolike all the worlds Religions are just facets of this one big thing calledd Religion.

            With that said, what you’re saying still makes no sense. While it is true that you have to beleie certain things to be a Christian, Christianity itself is a spectrum with no single beleif beign shared by all Christians, and even then, Christianity itself is not built on the concept of tellign you to just beleive what Christian leaders tell you and don’t seek any other answers about any other topic.

            Ni Christian Group that I know of actually says that Literally all answers to any question you may have abotu any topic is all right there in the Bible. You’re an idiot if you think they do. Peopel do not learn mathematics from the Bible, nor do they learn European or American History, or Astronomy. Most Protestant Churches actually teach that the Bible is the sole basis for matters of Doctrine in terms of Christianity itself, not that the Bibel contaisn all knwoeldge or that you need not seek any additional knowledge tuside of the Bible. In fact, many Christian Curches have build Universities, some with Research labs, in order to teach things we don’t find in the Bible. Vanderbilt, Wesleyan, Notre Dame, Geortetown, heck, even Cambridge and oxford, all Christian Universities, and all teach far mroe than just “beleif the Bible’.

            The situaton becoems worse when you consider that ROman Catholics don’t even think the Bible is the sle basis for all aspects of their Faith, and see the Bible as only a part of the Catholic Faith, a;ong with Sacred tradition and the rulings of the Majesteria. it’s uttelry impossible to look at the Catholic Curhc and see a “Bible is the only thing you need’ mentality giventhat the Catholic Churhc outright condemns Sola Scriptura as a heresy.

            The fact is, what tiu’re presentign is a caricature of Christianity, base don a need to see Relgiion, especially Christainity, as hindeign Science and Growth, but it does not reflect the Reality at all.

            Also, you pretty well lied abitu me. I did not say the Bible answered all deep questions, I said Religion did. Relgion is not a synonym for The Bible.

            As for “god did it is what it boils don to”. no, its not, thats an oversimplified Caricature itself that has no basis in fact either.

          • Jim King

            You poor fool. What I’m saying makes no sense to you because you are an exceptionally stupid person. You know this. Please stop embarrassing yourself!

          • skwills

            if this is the best you can do as a reply, then you basiclaly backhandedly admit that I am Right.

          • Jim King

            Obviously it isn’t. I’ve effortlessly refuted every point you’ve made. Just go back and re-read them. I see no point in continuing to do so myself.

          • skwills

            Actually you didnt. Most of the Tiem you just said i was wrong and left it at that, and a few Times you even claiemd I was wrogn when I idnt say something. EG, I said you were Religious and that beign an Atheist did not make you nonreligious. ou contradicted me by sayign Athism is not a Religion. When I pointed out that I never said that Atheism was a Religion, you said I did then quoted me, but the quote did nt say Athism was a Religion.

            You haven’t refuted any point I made, you jut say Im wrogn and declae yoruself right wile callgn me stupid.

          • Jim King

            Everything you just said is wrong. The proof is there in those past comments. I suggest you read them. I can’t imagine anyone else is interested, but anyone who is can do the same.

          • skwills

            The trpble i, anyien who reads them will see the opposite. Thuis is jus a way for you to duck out and save fsxce by not havign to admit you mae mistakes.

          • Jim King

            What “deep questions” does religion answer?

          • skwills

            All of them, which is the poitn of Religion.

          • Jim King

            Which ones specifically?

          • skwills

            Before I begin, I know Google defines Religion as beelfi in andreverence of Gods and Spernatural Powers. Google is wrong. And Google is not the sole exclusive Authority.

            Religion is a term we use for the beleif systems we hodl to that explains the world we live in, where it came from, what its natue is, and what, if any, meanign it has, as well as how we shoudl live. This is why even “Non-Religious Ohilosoophies” like Secular Humanism are, in fact, Religions themselves.

            Relgiion is relaly just aActive Philosophny.

            It doesnt have a specific objective or question it answers. The term “Relgiion” is generalised.

          • Jim King

            Try any dictionary. The wording will vary only slightly, the meaning will be the same. You don’t know what philosophy is.

          • skwills

            Philosophy, from the Greek meaning Love Of truth,. it is the disiplin of applying thouht to questiosn regardng ou existence in the hopes of resolving those wuestions.

            Religion is a set of beelifs about the nature of our existence, concerned with ansiwrgn the ultimate questiosn such as our origins, end, and purpose.

            I’m sorry but, they have similar or the same definitions. The distinction exists only becaue people liek you hate Religion but like Philoophy, so imagine the separation.

          • Jim King

            I don’t recall saying I liked philosophy, but anyway you’re wrong. The definition of philosophy has changed over the centuries since the ancient Greeks and no longer means that. Just like we now use the word scientist instead of natural philosopher. Even the Greeks never really used it the way you assume. This is partly why Socrates was prosecuted for impiety.

          • skwills

            You’ve just illustrated another porblem in the neo-Atheist community. The “Me me me’ atitude. I never said you liked Philosphy, but the colleive Affiliation you hodl to developed from peopl who did, and in the end you’re not relaly thinkign for yoruself but repeatin idas fom others, that you dint even know the Hstory of.

            By the way the term definitions I uzed came form modern Dictionaries…

            I’m nto usign Ancient dfinitions but modern ones.

    • Diogo

      Follow the wise words of first one to postulate the ideas of the Big Bang, Prof. Georges Lemaitre. He used to say that both science and religion can co-exist in your mind as two parallel and incompatible interpretations of the universe. Eventually, there is a chance religion will fade away. In my case, I was raised catholic and during high school I had completely rejected christian religion as something irrelevant, superfluous, demeaning, childish and, of course, incompatible with science. We do not need religion for absolutely anything.

      • Jerry Asbridge

        We? Would it not be more correct that you and many others do not need religion for absolutely anything. Many others would say the opposite. I like this quote from Lemaitre:
        “As far as I can see, such a theory remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being… For the believer, it removes any attempt at familiarity with God… It is consonant with Isaiah speaking of the hidden God, hidden even in the beginning of the universe.”
        So, the materialists, skeptics & atheists should all be free to deny the existence of a deity. I celebrate that and find that I learn much from such a perspective. I hope they, in turn, would allow me the freedom to be a theist (even if it means leaving me at peace in my supposed illusion).

        • Diogo

          You are right. I should have said “If you reason you will realize that we do not apply religion for anything or religion is superfluous.” I am might be wrong, but when you go through any kind of transcendental and awe-inspiring moment, it does not make this moment better if you think that “god” did that for you. I think it is just childish, but you can be at peace with your illusion. However, the reality is that bullish, nonsense, stupid religion still keep being spread like viruses to children. Just keep to yourself, do not tell them to do good because then they will go to heaven or assume a position of submission to something that has not proven to exist. Let them decide that and maybe they will realize “Oh look, how stupid are those people wasting time praying for nothing, thinking about heaven/hell/angel/miracles. Well, I am not going to do that.”

        • Ben S.

          well said, Jerry.

      • skwills

        lemaiftre actuaky was a jesuituntil he died, and even though you claim to not need Relgiion, the truth is, you stkll have a Relgiion. beign an Atheist doesnt make you nonreligious, and sayign yo beleive in Science is just renamng yoru Religion something else.

        • Diogo

          Atheist is the lack of belief in supernatural entities and associated organized religious dogmas, period. Science is all about explain the natural world (i.e., the only one:)) using falsifiable hypothesis, experimentation, measurements, empirical research. More importantly, scientific theories get superseded by others without any issues. Religion is based on unproven dogmas, faith (believe without evidences), revelation, prayers, all bullshit, crap, meaningless.

          • skwills

            Atheism is not the lack of beleif in the supernatural and in Relgiiosu EDogmas. Aheism is the belif that there are no gods. While it is True that most Atheists in the Modern World ae Materialists who reject the existence of the Supernatural, the term “Atheist” is defined as the beleif that thre are no gods, and has no real reference to either Religion or to the Supernatural.

            Atheism is also a beleif rather than a lack of belief.

            Science is also not limited to the Natural World, Science is acually a method of inquerry. Science is the aplication of a set Sc9entific Method to any given observed Phoenomenon.

            If the Supernatural exited and coudl be observed, then one coudl apply the Scientific method to it.

            Faith is not beleiving somethign withotu evidence, either,. Faith comes from the Latin word Fidese and axtually means Trust or Confidence in a given proposition. While it may be popular for Militant Atheists to define Faith as beleivign in somethign without Evidence, this has never been the actual definition usd by most people, nro is it “The Religiosu definition of Faith”. No Religious Dictionary defines it that way.

            Rekifion itself is nothign mroe than an active, applied Ohilosophy that explains the world we live in.

            The claims you make are just propaganda foisted by Contemproary Ah4ist whoo think they can create a clesr deliniation ebtween their Atheism, backed by Ratioanlity and Sicnece, and Relgiion, whcuib sui all made up crap, but the Truth is, yioru “Atheism’ is not mere Atheism, its mroe of a Humanism, and you have as many presuppositions and dogmas as any other Relgiion wuld. Yoru own ebelfis are, in fact, a form fo Relgiion, though oen that says Relgiion si bad and isnsits yoru beleifs arent Relgiion.

            By the way, Religiosu beelifs also change over Time, both in ters of individual beelifs, and in terms of what is taught formally by Religiosu Orignisatins. Also, Science is as flld with stubon refusals of new ideas and rejection fo Facts tjhat dotn suit Theories peopel beelive in, because its also run by Humans with the same flaws.

            The Scienc VS Relgiion claim si a Myth, liek the idea of Atheism beign linked to Rationality.

          • Diogo

            Stop writing rubbish. Science is built on falsifiable hypothesis and “god”, whatever that crap means, is not one.
            Atheism is the lack of belief on supernatural entities. Just like you is atheist with respect god Zeus, I am atheist with respect all gods.

            ” If the Supernatural exited and coudl be observed, then one coudl apply the Scientific method to it.” – There is no such thing as supernatural or paranormal, there is only natural and normal.

            ” the idea of Atheism beign linked to Rationality.” – Who said Atheism is linked to rationality or science? There is no evidence for gods, then I am atheist. There is no evidences for unicorn, I am an a-unicorn, etc.

            You have a poor writing and reasoning. I rest my case.

          • skwills

            I didn’t write rbbish, you did. Look at Atheism. You’r sayign its lack of beelif in supernatural beigns. Well, thats bunk. The term is derived from A, meaning without, and Theos, meaning god, so an Atheist is one wthout a god. It is not about the Supernatural at all, and, again, while most modern Atheists do in fact reject the existence of the Supernatural, that still does not alter the specific definition of the term. An Atheist is one who beleives there are no gods.

            Atheism is also not a lakc ofbeleif as is evidenced by the mere fact that too many Atheists say God does nto exist, which is an assertion fo fact that God does not exist and hence an expression of a beleif that God does not exist.

            Also, it is God, cap G, because its used as a name.

            As to your assertion that there is no such thign as the Supernatural or paranormal, only the natural and Normal, this proves my point. You are assertign eelifs, not lack of beelifs.

            It’s also rather missing the point. If the only Reason Science can be applied exclusively tot he natural World is because the natural World is all that exists, this still doesnt mean Science cudlnt be applied to the Supernatural if it existed. The only thing that limits Science tot he natural World woudl be the nonexistence fo anythgin else.

            It’s not inherant in Science to be so limited.

            By the way, your beign gdogmatic in oru assertion that the Supernatural doesnt exist. You don’t have evidence that the atural World is all that exists, thisis just a tenet of your own Religion, and one you demand we all confirm to. Is that relaly better than the “Religious people” you critisise?

            By the way, I’m dyslexic.

            Also, can the “No evidence” routine. You arent an Atheist becaue there is no evidcne for God, you juyst repeat that mantra. There actually is eviddence for god’s exitence which can be foudn readily on Stanfords website, ro any othe acadmeic oen dealign in Philosophy. The ”
            No evidence’ Routine is just bunk itself.

          • Diogo

            Actually is “god”, just like “unicorn”, “flying spaghetti monster”.
            Again, there is no evidence for “god”, just like there is no evidence for jesus (I am talking about the x-men that was crucified but did not die. I wonder if the crucifixion was lame), ETs, spiritis, that elvis is still alive,etc…

          • skwills

            Jesus did die in Christianity, though, he is sai to have returned to life but he did die.

            That said, again, drop the “no evidence’ routine, and for that amtter the “Flyign sphagetti monster”. These assertiosn only further prove that you are a dogmatic fundamentalist who refuses to even consider the possibility that tyou may be wrong about anything and also cements the cast that youre not Rational at all and just pushign a Polemic.

            Insultign Jesus by callign him an X Man in order to try to depict beelif in him as absurd, comparign god to Unicorns, spellign god in lower case becsue golly gee willigers I lack ebelfi in him, its all just stupid.

            God is spelled with a Capital G because God is sued as a name, mockery of Jesus is not evidence of anyhign but yoru own closed mondedness, and the fact that you won’t spend five minuets lookign upp the argumnts peopel make to defend beelfi in God, other than the strawman versiosn on Atheist websites, and can only repeatt he mantra of “No evidence’ really only serves to prove how you are nothign mroe than a parrot blidnly repeatign nonsense that you picked up.

          • Diogo

            Ok. Seriously. Do you know the difference between jesus and a picture of jesus? You only one nail to hang a picture of jesus.
            I am sorry, but I have to ridicule you since you treat evidences as mantra. Observation, experimentation, measurement are what I use as evidences. And I follow the evidences where they lead without making up stories for things that are unknown. “god” is nothing, meaningless, useless, etc. Now, go pray to avoid ethernal hell.

          • skwills

            I’m not Treatign evidence as Mantra. You haven’t presented evidence for anythign you’ve claimed, though, all you’ve done is declared yoruself Right. This includes declarign yoruself Right on things that are demonstratably wrong.

            I’ve made few assertions and the bulk of my post is a refutation of what you hve specifically said.

            You didnt use Observation, mesurement, and experimentation to come up wuith the Flyifn Sphage3tti Monster crap, and you won’t even take a few minuets to parous Argumnts for God’s existence on Philosophical sites in order to see if they ever employ evidence. Declarign that peopel whop beleive in God never have evidence is itself a falsifiable claim, and one that if subjected to any kidn of inquerry collapses.

            You can’t even spell God wih a cap G, or whtotu scare qores.

            face reality, all this talk fo Evidence and Observation is propaganda. You’re just repeatgn the party Lien of the nauveu Atheists.

          • Diogo

            Where are your evidences for “god”?

          • skwills

            There are no evidences for “god”. I argue for evidence existign for God. If you have o intentionally sopell “god” wrong, why should I repeat myself?

            By the way, I say reopeat myself as I already gave one soruce.

            Say God, with a cap G and no quotes, then I’ll tell you.

            After all, its more trouble hittign the shift key twice than once.

          • Diogo

            There are no evidences for any kind of any kind of god; the abrahamic god, zeus, thor, khrsisna. Good luck trying to prove that.

          • skwills

            You’ve just proven my point. You can’t even bring yourself to do somethign simple, liek spell God properly, without quotations.

            Your Atheism is not based on Reason and evidence, and you dont reject God’s existance because of a lack of evidence. It’s baed on the emrbace of your own Religion, which you hold to mainly to give yoruself a sense of self worth at the expence of Theists.

            You don’t want evidence, you just want me to say somethign you can shoot down. Even if your countrargument is utterly Irrational, you’d see it as proof positive that what I said was false.

            You just can’t admit you’r wrong.

          • Diogo

            Where is your evidence for god? You are stupid to realize that god is used as lowercase to refer to a category of worshiped supernatural entities.

          • skwills

            Actually your the stupid one here. While it is True that the word god is not used as a name all the Time, and thus not capitalised all the Time, if you use the term as if it is a name to refer to a specific entity, then it is a name. This includes asking for evidence for god’s existence. You see, you are addressing a specific entity, and calling said entity god. Leaving god in lower case is thus poor grammar because you aren’t speaking of the gods, or a god, but specifically about God.

            So, as I said before, there is no evidence for the existence of god, but there is evidence for the existence of God. aSpell it properly and I’ll tell you where.

          • Diogo

            Where is the evidence for the Monkey God?

          • skwills

            So, you will spell Monkey God with capitals and not god? That alone proves a point.

            By the way, arguign by usign a Seth McFarlane Cartoon is just nonsense. This is’t an argumnt, tis a caricature. What next? The clip where Stewie tells Brian the eorld they landed in is mroe advanced becsause Christianiy mnever existed to create The Dark Ages?

            Come on, you need real evidence, not ridicukous and innaccurate caricatures.

          • Diogo

            Dude, you are really taking my answers seriously. Have you not noticed I am being sarcastic? I do not care about the evidences for Yahweh, Brahma, Jupiter, Zeus, etc because they were all fabricated by our not-so-fertile imagination. Have a nice one.

          • skwills

            if you dont care, then hy are you pstign here?

            For that matter, you’ve just confessed to being an Ideolouge whose more interested in promotign yoru views and who doesnt care about the Truth. If you reject evidence, or flat dont care abotu Evidence, then you aren’t tryign to arrive at Truth, just promote yiour own views as Truth regardless of the Facts.

            Can you even prove that all the gods in Hisotry eere fabruicated by peopels not so fertile Imaginations?

            Of coruse not. Its just a conceit of yous. You cant even brign yoruself to aee them as Imaginitive. Relgiion to you is Theism, and all Relgiion is bad, and inferior. it snot even allowed to be Imaginitive.

            Given that, isn’t it abotu Tiem you admit that yoru baises cloud yoru judgement?

    • Brandon Roberts

      i think there are some that accept that but don’t worry the hypocrytical jackals will die out but we’ll survive

    • Jim King

      I’m a bit skeptical about this mutual respect you claim to have for each other. Most likely you’ve all just acknowledged the futility of discussing it.

    • Alex Adao

      I know the political power structure, internationally too, and I must say that the term climate change being synonymous with global warming is outright preposterous. The people in the USA ( a long list of politicians and cronies) Including white house science czar John P. Holdren. and dozens of others… These are the people who called for the deaths of edward snowden, julian assange, and others. Many of you can’t separate out the cult of personality and the barrage of propaganda and consensus reality you’ve been fed. I am quite tired of people believing the lies of the state run media and never listening to any of the politicians speeches. If people know the political power structure and had been watching for statements from each of our higher ups in the white house- they might have a better understanding of just how big the insiders club is.

  • California

    Really great blog post. Thanks so much for balancing the nuance of Bruno. I was particularly struck by his story and like most people in history it appears that he is just as complicated as all of us. It is very interesting that this was one of eight charges that the church leveled against him. It would have been good for Cosmos to mention that he also created theological waves as it did tend to make it look like the church was reacting to his scientific innovation. Burning him at the stake even for theological differences is obviously a tragedy and a shame on the church either way. I hadn’t even heard of Diggs until this post, so again well done!

  • Physics Police


    I’m calling you a religious apologist. You talk about “both sides” as though theists and scientists can meet somewhere in the middle. That just isn’t so. You said it yourself, Sagan had zero tolerance for theism.

    Right, Bruno was not executed primarily for believing other stars are suns. However, Bruno’s Copernican worldview in general, sophisticated or not, played a significant role in his execution. In any case, I think he was chosen as the hero for this episode primarily because of that belief. It might have also had to do with this quote credited to him:

    “Reject antiquity, tradition, faith, and authority. Let us begin anew by doubting everything we assume has been proven.”

    Where in the episode was it asserted that Bruno was the “one man” whose ideas went beyond those of Copernicus. I seem to have missed that part.

    Keep in mind this is a television show with a cartoon representation of an historical figure. I don’t know what more you expect in terms of realism. What, specifically, would you have changed about the animation or script?

    For example, I wouldn’t have shown all those medieval torture devices. That’s an appeal to disgust and is unnecessary.

    • coreyspowell

      I enjoy engaging in conversation, but not about issues that are addressed directly in my original post. Please read it; it’s not that long.

      • Physics Police

        I have read it. I can’t imagine what might have given you the impression that I haven’t.

        • coreyspowell

          Look at the equivalent section of the first episode of the original Cosmos for a beautiful example. In that section, Sagan visits a recreation of the library at Alexandria, meditates on all the knowledge lost and how much we have gained by the fragments that survived. It is sweeping, optimistic, honest, emotional; it conveys the idea of science as a huge, cumulative endeavor.

          Focusing on Bruno loses that magic in two key ways. It presents a kind of hero worship which is contrary to the spirit of the original Cosmos (and to Tyson’s closing message). And it requires turning Bruno into a largely fictional figure: He was not the first to recognize the infinite hiding in Copernicus’s model, he was not a lone wolf, and unlike Galileo his battle with the Church was largely one of theology, not science.

          I’m not here to tell the producers how to make their show, but since you ask… The Bruno section is very long; I didn’t clock it but it seems about 10 minutes, which is huge in the TV world. That much time could have yielded a beautiful animated sequence of Kepler, Bruno, Digges, and Gilbert (for instance) each wrestling with the Copernican worldview and seeking their wildly divergent paths in advancing understanding and rolling back dogma.

          • Physics Police

            I agree that the original episode’s segment on the library of Alexandria is a more sweeping and honest. I don’t agree that it’s more optimistic and emotional. I don’t like martyrdom but it is more emotional. I don’t see a difference in optimism between the two stories. Both are tragic losses that we hope will not occur in the future. I agree that the library conveys the idea of science as an huge, cumulative endeavor; that’s a great point. I hope they mention it in future episodes!

            I think the hero worship is effective in keeping the movie-magic. You may be right that this isn’t in keeping with the original message of Cosmos. You’ve convinced me that they overdid it.

            I’ve already agreed the portrait is incomplete. But I don’t think you can quite call it fictional, since the character spoke Bruno’s actual words. Again, it’s a little close to pedantry to criticize a literal cartoon for being less than accurate.

            I would sincerely enjoy reading your 10-minute-long screenplay that involved these four important figures. You should write it!

          • Jim Oberg

            “And it requires turning Bruno into a largely fictional figure ”
            Exactly, except Corey is too much of a gentleman to put it in street terms. The program lied about Bruno, and by misdiagnosing the problem as restricted to one bureaucracy rather than a mindset that can infect ANY social group with power, it offers a misdiagnosis relative to cultural conflicts in the modern world.

  • http://reverbnation.com/davidowen David Owen

    The Universe is infinite. I think it is fair to say this realization felt like a religious epiphany to Bruno. The parallels should be more than enough to bridge science and religion if people would stop focusing on the reaction of the Church.

  • David Andrew Keller

    Dr. Tyson, sadly never passes up a chance to sucker punch faith in God, or present as intellectual masters those like Bruno if they provide a way to draw distinction between Good thinkers and Bad ones as he oft defines them on the many programs he visits. I embrace both modern science and God, which according to each side is contrary, makes me a bit heretical i guess.
    That Seth from family Guy is producing telegraphs the depth of respect we can anticipate for those who accept the minority view that divine intellect is and always has been even as we debate the current observation that reality may be a hologram or checkerboard, still l do enjoy the visuals and updated facts.

    • NM2000

      It sounds more to me like you are going in looking for what you are expecting through confirmation bias, rather than just taking in what is actually there.

      • Physics Police

        This may have been a brilliant plan by Ann Druyan, since in the story of Bruno, people see what they want to see. A review of Demon Haunted World by a friend of mine comes to mind, “… underneath it all is a carefully mounted attack on theism. Sagan avoids detonating his explosives himself.” https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/230112510

  • Buddy199

    There is nothing antithetical about being a religious believer and a person of science. Many educated religious people believe that science reveals the details and mechanisms of God’s plan, and that the self-organizing properties of matter – from protein folding to evolution itself – are expressions of an inherent intelligence fundamental to the fabric of the universe. But that’s a matter of faith in things inferred but unseen.

    Like some of what Dr. Tyson expresses on occasion. For instance, his brief mention of the theory of the multi-verse in episode 1. The concept is put forth to explain the inconceivably unlikely values of some physical components of nature such as the speed of light, the strength of gravitational attraction, and the expansion rate of the universe that in specific combination are just right for biogenesis. Michael Turner, astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab stated that, “The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bullseye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.”

    The multi-verse is presented as a mathematical solution to this question. Our universe must be one of many, with an infinite number of universes together containing an infinite variety of physical properties, ours being just one small random sample of those. Sensible enough from the statistical point of view. However, as physicists point out, each theoretical universe is by definition forever cut off from all others, putting the subject beyond scientific scrutiny. That certainly describes science today; there is absolutely no hard evidence that the multi-verse exists, just mathematical inference. Which puts the concept beyond the realm of the scientific method and inquiry and into, dare I say, the realm of faith.

    Does that mean that people of science should therefore cast ye out the multi-verse heretics? No, the as of now un-provable theory could eventually lead to insights of great value that we can’t foresee today. And it also underscores the point that faith and intuition can coexist comfortably and productively with science and empirical rationality.

    • Physics Police

      First, I must remind you that faith is irrational by definition (belief without or despite evidence).

      Religious beliefs are antithetical to the *practice* of science. Yet people are clearly able to resolve the dissonance. This leads to all sorts of baffling hybrid ideas in the minds of individuals, like Ken Ham, who claims to be a person of science, and the Intelligent Design movement, which claims to be science.

      I’m not going to argue “No True Scotsman” but I will say these religion/science hybrids are worse at science. In other words, religious believer make poorer scientists, on average, because they’re burdened with wrong ideas they take on faith. Intuition can come just as well, if not better, without the burden of theism.

      These days, many good scientists still hold on to a tiny shard of the god of the gaps, which isn’t doing much harm, but it isn’t doing much good, either.

      • Buddy199

        To say that a scientist is “burdened” by religious belief is just flat out untrue. It’s like saying a brain surgeon cannot be as effective at his job if his faith enables him to look at the brain as something more than a mass of tissue. The scientific method can, and is, followed just as effectively by researchers in all diciplines who also happen to hold a religious belief.

        On the other hand, many researchers are burdened with prejudices that do negatively impact their ability to objectively adhere to the scientific method. How many wrong trees have scientists barked up over the years owing to ego or even political leanings which clouded their thinking? We’re human, not computers, theists and athiests alike. All subject to the same foibles and foolishness, the most dangerous of which is pride, thinking that we are the exception and the other guy is the one with all the problems.

        • Physics Police

          I’ll respectfully agree to disagree with your first paragraph.

          As for the second paragraph, I agree with you. Ego, politics, etc. have the potential to cloud thinking more severely, in the worst case, than does religious belief, in the best case.

          • Buddy199

            Not to belabor the point, but then logically we should shut down all the Catholic hospitals and associated medical schools since their religious staff could only be capable of providing substandard care.

          • Physics Police

            Of course not! It doesn’t follow that because they have one irrational belief (i.e. religion) the staff provides substandard care.

            I have reason to believe they might not provide the best reproductive care, though.

    • Physics Police

      You’re wrong about cosmic inflation and the nature of unobservable predictions.

      Cosmic inflation solves both the flatness problem and the horizon problem. It’s a valid scientific theory which makes unique predictions supported by evidence. There is no rule in science that *all* predictions of a theory must be observable! A theory remains standing so long it’s unique and has at least one testable prediction not yet falsified.

      For example, you can’t observe virtual particles in QED. But we consider them physically real as they are predictions of QED. We can’t observe stars beyond the observable universe, but we expect they exist because space seems to extend far beyond our observable universe. No single quark has ever, or can ever be isolated, but we consider them real fundamental particles, etc.

    • NM2000

      “there is absolutely no hard evidence that the multi-verse exists, just
      mathematical inference. Which puts the concept beyond the realm of the
      scientific method and inquiry and into, dare I say, the realm of faith.”

      To a degree, however, there are people now making empirically testable hypotheses about ways we might infer more strongly the existences of such a multi-verse. For example, some have proposed that collisions with other universes may have left “bruises” and other irregularities in the CMB that would potentially be detectable and explainable in this way. Now, that still doesn’t guarantee the idea’s validity or that such observed irregularities as we already see are caused by other universes, but the mere fact that the question is asked is quite a far cry from faith without seeking further evidence. Science and math projected that this might be one possible scenario, then it said “let’s see if there are empirically testable methods for confirming or rejecting the idea.” It is “faith” in the sense that hard evidence is currently scant but that inference strongly indicates it may be a valid explanation. It is not “faith” in the sense that the debate is closed and further evidence is being neither sought nor considered–which IS the case with many in the religious community about their beliefs concerning the divine.

      • Buddy199

        “It is “faith” in the sense that hard evidence is currently scant but that inference strongly indicates it may be a valid explanation.”

        You could say the same thing about the possibility of an after life. People throughout history, across all cultures have recorded experiences indicating that possibility, some of which are extremely interesting and difficult to explain in conventional terms. But absolutely no indisputable scientific evidence exists at this point, an after life being as cut off from normal life as alternate universes would be from our own.

        The only things we know for sure, from a scientific point of view, are that there is only one life, the one we inhabit now, and only one universe, the one we inhabit now. Mathematical or philosophical postulates concerning either are interesting but are not scientific proof, they remain speculation, for both scientists and religious believers.

        • NM2000

          The difference still being largely in willingness to embrace new information.
          For many religious believers, it is a matter of faith *regardless* of confirming evidence OR even evidence to the contrary. It is faith based on the claim of a religious text and nothing else. Any seeking of empirical evidence is to find confirmation only and to try to sway others to one’s belief. But quite often, contrary evidence is shunned, ignored, or discredited solely because it conflicts with a pre-established belief. You can say that all these out-of-body type experiences *may* be evidence of a soul or afterlife, but when science shows how they are the products of neurons and can even be triggered at will, the faithful just ignore that evidence in favor of their pre-established one.
          In science, the “faith” in something like the multiverse is more along the lines of being a matter of faith *until* contrary evidence is discovered and then the idea is discarded and adapted in light of that new evidence. It is not faith regardless of evidence, it is faith awaiting further evidence, which is a very different, more colloquial form of “faith.”

  • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

    From what I’ve read, the idea of infinite space goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Nicolas of Cusa had the insight that other stars might be worlds. What Bruno appears to have added was that they were suns with worlds circling them, where other beings might live.

    Was he the first person to think of this? Probably not. But his writings on it are among the earliest. And it’s not strictly true that his views weren’t part of his condemnation. One of the charges was, “claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity.” This wasn’t the main contention, but it was one of them.

    I think the point of that sequence on Cosmos was simply to show that repression of ideas is harmful. Reading more into it, such as it being some kind of anti-religious statement, ignores Neal deGrasse Tyson’s public positions on these matters, or that many religious people deplore inquisitions.

    • Physics Police

      Exactly! I suspect many religious viewers identify with Bruno’s religiosity. Choosing him as a hero helps bring them on board the ship of the imagination.

      • Hug Doug

        … except the entire point of the cartoon was clearly to vilify religion. every article i’ve seen about this show has commenters which trumpet this fact with glee. so how is that going to bring the religious on board?

        • TheThinker1958

          vilify religion or vilify the people in charge of religion at the time? I think religion is vilify by the people that said to be in charge and commit horrible acts against the people they are suppose to be “indoctrinating”. Torture, culture cleansing and killing makes me think that religion is being used by a few to control the many. I’m a good person and I don’t believe in God. I’m good because I think is the only way Society can move forward and progress.

          • Hug Doug

            the show makes no particular distinction between the Inquisition and the Chruch as a whole.

            the problem is that the idea the show talked about isn’t what Bruno was killed for. the show implies that is the case, when in reality he was killed for various other heresies.

            and as for the idea of infinite worlds, Bruno wasn’t even the first to come up with it or talk about it. prominent examples are Étienne Tempier (a bishop of Paris), who argued that an omnipotent God could create many worlds, even an infinity of worlds back in the mid 1200s, and Nicholas of Cusa (a cardinal), who wrote off and on about the possibility of other stars having other worlds with other life, even intelligent life, and this was in the mid 1400s.

            Cosmos could have done the show on either person, creating a story that would invite in a Christian audience, rather than turning them off from the show.

          • TheThinker1958

            I don’t think this is a competition of who is more important. Maybe next time the other people will be mention. Maybe not. There are more than a few people doing science. The Christian audience just have to be inspire so they start questioning if a 1700 years old book is the only thing they need to read. The Bible was written by man, not God. If God exists why didn’t he wrote something futuristic to show he was behind the Bible. Everything on the Bible was current to the times. That doesn’t make sense. Earth is a tiny planet in a humongous Universe. The Bible should had mentioned that.

          • Hug Doug

            Perhaps. it’s my opinion the show should have started with either Copernicus or Galileo, perhaps both, since both were so important in the field of astronomy and a major shift in the way people thought about the universe. Bruno just isn’t important at all in comparison. he’s just such a minor character that it really doesn’t make sense to me to include him – unless the point is to bash on Christianity. Which they do.

            Turning a Christian audience off of the show is not going to “inspire” them.

          • TheThinker1958

            you are blaming the wrong people. If “Christian” decide to kill people they disagree with, and a person comments about the killing, the person that turns people off from Christianity are the killers, not the people telling the story.

          • Hug Doug

            the point is the story of Bruno is out of place on Cosmos.

            it’s a complicated story that demands a far more rigorous explanation of what was going on both historically and specifically in his case.

            the show makes it seem like he’s killed for his view of the cosmos, in effect lying to all their viewers. this is not “a person” it’s a show, supposedly supposed to be educational, presenting a very one-sided story, broadcasting misinformation by doing a botched job of portraying history.

          • TheThinker1958

            I don’t need any TV show to tell me what was going on with the Church. I’m from Peru. I went below the church. I saw the torture devices used to “convince” people that they were wrong. The Church for a long time didn’t care about people. Only care about their power. Except for St Francois de Asis :) a true Christian.

          • Hug Doug

            *sigh* it’s clear you have no desire to listen to reason. sorry about that. if you don’t care about a deceptive portrayal of history being broadcast to the masses as the truth, then you probably shouldn’t be responding to my comments.

          • TheThinker1958

            *sigh* I didn’t know you were brainwashed (now you start with the insults I think I can continue). Just because you don’t like what the Church has done on the past, that doesn’t make it deceptive (you might confuse some people but not me). I saw a First Nation old guy on TV showing the scar on his hand. A Priest stab him with a pencil because he spoke on his mother tongue. That happened in Canada in the 40′ – 50′. Was that Jesus spreading love?

          • Hug Doug

            when did i insult you?

            you are talking about things that are not related to what i’ve been saying. you are ignoring what i am saying.

            my point is not about whether or not anyone likes what the church has done.

            my point is that the SHOW was deceptive by not portraying what happened in an accurate way.

        • Physics Police

          I disagree. I saw it as vilifying the Roman Inquisition, something that many modern churchgoers can easily get on board with.

          • Hug Doug

            well, perhaps. but is that really something that Cosmos should have devoted a quarter of its air time to?

            I really think a better “hero of science” could have been chosen, maybe someone who actually contributed something to science.

    • Hug Doug

      if they wanted to make the point that the repression of idea is harmful, they should have just said that, rather than making a cartoon that shows the inquisition killing someone for having an idea about the cosmos, which isn’t even close to historically accurate.

      • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

        Saying “isn’t even close to historically accurate” isn’t itself an accurate assessment of that sequence. Bruno was condemned by the church, and one of the charges related to his cosmology. It’s history, albeit dramatized.

        And showing repression of ideas is always better than just talking about it.

        • Hug Doug

          the problem is that the idea the show talked about isn’t what he was killed for. the show implies that is the case, when in reality he was killed for various other heresies.

          and as for the idea of infinite worlds, he wasn’t even the first to come up with it or talk about it. prominent examples are Étienne Tempier (a bishop of Paris), who argued that an omnipotent God could create many worlds, even an infinity of worlds back in the mid 1200s, and Nicholas of Cusa (a cardinal), who wrote off and on about the possibility of other stars having other worlds with other life, even intelligent life, and this was in the mid 1400s.

          Cosmos could have done the show on either person, creating a story that would invite in a Christian audience, rather than turning them off from the show.

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            Something tells me that those who are offended by the inquisition being shown probably will find many other things to take offense about on the show.

          • Hug Doug

            so you agree that it is historically inaccurate?

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            Just re-watched the Bruno sequence. From what I’ve read about him, it was mostly accurate, albeit with some license for dramatization. They showed the cardinals reading the charges, including the religious ones. Tyson was clear that he wasn’t a scientist or that his ideas weren’t scientific.

            As I mentioned in my initial comment, Bruno’s ideas may not have been that unique, but he promoted them heavily, and suffered for it. He was condemned for his theology (basically pantheism) and for his cosmology (see the list of charges).


          • Hug Doug

            so why didn’t the show explain the theological heresies?

            because then their “hero” would be “mr. crazy guy”

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            They did in fact show them.

            You complained above about your perception (which I think is mistaken) of the show not being friendly toward Christians. How do you think pantheists would take your referring to Bruno as “mr. crazy guy”?

          • Hug Doug

            except they didn’t. they could have gone into detail about how his New Agey, pantheistic bent violated doctrine regarding the incarnation and deity of Christ, transubstantiation, and the trinity, among other things, which are the heresies he was executed for.

            the entire Bruno segment was an excuse to bash on Christianity. it’s pretty obvious, and that makes it obviously out of place.

            why are they alienating an audience they should be trying to attract?

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            Do you endorse the inquisition? Why are you offended by them showing it? It’s worth noting that a lot of Christians were persecuted by it.

            The Bruno sequence showed a part of the history of cosmological thought, and served as a caution against suppressing ideas, both religious and scientific. If you don’t think it belonged on Cosmos, then it might pay you to re-watch Tyson’s opening remarks. (Or Sagan’s in the original.)

          • Hug Doug

            Nice straw man argument. the point isn’t whether or not what the inquisition did was right. try to keep on track.

            the issue here is portraying events with intellectual and historical honesty. Cosmos made it seem like Bruno was killed for his view of the universe, which is simply not the case.

            if they were intent on showing the history of cosmological thought, Copernicus would have been a better choice of “hero,” since Bruno’s ideas were neither original nor did they build upon what came before.

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            We’ve already covered those points already. I have no desire to argue in circles. We disagree. I hope you can find a way to enjoy the series and wish you all the best.

          • Hug Doug

            A faint hope, indeed, should their farcical portrayals of history continue. Can you answer the question I asked before? Why are they bent on alienating an audience they should be trying to attract?

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            I’m not convinced they are bent on alienating anyone. However, I do think they’re not going to compromise the message to avoid offense. If they follow the old series’s track, the next episode will be on evolution, and many will undoubtably be offended by it, and ask why they couldn’t have skipped that part to avoid offending them.

          • Hug Doug

            So you think that the portrayal of the Church as Disney-esque villains was a gesture of good will and inclusiveness?

            Their “message” is already compromised by this choice of “hero”… that is the problem!!

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            I’ll grant that they oversimplified the emotions of the trial for drama. Still, it’s a ten minute cartoon, so nuance is hard to incorporate. And remember that the 16th century church actually did sentence a lot of people to burn at the stake for their ideas. By modern standards, pretty villainous behavior.

          • Hug Doug

            Then why include it at all?

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            We’re back to already covered ground where I fear we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

          • Hug Doug

            indeed. since you cannot answer this question, it seems our conversation is at an end.

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            Taunting? Yep, we’re done. Best of luck to you.

          • http://selfawarepatterns.com/ SelfAwarePatterns

            Hmmm, my last response disappeared. Sorry if this ends up being a double response.

            I re-watched the Bruno sequence. Based on what I’ve read about him, it was mostly accurate, albeit taking some license for dramatization. They made it clear that he was condemned for both religious and cosmological views, and Tyson clearly stated he wasn’t a scientist.

  • Gastón E. Nusimovich

    I do not agree with the basic premise of this post/comment. It is clear to me that Ann Druyan chose to tell the Giordano Bruno for reasons that she knows that Carl would have agreed.

    In fact, these reasons are the main subject and the reason for the last book that Carl Sagan wrote (with Ann as co-writer), “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”.

    At the same time, is one of the most brilliant works by Sagan ,and at the same time, one of the least well known.

    This book expresses Carl Sagan’s deep concerns for what he clearly identified as a troubling trend in the world: the polarizaion of politics around the world away from reason and objective thinking and towards twisted forms of ideologies.

    The book was published in 1997, just about 4 years ahead of 9/11, and the reference to that event is not gratituous nor out of line.

    So, the argument that the producers and writers of Cosmos wasted the opportunity to reconcile science with politics and religion is not proper from the get-go: if you defend reason and objective thinking, you do not put up a fight with ideologies, for sure, but also you do not choose to reconcile with unreasonable people either.

    Kind regards, GEN

    • coreyspowell

      From my article: “A second, deeper irony is that in trying to show how science and religion sometimes worked hand in hand, Cosmos missed a chance to showcase a key episode in brokering peace between the two sides.”

      Nowhere do I suggest that Cosmos should have tried to “reconcile science and religion.” What I’m saying is that the show missed an opportunity to be more truthful and insightful about how the conflict actually played out–ie, to present the world as it really was, not as we like to imagine it.

      • Physics Police

        I think you expect too much of a cartoon segment in a 45-minute TV show.

        • coreyspowell

          That’s what I find so interesting. I have scrupulously not stated any opinion on the matter; this article is about trying to understand the reality of a fascinating and oft-simplified historical era.

          All the comments here about what I do or do not believe are entirely projections of the commenters, reflecting their biases and assumptions.

          • Physics Police

            That’s fair. I’m still curious what you believe.

        • DJ1706

          I don’t think expecting a show extolling the goodness of truth and fact over agenda and wishful thinking to, well, get the facts straight and not bend them to an agenda is too much to ask.

          “It’s just a cartoon” is not an excuse considering the express intent of the show it’s part of.

          • Physics Police

            Extolling the goodness of truth and fact is a hard job. Just a cartoon isn’t offered as an excuse, but a genuine explanation for certain visual features. For example, Bruno is shown alone, not with his teachers, compatriots, or collaborators. This was a choice that I defend as reasonable in the context of making an animation about one man. Corey thinks they should have spent more time on his peers. That’s a reasonable thing to ask which only Ann Druyan can answer.

            I don’t know what agenda you’re talking about. If you saw it as an attack on religion, you’re the one with an agenda.

          • DJ1706

            You can chalk it up to need to simplify “animation” if the spoken narration didn’t reinforce the idea, which it did. It’s not about the economy of animation. It’s what they intended.

            I see it as an attack on religion, because there isn’t anything else it could be. It, too, is reinforced by the sensationalist montage of torture devices which didn’t even exist at the time, and certainly were not used on Bruno, yet the segment certainly implies they were, because hey, that’s how they want you to think the church rolled.

            And I’m not even religious. I can just see it for what it is, and it’s deeply disappointing for something that’s supposed to be about promoting science.

    • Physics Police

      Well put. I’m glad you brought up the Demon-Haunted World. I worry some people might have forgotten this side of Sagan.

      • Jim Oberg

        Carl sent me a review draft for textual comments, so I too remember it, and I don’t recognize your above-expressed opinions in it. Maybe we’d both benefit from going back and reading it again.

        • Physics Police

          To which above-expressed opinions do you refer?

          GEN was talking about the reason Ann Druyan chose to tell the Bruno story. I think there are multiple reasons, chapter by chapter:

          7. From the Book’s title chapter, “Witchcraft of course was not the only offense that merited torture and burning at the stake. Heresy was a still more serious crime, and both Catholics and Protestants punished it ruthlessly.”

          8. The distinction between true and false visions, literally the title of the chapter!

          25. The value of the freedom to ask questions and challenge dogma.

    • Sneaky_Bitch


  • msmischief

    Bruno also believed in polygenesis: that blacks were not of the same species as Europeans.

    That tends to get omitted a lot.

    • Physics Police

      Yuck, that’s the best argument for omitting him I’ve yet heard.

      • Jim Oberg

        Since he wrote in the period when Africans and Asians were enslaving millions of Europeans, maybe that was a way to dodge human collective guilt.

        • Physics Police

          Probably true, and certainly sad.

      • skwills

        So we wont dismiss him for ebign an egostitical jerk or for beign a mystic, but for the entirleh modenr idea hat racism os the orst thign ever.

        Kinda displayign yruown Chronological Snobbery here.

        • Physics Police

          Are you typing on a potato? I can’t understand what you’re saying. Seriously.

          • skwills

            I am Dyslexic.

    • NM2000

      OK, I agree that it is a terrible idea, but it was the 1500s. Voltaire and Hume and a host of other Enlightenment-era thinkers also believed in it and they did so much later.

      • msmischief

        Now take some of that understanding, and apply it to the anti-heliocentric people.

  • coreyspowell

    Something for all here to think about: One of Carl Sagan’s most famous sound bites from Cosmos.

    “The cosmos is also within us, We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

    It’s not a religious statement. It’s not a scientific statement. It’s a spiritual statement, and quite a lovely one. To me it epitomizes the tone that made the original Cosmos such an inspirational classic.

    • Physics Police

      Actually, it is a scientific statement about the origin of the atoms in our bodies.

      • coreyspowell

        “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” I would like to hear how that “scientific statement” can be tested and falsified.

      • NM2000

        The star stuff part is a scientific statement. The more poetic bit about being a way for the cosmos to know itself is pure dramatic flair, romanticism, and possible spirituality. Sure all works nicely together, though.

  • http://qpr.ca/blog alqpr

    “for one man” is not the same as “for *just* one man”, and it is an (unfortunate but maybe necessary) aspect of popular presentations to concentrate on an example rather than discussing the overall pattern. I agree that the bigger story was worth telling – especially the role of Thomas Digges – and I thank you for doing that. (It was a lost opportunity for Cosmos but they do have to make choices and will have to leave lots of other great stuff out – which I guess should be a great opportunity for you and others like you who want to build on the foundation of public interest that Cosmos may generate.)

    My only quibble (and I can’t point to the exact words which make me feel this way) is that this piece feels to me to be a bit uncharitable towards the new Cosmos and a bit of a “hatchet job” on Bruno.

    • Physics Police

      The words “hatchet job” came to my mind as well. Corey obviously knows a lot about and likes Digge. That’s cool. I second your appreciation for bringing him up! I don’t like headline conclusion that Cosmos did something “wrong”.

  • 1172

    The Neo-Platonists, the authors of the Vedas, and the Hebrew Qabbalists all posited an infinite God who was identical with Infinity at the same time before Bruno and Cusa, of course Bruno as a Qabbalist, Hermeticist, Alchemist, Astrologer was aware of these things and the basic microcosm/macrocosm view of reality held by the aforementioned groups. Either way it’s ironic they paint Bruno as a sort of proto-atheist/fore runner of the seemingly soul less science of modern times.

    • Physics Police

      First of all, it feels petty to me arguing about who done it first.

      Remember, this is a TV cartoon, they had to make decisions about how to literally paint the hero. I wish it had been more accurate, too. I felt the same when they showed a dense asteroid field, which looked right out of Star Wars. An accurate asteroid field would be tiny specs of light, and not visually compelling enough for TV. Same with a realistic Bruno. It’s sad, but true.

      • 1172

        Agreed, It is petty to argue ‘who done what’ first. But both the program and the author of the above article seem to be making pettiness a point, hence I hope my post would point to that pettiness. ;)

  • Mars

    Just show me the evidence for the subject you wish to propose, and then we can have a conversation. Simple as that. Otherwise, everything else is opinion.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Charles Patton

    On another note that involves neither Christianity nor modern astronomy, Buddhists were writing texts claiming that space was infinite and that other worlds were inhabited long before any of these people.

    • coreyspowell

      Very true, and an important point. Ideas about the infinite, and about infinite space in particular, have a long history before Bruno, Digges, and Nicolas of Cuna. What is significant about this later era referenced in Cosmos is that it was the time when people began merging the idea of the infinite with the idea of a mathematical, predictable universe. Modern cosmology derives directly from that innovation.

  • IfHorsesHadGods

    Seems to me it was a bit more of a subtle strike in the war against religious ignorance. We, in the US, are seeing lines being drawn that separate (even further) scientific thinking from fundamental theology. A person can’t come away from that thinking religion is the way to go.

    • Physics Police

      Really? The hero was devout, if a heretic. I think bright, young churchgoers of today (lots of them here in the US!) will identify with a person of faith who thinks the old testament god is too small.

      • skwills

        Bruno didnt think the Old testament God wss too msmall, and relaly neither do modern Atheists. The Citism of the Old tetament is baed largley o Ignorance.

        Also, Big Bang Theory isnt seen as Heretical to moern potestnats, who typiclalydotn use the term Hereical. Its also not onsideed Anti-God givne it was concocted by a jesuit Priest.

        • Physics Police

          Got a source to back up your claim about “modern atheists” not thinking god is too small and being ignorant of the old testament? Speaking only for myself, neither are true.

          I don’t know what point you’re trying to argue by stating protestants accept the Big Bang theory. I’ve had to say, over and over, that I understand religions slowly adapt. Just look at out new pope!

          This has nothing to do with the harm theism (the belief system) does to science (the process of finding things out).

          • skwills

            Its God. The G is capitalised. The fad in leaving god in lower case G makes no sense. I know you don’t believe in God but, Theists don’t capitalise the G out of veneration for God, it’s capitalised because its used as a name. Please don’t tell em the crap excuses I usually hear that god is not gods name, that doesn’t alter the grammar rules that explicitly state that if you use a word in place of a name that word is nonetheless treated as a name. No, god is not a Title either, as God is not a man who holds the position of god, and even if god were a Title, given we capitalise “Mr. President” if we use it to identify a specific individual the point still stands. Spelling god in lower case doesn’t indicate your lack of belief in a god ( which isn’t the actual definition to Atheism anyway) but your poor Grammatical skills.

            With that said the burden of proof is on you. You’re claiming that Theism harms Science. Well, prove it. How does Theism in itself harm Science? Please don’t spout of on individual beliefs held by some but not all Theists, I want to know how Theism in and of itself actually hampers Science or is harmful in any way.

            Just saying Theism is harmful to Science, or society, is not good enough. I want actual Reasons to believe Theism is Harmful.

          • Physics Police

            Theism is the belief in a supernatural god who created and intervenes with the world. This supernatural belief takes the place natural explanation. The most obvious example would be taking the bible literally and disbelieving the great age of the universe. Most scientifically minded folks avoid this mistake, Ken Ham not included.

            However, lighter, more insidious versions exist, in physics, for example. There are those who deny the hierarchy problem by saying that God fine-tuned the constants of nature. This is a mistake made because of theism.

          • skwills

            I don’t care what Google defines terms as, Google is wrong. Havign sayd that, Theism is the beleif that a god exists. That is the exent of what Theism ks. Theism is not beleif in a Supernatural personal god. Theism incldes beleif in a Suprnatural persnal god, but is not limited to this. If you blive in a personal god that is Natural, you are a Theist. If youbeleive in an Impersonal god, you are a Thist.

            Theism is not the beleif in an active personal supernatural god and simply repeatin that it is won’t change the Reality.

            Your also wogn abot beleif in a Supernatural personal god. Such b3lif dos not automaticlaly lead to replacign Natural explanations, as plenty of peopel blive in an actie Superantural god whodotn evben beleive in the Binle, and even thoe who do beleive int he Bile often accept Evolution.

            Yoru claims are thus ninsense. Simply beleivign that a personal,supernatural god exist does not automaticlaly make you Anto-Science. Creationsim doesnt even make you Amnti-Scence as Evolution is not the end all be all of Science.

          • Physics Police

            Call the dictionary wrong all you want. Have fun.

            Yes, simply believing in a personal, supernatural god exists is an exercise in anti-science. Yes, it is.

            Yes, creationism is totally anti-science. Totally!

          • skwills

            The thign is, Dictioanries have been wrong. Take a look below.


            Are you gping to argue that a Siphon works by Atmospehric pressue instead of graviy becsuse that’s hwo OED defined it for over a century?

            besies, there are more definitions to the word Relgiion than just one, and more than one Dictionary. Why shoudl i think all definitiosn are wogn except the “Belei in, and reverence of, gods and supernatural powers’ oen you foudn on Google? Why is it the dfinitive final word on the topic?

            Also, you haven’t explaiend why beleivign in a personal, supernatral god is an excersise in Anti-Science. Just declarign it to be so is not convincing. Even if we bough into the idea that beign a creationist makes you Anti-Science, we’d still run into theproblem that beleif in a personal, Supernaual god is not the sme thign as Creatonism. ou can actually accept Evolution and beleive in a personal suprnatural god. There is no Logical reason to think otherwise.

            Furthermroe, Atheism was the official Doctrine of the Soviet Union and theypromoted Lysenkoism for decades, denyign genetics. Atheism doens’t automaticlaly correlate with scintific Accuracy.

            I also don’t buy the ides that Creationism is Anti-Science. Science is not Evolution. While Evolutionary Theory is a promenant Theory in Sciene, its still just a Theory. Please don’t gve me a knee jerk reaction that Theory means somethign differentthan I think it does, I now a Theory is a tested model that explaisn data and has withstood examination, but at the same Time I also know that no one Theory is the sum of all Science, and that rejection of any oen Theory, no matter how Highly Reagrded or well established it is, is not the same thign as rejection of Sciene as a wole.

            Ken Ham, your own example, doesnot rejt Science as a whole. He acceots, for example, Einstens Relativity Theory, as ell as basi Science like the Laws of Gravity and Electromagnetism. he even accepts Bilogial Sciences such as how Cells are prodced and diide in the Body or how food is metabolised. Simply rejecting that over Time chages happened that produced new Spiciese doesn’t mean he has rejected literally all of Science.

            So you’re rong, beleif in a personal, spernatural god is nto an excersise in Anti-Science and begn a creationist is not the natural state of someone who beleives in a personal supernatural god, and beign a creationist is not the same thign as beign Anti-Science.

          • Physics Police

            I never said atheism automatically correlates with scientific accuracy. Ken Ham is wrong about evolution, and wouldn’t be if not for that darn bible that says something that happens to be false about the origin of species. The book, his religion, gets in the way. When you say “literally all of science” you’re conflating the products of science (theories upheld by evidence) and the scientific method (also known as just “science”). Ken Ham’s religion gets in the way of his thinking process. He short-cuts from the evidence to a wrong belief because in the middle, there’s this other, intervening, wrong belief in creationism as the origin of species.

            I think this conversation is over, because you keep repeating the same bogus argument over and over, redefining terms when convenient, and conflating the rest in straw-man arguments.

            Thanks for being a great example of how poor are the arguments in defense of building a bridge between religion and science.

          • skwills

            Ken Ham isn’t wrong becase the Bible said somehgin wrong, and he beleives it instad of Truth. In fact, Historiclaly the Creation Account wasn’t read quiet as Litealistically as you’d liek to imagine, as Augutine, Origen, and other noted and influencial Theologianzs have in fact read it very differently. The fautkl is not, and has never been, with the Bible.

            Not that it matters, as you claimed bekleivign in a personal Supernatural gos ws Anti-Science in itself, and it’s not. Even if we accepted the Biel is Anti-Science, that does’t mean beleif in a Personal, Supernatural god is.

            Given that you’ve compleltey ignored this, and the fac tthat Dictionaries can be wrong, and the fact that tghe Dictioanry Definition of Relgiion you pull off Google represent sonly oen definition, sayign that I’m a good exampel of why you can’t brindge Sicence and Relgiion only serves to prove how your own beelifs blidn you.

            You see, as mich as you think Relgiion prevents Ken Ham from comign tot he Truth as it interferes with his THoguth Proccess, the same thign si True of you. Yoru Relgiion keeps you from the Truth. You have this absolute beleif that Relgiiion is in and of itself a hidnerance to Science, and as such refuse to even consider the possibility that your’ wrong. You even refuse to accep that Relgiion can’t be reduced to mere beleif in gods and the supernatural, becaue you need thee to be a distioncion between Relgiion and Atheism.

            But in the end, you realy haven’t proven that beleivign a supernatural god exists qill automaticlaly prevent you from beleivign in Science. The best you can do is show us that Ken Ham is a Creationist and say that Relgiion blocks Sicence by this, which itself ignes the fact that most Chistains don’t have a problem with Evolution.

            If you can accept Evolutionary Theory and be a Christain, then what does Ken Ham Prove? His Theology may inform him of his Creationism, and be the reason eh rejects Evolution, butnot all Christains reject Evolution, not all of them end up as Ken Ham. So, the Bible doens’t block peopel from becoming Evoluntionists, and belfi in God doens’t blockthem from becomign Evolutionists.

            You’ve “Proven” that Relgiion and Sciene are incompatible by sayign Ken Ham woudl nolt be a Creationist if not for his Relgiion, which doesnt explain how, fi this is True, that you can still find any number of Christains who accept Evolution.

            You can call this straw man and repetition but, its neither. You never addressed this. You need to find exampel sthat “Prove” your already arived at conclusiont hat Reliion and Sicnece are hostile and incompatible and then use Ham as an exampel as if he’s the final, abslute proof. He isnt. He’s one guy. Yes he has followrs but, so what? The Majority fo Christains accept Evolutionso he’s not the evidnece that Relgiion ina nd of itself blocks Sicence you hope he is.

            When all is said and done, you’re just looking for evidnece to support your assertion, and will dismiss any evidence that contradicts your claims. That can then be used, if we eployed ghe same method as you just did, that Atheism blocks Reason, sicne yoru basiclaly trying to prove a modrn Dogma of Militant Atheism, that Science and Relgiion are Hostole, and efue to accept any possible evidnece that disproves it whilst graspign at any narrow pijnt you think can serve to prove it.

            Beign selective with what evidnece you use and only lookign for that which supports your beleifs is not the way to arrive at the Truth.

          • Physics Police

            No, sorry, Ken Ham got the idea that animals were all brought into existence by one being from the Bible. That’s where he got the idea. Where else would he have gotten it? He does take it literally. The idea is wrong.

            My argument doesn’t follow from the example of Ken Ham alone. It follows from all the people who reject natural explanation of some things (or the potential for a natural explanation of those things) because of their religious belief. You know what I call people who has no such religious beliefs that supersede natural explanations?


          • skwills

            You know, Atheists have come up with some pretty wild, pretty wrong explanations abou he nature of our world. The Soviets once eclared that Quantum Physics was wrong, based on their firm belei in Dialectic Materialism, ad even denied Atomic Science. Oh, and don’t forget the Lysenkoism they adhered to.

            You’ve been accused by another poster of reading into things what you want to see, and I have to agree. Even in my post above, you din’t really read the arguments I made but rather tried to fit them ito a preestablished framework you use. My argument that not everyone who reads the Bible becomes a Yougn Earth creationist doens’t go away becaue you said this happened to Ken Ham. You’d still have to explain why Augusine didn’t become a Yougn Earth creationist way back in 325 AD,

            but you can’t, because you’re too busy tellign us that beelif in a suprnatural, personal god is Anti-Science becaue of Ken Ham.

            Ken Ham does not represent all Christians, or all peopel who beleiveint he Bible, or ven all popel whotake the Bible Liteally, and beelif in the Bible, or just a Supernatural, personal god, does not auomaticlaly rpevent you from accepign Naturlaistic explanatiosn for specific phoenomenon. Just liek Atheism doesn’t autmaticlaly mean you acceot the current findigns of Science. In fact, Atheism doesnt even mean you have to accept Naturalism, since he Raelians are Atheists and ebelif in a quasi-supernatural existnce.

            The real problem with ou is that you want everyone to fit into neat little pacjages and they just don’t. Atheism does not mean you accept Natural explanations, and Theism does not mean you reject them. The fact that there are Christians who accept Evolution, alogn with the act that durign the Middle Ages the most popular way to udnestand the Bible was via Allegorial Exegesis, and that was long bfore Darwin, proves you wrong. In fact, Meaeval Monks sometiems even postulated abotu Natural Answers for whee life came from, under the School Of Thoguth that God worked via Nature. Even in the Supposed Drk Ages you had not just Theists, but explicit Christans who didn’t reject Naturalistic explanations. In fact, even the original Fundamentalists, the Real ones, ntot he oens used in Arugments as if they hat everyone, actually acceped Evolutiionary Theory and if you read Dixons work youd’ see a FUndamentalist acually acceptign Evolution. He took the Bibel Literally and yet he accepted Evolution.

            You’re simply wrong that Relgiion itself hampers Science or that ebelfi in a god autmaticlaly blocks you form thinkign Rationally or acceptign cience, just as you’re wrong that Atheism autimaticlaly lets you accpt Naturalistic explanations. There is no Reaon to think that alone they do. Even yoru KEn Ham example fails because it’s nto the Bible and the Bible alon that keeps Ham from acceptign Evolution, it’s his Understandign of the Bible. The Bible itself dosnt block him.

            Plus, a I noted, rejection of one Theory is not rejection of Science a a whole.

            You’re just wong, Atheism doesnt let you accept anythgin otehr than no gods exist, and does not make you accept Naturlaosyic Explanations, and Theism doesnt block Naturlaistic explanations.

          • Physics Police

            Thanks for helping me understand what people mean when they say it’s a waste of time arguing with theists.

          • skwills

            Whenever I hear an “Atheist’ say this, I know it means that they don’t want to admit they were wrong, but they have no real argument agisnt what I’ve said. It[‘s not really True that aruong with Thitss is a waste of Time, so much as its True that you dn’t want ogive up your claims abotu how Religion and Scienc re incompatible or even consider that the Reality can be more complex than you’re simplistic assessment assumes. Instead, you prefer to tell the Theist that they are a wate of Time, or delusional, or Irational, and act like the problem is with them.

            it’s really a cheap, childish intiomidation method, that doens’t work since you still haven’t addressed what I’ve said.

            The Truth remains that you are wrong, in your definition of what Reliion is, in what you think Atheism is, and in the idea that Religious Beleifs automaticlaly hinder Science.

          • Physics Police

            Thanks again.

          • skwills

            I didn’t bully anyoen and didn’t change the definitns of words. In fact, all I did was point out that there are mroe definitions than you allwoed for, given you insist Faith, at leays Relgioosu Faith, ha sonly one dfiniton and so does Religion, which happens to eb the Defimnition most helpful to your arugments. I also noted that Dictioanries can be, and are, wrong sometimes. How si that Bullying? Simply, because you don’t like the fact that not everyone is goign to bow down tot he singualr definitions you use.

            I also didn’t call otu Atheists in general, but am Tired of the Militant sort of Atheist who isnsitt aht Relgiion is Hosgile to Sicnece and Rational epopel arent Reliious promotign this ultimatley hatefilled, bigoted viewpoint.

            The Truth is, you made claism that arent supproted by yoru arugments. Relgiion does not prevent one rom beign Sicntific, and Relgiion is not Anti-Scinece. Theism is not beelif in a personal, sueprnatural god, nor is belefi ina personal, supernatural god in itself Anti-Science.

            Why shodul anone accept this?

            The Respectful Tone you presented wa soutright hostile and also demandng. You want evryone to think of all Relgiosu epopel as Anti-Science simpeltons, and you call that Respectful?

          • Physics Police

            I accept your apology.

          • skwills

            I didn’t apologise for anything, and stand by everythign I’ve said. I also didn’t bully you or act rudly to you. I did refute what you had said, but that’s not beign Rude.

            Sayng “I accept yoru Apology” comes off as really crass since, let’s face it. you’re just trying to undermine hat i said so you don;t have to present an actual address to it. Beforehand the only address was to say I was wrong with little to no real reason for me beign wrong. Now its simply lying about my intentions and statements.

          • Physics Police

            You make some good points.

          • skwills

            No one likes being COndescended towards, and I’m not as stupid as you seem to think I am.

          • Physics Police

            Yes, you’re very smart person.

          • skwills

            It’s Arrogance like this that wins you few Favours, and reveals you do not have a Rational Mind.

          • Physics Police

            Truer words were never spoken.

          • skwills

            You do realise you were the Object In Reference I Trust.

    • Guest

      Would you lump anti-GMO athiests in with the rest of the irrational?

      • Physics Police

        I would call a person’s anti-GMO beliefs irrational, whether or not they happen to be an atheist.

    • Buddy199

      Would you lump the anti-GMO athiests in with the rest of the irrational?

      • Physics Police

        Who said religious people have a monopoly on irrational beliefs? They do hold a sizable share of the market, though, at least here in the US.

        • Buddy199

          Based on what reputable studies and solid evidence exactly? And how does that compare to the irrational beliefs of non-religious people? Blanket statements based on your “gut feelings” aren’t scientific, let alone entirely rational.

          There have been many non-theistic belief systems that, although they preened themselves to be based on science, turned out to be nonsensical. Communism, National Socialism, Eugenics to name a few. In our time, the anti-GMO movement and Climate Catastrophism, both of which take a cherry-picked select set of data mixed with a good old fashioned dose of apocalyptic paranoia to produce something as goofy as any religious cult ever did. And, before you melt your keyboard, by Climate Catastrophism I mean the difference between the atmospheric measurements of actual global warming (and it is real, see below) versus the apocalyptic warnings and exaggerations made by those I consider to be non-scientific AGW cultists:

          Hare-brained goofiness isn’t the preserve of centuries past or the religious. It’s also widespread today among people who are utterly blind to it in themselves.

          • Physics Police

            My comment about the “sizable share of the market” was more of a joke, but I’m interested in your idea of quantifying religious irrationality and comparing it to other forms.

            Have you seen any study which attempts this? Maybe it could be conducted in a manner similar to this study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24098391

        • DJ1706

          Physics Police, every human being alive has irrational beliefs, including you. Nobody, that is, nobody, is entirely rational.

          • Physics Police

            DJ1706, I haven’t argued otherwise!

    • IfHorsesHadGods

      In this case the “individual” was devout, but the church “as an institution” that he embraced shunned and eventually killed him over his views. willful ignorance, in any form, is a bad thing. That this article’s topic was the choice of a religious figure as the hero, is the reason for the theism bent of my post .. yes, the same goes for anti-GMO atheists, polytheists and monotheists.

      • Physics Police

        I agree! Depending on your point of view:

        1. As an atheist, I see religion as stifling progress.
        2. As a theist, I relate to Bruno as a hero and scientist.

        It’s got something for everybody! Presumably, this was intended by the writers.

        • skwills

          Atheists should not see Relgiion as stiflign Sicnece, as thatsjust a Myth not required to be an Atheit. And Bruno wasnt a Hero.

          • Physics Police

            I don’t blame religion in antiquity any more than bed-wetting in infancy. But now, in the 21st century, religion (defined as theism, the sincere belief in the supernatural, not to be confused with deism) undeniably stifles scientific progress.

            I don’t care if Bruno is or isn’t a true hero, but I agree with Corey that he’s portrayed using the hero myth in this episode of Cosmos.

          • skwills

            Ive tld you this before, you can’t get
            rid of Thism and keep Deism. Deism isnot distinct from Theism, Deism
            is a kind of Theism. If you think one can be rational and a Dieist,
            then you cannot say Theism is Irrational since Deism is Theism,
            though Theism is not Deism.

            Theism is just belief in a god, not
            beelif in an active interventionist god.

            That said, comparign Religion, which
            you misdefine as a synonym for Theism and beelfi in the supernatural,
            with bedwettign and Childishness and actign as if Atheism is the only
            sensabel choice, other than Deism ( which again is just a kind of
            Theism itself) isn’t really Rational. Ou have no real reason to say
            that Religion stifles Sxienticfic thought. Why wudl it? Why would
            ebelfi in a god and the Supernatural somehow halt wscience? Just

            One thign I really get tired of is how
            arrogant Gnu Atheists are, and the hwoel dies that rhey are the upper
            teir of Humanity hwi have m,atured pastthe promitive Religiosu Peoepl
            and have made it to a higher level fo Consciosuness towhich they
            aspire ot help otherws to is just a vain, wholly narseccsistig
            approach that’s geared more towards stokign egos than actually
            providing any Answers. Calling yourself more avancd ot Reliiosu
            beelif promitive and useless is just stupid, and frsnkly, the idea
            that Relgiion, as you specificlaly definedit, srifles Sicne is
            stupid. Just sayign this is Undeniable doesnt work either sicne way
            too many peoepl are denign it and ou haven’t povided any Reason cor
            anyoem to actually think that.

            I canjust as reaily say Atheism is a
            Childish myth that belogns to simpel minded people who havent matured
            enugh to realsie God exists, and Atheism Undeniably Stifles Science,
            and its the same thing. I don’t need evidence, I can just assert it.

          • Physics Police

            Deism is very distinct from theism. I’m an agnostic-deist, in the sense that I don’t reject the possibility that our universe is an intentional computer simulation or pocket of spacetime inflated with intention by some alien intelligence.

            In that science-fiction sense, our universe could indeed have been created, and I’ll grant the label agnostic-deist when it’s helpful.

            Human-created religion are far too parochial and anthropocentric to be even close to the truth. No theism for me, no thank you.

          • skwills

            Theism coms fromt eh root word Theos. Theos means god in a generic sence.

            THeism means that you beleive a god exists.

            Deism is thebeleif that a god created the Universe then left it alone.

            I knwo you want to think of Theism as the beelfi in a personal god that intervenes in his Creation, as opposed to Deism which has a god that does not get invovled in his Creation, but that’s not True. Theism is any beleif in any god. Deism is a kind of Theism. Just like Pantheism is a kind of Theism, or Penantheism is a kind of Theism.

            The distinction between Deism and Theism is not a Valid one. Yiu simply donot understand the term Theism.

          • Physics Police

            Okay, I can go with that definition.

            If by “a god” you mean a metaphor for nature, then we’re not really talking about god at all.

          • skwills

            its God, cap G. Why is it a fad in soem Arhisst ircles to leave god in lowr cae? its incorret Grammar. Its used as a name.

            Also, not everyone who views God as natural views God as a Metaphore for naure. This is why you arent actually engagign in a discussion about pepels beelifs. Yoru eeductionism insists on definign temrs your way and refusign to accept other views as even possible.

          • Physics Police

            Really, you’re going to complain to me about correct grammar? Really?

          • skwills

            My grammar is flawless, its my soellign thats off, and that’s becsuse I am dyslexic.

            Also, all words mean something, but that doens’t alter the point. The word god may not be a proper noun in itself, but if you use the word god to identify a specific entity, then the ord god becomes, as far as the sentence is concerned, that entities name. The idea that god is not a name and therefore does not require capitalisaton is thus an error. If I call you God, then I’d still have to capitalise it since, in the terms of the senence, God is yoru name. It doens;’t matter if God is your actual name, or why I’m callign iy God, it’s simply True that God is beign used in place of your name, and thus is the name I am callign you.

            So when you saythigns liek god does nto exist or that Christains beleive in god, you arne’t usign a generic term that’s nto a name, you’r identifyign a speciifc entuty, and callign that entity god. Sayign this isn’t a name is simply stupid.

            I get that modern Atheists have taken to spellign god in lowr case, as a way to swo they don’t beeliv ein god. I getit, Christaisn leave the eord god in lowr case for all gods btu their own, but it’s still fundamentlal flawed since Cheistians didn’t start leaving god in lower csse in reference to other gods simply to create a distinction betweent he True God ( fom their persepctive0 and the fake ones, and hye ddn’t capitalise the G out ofreverence for their god, it’s done becaue it is, in fac, used in place of a name and is, in fact, used as the name of said beong. To ignroe this, and to claim that gdo is nto a name and thatit’s correct to leave it in lower case, it just silly and irrational.

        • Jon Fermin

          there are much better choices. if you wanted to appeal to religious and atheists who both reject the literalist interpretation of genesis why not go with someone else from the same period of time like Nicholas Steno? First of all he’s canonized by the church, so he’s been vetted and second he’s lauded by the scientific community for laying the groundwork of fossil research (no pun intended) by which literalists would be disproved. it’s win win!

          • Physics Police

            This is special pleading. There are many ways that Bruno is a good choice, other than just appeal to religious and atheists alike. For example, Nicholas Steno didn’t study astronomy.

    • skwills

      I think the problemis mroe percpetion than Reality. If we’d abandon the COnflict Thesi that says you have to choose between Science and Relgiion, and instead trated vrtthgin as beleif instead of categorisign it separatley, we coudl explain tot he Public why certain things are beelived in. as it stands, we see polirisation namly because of an inssitent conflcut. its rather like Politics. When studying Psychology, I have seen studies that show how peppels political views change. I saw a reporton how a man became a hard core Liberal, but when he was a teenager and in hsi 20’s he as only vauely Liberal. it began when he became active in a campaign. He was actually Pro-Life and opposed abortion then, and didn’t really agree with the Democrsts on a lot of issues such as immigration reform or Tax policies, but did upporthem as they wantd toprotect the Environemnt. Well,the mroe Time he spent withthem, he mroe of their ideologies he beelivedin, until he became Pro-Choice and suppoted all their stances on the party platform.

      He also hated the Republicans, but didnt get right what they actually beelivedin on their platform. All his info cam from the Democrsts.

      The sme thign happens in reverse for the other side of coruse, and the poitn is, he now frames all of hiw understandgn ofsociety from the Demcorstic politial persoetive that sees it as “Us VS Them”.

      If we stop trying to mak science VS Religion somehign thats real, if we simply repect others and acceptthat Relgiion as a term is just a construct andpeoepslbeelifs can both be questioend respetfully and treated fsirly, I think we’d see fewer problems.

      You dont need to depict Relgiion or “Fudnam4ntalists” in a bad Light, you just need to explanthe Sicnee. You dotn need to add a layr of Hosility to Theism to Science, just explain what we know now. Poepel can brign God into it on their own or leav ehim oi on their own.

      I think the conflcit is thus a cuktrually created one, thats useless and cna be diffused by simply abbandonign all hostile ovetures.

  • Ed Hopkins

    The choice of Bruno was no mistake. He was chosen and presented in this way to foster controversy. The “religion is the enemy of science” viewpoint is very important to Atheist agitators like Seth MacFarlane. While Sagan wanted more people to embrace science, MacFarlane would be just as happy to have people reject science in the name of God. This would give him more targets to ridicule, which is of course his true calling. Christians should not bite on his bait. Reject Cosmos for its ham-fisted propaganda, but not for its science. Demand a program free from Atheist dogma. Remember, religion has faith and science, Atheism has only science, therefore, Atheism has nothing to offer. That’s why they want to take science from the rest of us.

    • Physics Police

      I see your words as far more divisive than the Cosmos episode.

      • Ed Hopkins

        Which words, divisive of what, and how?

        • Jesus Christ

          Religion is shallow, boring and stupid anyway so who cares.

          • Ralph-Uwe Scherer

            Just three of the [many] reasons it is also the last great form of mind control.

    • coreyspowell

      Seth MacFarlane did not write the script. It was written (without his input) by Ann Druyan and Steven Soter, who co-wrote the original with Sagan.

      I urge you to the episode. You will see that they included a great deal of Bruno’s actual writings about the infinite glory of God. The episode was definitely meant as an attack on the Church of the 16th century, and on the whole idea of limits on intellectual freedom, but it actually celebrated Bruno’s spiritualism.

      • Ed Hopkins

        So you agree the episode was meant as an attack on the Church, but you believe it was limited to the Church as it was, not as it is now. I disagree, why attack the Church at all unless you are trying to say something relevant to today? I don’t know whose decision it was to include Bruno and to corrupt his story, but I can’t see it as anything but a deliberate move to cause controversy – and that screams Seth MacFarlane. But it doesn’t matter if I’ve got the wrong culprit, the crime is the same.

        • coreyspowell

          If you have read my original post (and I hope you have) you know that I disagree with the way Bruno is portrayed in this first episode of Cosmos, but the extended use of Bruno’s quotes about the glory of God go strongly against your interpretation of the show’s motives.

          Was the show an attack on the Church of 1600? Well yes, of course it was. It was also, more broadly, an attack on those who would attack free expression of ideas. But keep in mind that the ideas the show is defending were themselves religious ideas.

          • Ed Hopkins

            If you don’t agree with my assessment of the situation, please give me your best guess as to why Bruno was chosen, out of all the people in history, to be the “Hero of Science.” Would you be willing to bet that no one involved in creating that segment was anticipating a negative reaction from Christians?

          • William S.

            I’d be willing to bet that if they were trying to create a “Hero of Science” they would have picked, you know, a scientist, and they wouldn’t’ve described his theory of the stars as “a guess”. Science, which is a method of creating and choosing between ideas, wasn’t the point of that segment.

            The segment on Bruno’s ideas focused on the idea that the stars were like the sun and that the universe is boundless. Bruno’s attack on his enemies was not a scientific one; it was “Your God is too small!” The major theme of the entire episode was the vastness of the universe.

            While Tyson/Druyan/Soter’s words were scathing towards the church of the time, they chose their words very carefully. Note that they barely talk about the church itself, but frequently mention Italy as dangerous, and cap off the chunk of the show by mentioning separation of church and state and freedom of speech. They’re taking aim at a political movement, not a religious one.

            In the context of science, in the context of politics, in the context of the United States, and in the context of a show that represents the universe by fitting it onto a calendar where each month corresponds to over a billion years? There’s only one group of people they’re expecting a negative reaction from, and while most of them (here) are Christians, not all Christians belong to this group, not even the current pope.

            Are you a young-earth creationist?

          • Ed Hopkins

            I am not now nor have I ever been a young-earth creationist. Why would you make that assumption? Because I am critical of Cosmos? Look where we are. Discover magazine is critical of the same show for the same reason. Are they young-earth creationists too? Powell and I are not arguing over the age of the universe, but over the motives of the producers of the show. Why would they spend so much time on a cartoon, that’s not about science, in the middle of a science program? Why would they produce a segment about history that gets so much of that history wrong? Seth MacFarlane is an Atheist and the voice of Bruno in the cartoon. I’m just connecting the dots in the most obvious way.

          • coreyspowell

            That is one of the best defenses I have seen here of using Bruno in the episode. I still think the portrayal of Bruno was distressingly simplistic, but you make a good case. Thank you for that.

            The last bit about young-earth Creationism is rather besides the point, however, and adds fuel to the fire here.

          • coreyspowell

            I see no point in trying to guess, or to attempt mind-reading. I’m just interpreting what I actually see on screen, and that does not support your point of view.

          • Ed Hopkins

            Carl Sagan-Cosmos edited for rednecks – YouTube Here’s another time MacFarlane rebooted Cosmos. I don’t think I’m mind-reading or guessing – I’m just putting 2 and 2 together.

        • http://www.groverbeachbum.blogspot.com/ Neil

          Maybe because history has shown that “the church of then” can always and often easily become “the church of now”. Religion has a many-centuries-long history of punishing people who are skeptical or dare criticize the church or religion, whether scientists or laymen, a trend which in some ways continues to today.

        • Angela Rera

          And the tacky cartoon of the church official looking like an evil villain also screams Seth MacFarlane.

          • Ed Hopkins

            MacFarlane also provided the voice for Bruno.

  • vulpix

    Speaking of splitting hairs–shouldn’t that read “Bruno *spent* two years”?

    • coreyspowell

      Fixed–thank you.

  • Jesus Christ

    They did mention that Giordano Bruno read books that told him of all that stuff so I don’t think anyone is trying to say that he came up with it on his own.

    • Hug Doug

      very likely. the idea of infinite worlds, Bruno wasn’t the first to come up with it or talk about it. prominent examples are Étienne Tempier (a bishop of Paris), who argued that an omnipotent God could create many worlds, even an infinity of worlds back in the mid 1200s, and Nicholas of Cusa (a cardinal), who wrote off and on about the possibility of other stars having other worlds with other life, even intelligent life, and this was in the mid 1400s.

      Cosmos could have done the show on either person, creating a story that would invite in a Christian audience, rather than turning them off from the show.

      • Jesus Christ

        Bruno wasn’t the first to come up with it? Did you even read my post? I said Giordano Bruno read books that told him of all that stuff. You must be religious.

        • Hug Doug

          i was agreeing with you. you might want to re-read my post.

  • Benjamin Wortham

    So glad you provided a correct account of Bruno and Digges. I wish that you would have given us a paragraph on Atomist cosmology rather than a brief reference to Greek literature.

  • TriFinesse

    This reinforces why I wasn’t interested in this show from the beginning despite being long interested in science and astronomy, it seems superficial and cheap. Yesterday I forced myself to start watching it and I couldn’t take it. The loose adherence to facts and lack of any insight combined with the overly dramatic bad acting and poor writing make it unwatchable.

  • HowardRichards

    Another thing worth mentioning is that part of the problem was with the mathematical idea of infinity. Mathematicians carefully avoided the idea of a “completed infinity”, and their instincts were certainly correct: inifinities and infinitesimals are weird ideas, and it is easy to make mistakes with them.

    Oh, and all we know about the physical universe is that it is very, very big and that we cannot see any edge or looping back around. The possibility that the universe is in fact finite cannot be easily discounted, though, and there have been serious attempts to look for evidence of a finite universe in the CMB. See, e.g., http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Is_the_Universe_finite_or_infinite_An_interview_with_Joseph_Silk.

  • slave2six

    Thanks for this article. It’s one of the things I love about science in general – prove what you say or risk being proven wrong.This was an excelling review of Bruno. I truly appreciate it.

    By presenting the heliocentric system not as heresy but as an extension of classical learning, Digges pointed out a path forward: away from superstition and theological debate

    Personally, I prefer any method that points a path away from superstition and theological debate. The less talk about what cannot be known in favor of talk about what can be known, the better.

  • Jeff Nelson

    Einstein was one of the greatest intellects of our times and was also devoutly religious. I personally am an agnostic. I believe if there is a God it is the sum of all life on the planet. We are but fleas on the dog, arguing about which of us is really in charge.

    • William S.

      I think describing Einstein as “devoutly religious” is a bit of a misrepresentation of someone who described himself as an agnostic.

      • Jon Fermin

        then for the sake of argument, how about Lemaître, the father of the big bang theory?
        or Copernicus, Roger Bacon, Gregor Mendel, Pasteur, Nicholas Steno, Francis Collins, or Enrico Fermi?

        • William S.

          If Jeff Nelson had opened by talking about Georges Lemaître I would not have accused him of misrepresenting Albert Einstein.

          In fact I feel this list sort of reinforces my point, which is that if you want to talk about devoutly religious scientists you should pick ones that are actually, you know, devoutly religious rather than describing an agnostic with pantheist leanings as “devoutly religious”.

      • Jeff Nelson

        These quotes from him prove a belief in God if not in man,s religions:

        “Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.”

        “I believe in Spinoza’s God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind” tranlated from the original German language quote

        • Physics Police

          That’s god as an analogy for nature, or pantheism at best. Why are you trying to “claim” Einstein? Why would it matter if he was religious?

          • Jeff Nelson

            My whole point was it is not necessary to pick one view or the other both can coexist to some degree.

          • Physics Police

            The “sum of all life on the planet” is not a god unless it has supernatural powers. It’s just a mistake to confuse poetic license and analogy for actual belief. Belief is a real thing. When people actually believe in a supernatural explanation for a thing, it excludes any natural explanation for that thing. Those two states don’t coexist to some degree. They’re opposite descriptions.

    • coreyspowell

      Albert Einstein was deeply spiritual, but definitely not devoutly religious in any conventional sense of those words. For more on Einstein’s faith, see “Einstein and Religion” by Max Jammer, or my own book, “God in the Equation.”

  • Farquar

    What is eternally amusing is that folks get so embroiled in arguments in which NEITHER SIDE can be made proveably right… Let me just say; Science is obviously an excellent tool for exploring and attempting to understand the Universe we find ourselves in. Religion is not.
    However, Science IS NOT A RELIGION. It, by it’s very underpinnings, cannot be said to be omniscient ( notice the root of that word? ) OR infallible, attributes often credited to God.
    If you ‘believe’ in Science ( and it doesn’t care if you do. ) it is like ‘believing’ in Carpentry; a field of human endeavor which makes use of a set of tools to build a useful edifice, You can do it, most can be taught to do it and the results can be measured and valued. Same thing happens if you DON’T believe in it. But to look at say, a hammer, and then state unequivocally that tools and processes you don’t even have the math to describe are impossible and don’t exist, is stupid. and unscientific.
    If all we can perceive and postulate at this stage in our evolution as a species is a tiny fraction of a miniscule bit of a percent of what there is to know, I would be amazed, as we haven’t even gotten out of the crib we were born in yet. Kind of like a dog raised all it’s life in a fenced yard thinking it is master of all, and then asking it
    about the ISS.

  • Román Díaz Peláez

    I surely appreciate the more deep insight at the “Real Giordano Bruno”, from whom i will keep reading on for the next days to verify the information. But from that to claim that the new tv show Cosmos has some responsibility or duty to conciliate science and religion is totally out of place. I think just like Dawkins point in his book “The God Delusion” the many times religious people quote scientists using the words “God” or “spiritual” your are misinterpreting the spirituality Carl Sagan talked about with religion, and by religion you are just talking about Catholicism, because if the program Cosmos would intend to reconcile science with religion, it would take one season for every religion it exists so science could please them all. No, religion an science don´t belong in the same place, they are not two sides of the same coin. The origin of both can be imagination(the same for an artist), that’s is the only point they converge but from there, they part ways in totally different directions, science is about facts, about evidence, is about verifying through scientific processes what you imagined is real, can be replicated, can be showed and applied. Religion is just about faith, about believing what you imagined and attributing it to a higher unknown entity with no evidence at all. Which in the long run it just becomes a tale, a myth, and if you keep believing it long enough, a delusion. Science is in constant change, pushing forward, always discovering, religions in the other hand, as far as i know, have this books written centuries ago which contain all you need to know about everything (except of course, when you need technology or medicine)So why science would have to rely someway on religion when its a stale, stagnant discipline? Religion will always be important from an historic point of view, because unfortunately it has influenced every other area through history, and not for good. So NO Sr. Keep religion out of my science program, just as i don’t go to your temples with books of the origin of species or my full DVD cosmos series. Religion is already mingling places it does not belong like politics and education, thats enough. And don’t worry, be reassured we have the right Hero @neiltyson, you can follow your imaginary one. I leave you with a quote of Carl Sagan.
    “The idea that God is an over-sized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”

    • Hug Doug

      the entire Bruno segment was an excuse to bash on Christianity. it’s pretty obvious, and that makes it obviously out of place.

      why are they alienating an audience they should be trying to attract?

      • Physics Police

        The Bruno segment didn’t bash on Christianity per se, it bashed on the Inquisition.

        • Hug Doug

          most people don’t make that distinction. regardless, i feel that Bruno was a very poor choice for a “hero of science” and that Cosmos should have picked a better one…

          • Physics Police

            I made that distinction. Anyway, I’ll agree to disagree about the Bruno choice.

          • Hug Doug

            why do you support the decision of Cosmos to feature as a “hero of science” someone who contributed nothing to science?

          • Physics Police

            He’s a hero for the freedom of though, that’s enough.

            The modern scientific process didn’t exists at the time. This is a story about the dawn of the revolution from which it would eventually arise. That’s apt for a first episode.

          • Hug Doug

            so why not Copernicus or Galileo, who actually contributed to that revolution?

          • Physics Police

            I’m sure they’ll be in later episodes!

          • Hug Doug

            one may only hope. however, that simply casts a greater shadow on the poor decision to put Bruno in the first episode.

          • Physics Police

            You mean the great decision to put Bruno in the first episode?

          • Hug Doug

            *terrible* decision. there, i fixed it for you.

  • tomfiatlux

    As a historian of science, I was appalled at the depiction of Giordano Bruno on Cosmos. Thanks for setting the record straight. For people who want to know more about the real Giordano Bruno, I recommend Frances Yates book “Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition”, a real classic in the history of science literature. I can’t believe that the creators of Cosmos were so cavalier about human history when they are trying to build enthusiasm for the scientific pursuit of truth.

    • DJ1706

      That’s what I found the most annoying about it. You can’t take the high road by following the low road.

      No one seems to mentioning the gratuitous montage of “medieval torture devices” during the trial scene, implying that Bruno was tortured with them. There’s no evidence he was ever tortured, and if he was, it wasn’t with those devices, because they did not exist. Those are relatively modern inventions.

      • Hug Doug

        Thanks for mentioning that. I’ve been looking around to see if there’s any mention of Bruno being tortured, and I couldn’t find any.

        • Guest

          Yeah, showing torture implements was uncool.

        • Pedro

          Despite popular myth that the Inquisition tortured accusers daily for years and years until they recanted, in fact they used torture very sparingly. It could be used only during the trial, only once, and any confessions extracted under torture were valid only if repeated without torture. As a matter of fact, the Inquisition used torture a lot less than the civil courts.

          I don’t think Bruno was tortured for the simple fact that the Inquisition used torture only to extract confessions and information during trial, and he never denied the accusations, quite the opposite.

          • Jim King

            They were real bleeding hearts, those Inquisitors.

    • Jim King

      Yes, that was inexcusable. For one thing it makes me wonder what else they got wrong. Given the cost of this production and the people involved, how does an error like that occur? No one checked it out through the whole process?

  • DJ1706

    There are a lot of people here insisting that religion is anti-science, but it was Bruno’s concept of religion which caused him to posit the infinite universe/infinite worlds theory. Therefore, according to you, his theory was anti-science, and he was burned at the stake for promoting not science, but a different concept of religion. Why, then, should he be considered a “martyr” for “free thought,” and why would Cosmos dedicate one quarter of its episode run time to him?

    • Physics Police

      Q: Why did Cosmos dedicate a lot of time to this story?

      A: I can only speculate, only the writers can say for sure. It seems to satisfy many goals of the show. It’s a nice exposition of the dawn of astronomy. Bruno has some good quotes in there preaching about the value of free thought, regardless of whether or not this was the cause for his execution. Bruno is a good piece for bringing up the conflict between science and religion early. Those who relate to the heroic depiction of a theist who wants to open his mind and lean, will come on board. Grumpy atheists (myself excluded, by the way) will flush with righteous satisfaction that the show is catering to their hatred of the church. They’ll be mistaken, if they fail to consider the interpretation in former point (as I did, at first). Agnostics and deists and others who don’t care much either way will (as I did) experience a wonderful moment of awe and humility to the vastness of the Cosmos, as we are vicariously exposed to it for the first time, in sympathy with Bruno’s spectacular and poetic dream sequence.

    • Physics Police

      Q: Was Bruno martyr for science?

      A: I don’t feel comfortable
      with that word, “martyr”. It’s defined by popular opinion, not any real
      aspect of a person. A celebrity is really just a famous actor, for
      example. Bruno is a famously killed heretic who had a conveniently
      correct guess about the stars being other suns. He did promote free
      thought, which makes for some nice quotations. The theory that the stars
      are other suns is not inherently anti-science. The inspiration for his
      theory was partly his religious beliefs, but partly also Copernican
      reasoning, which is, in fact, sound. In so far as the cause of his
      theory was accepted on faith, it constitutes poor thinking on the part
      of Bruno. That doesn’t make his being put to death any less stifling of
      free thought. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for calling him a martyr for science, and you haven’t shown me any reason why I should.

      • DJ1706

        Of course you wouldn’t; all of your posts make it clear that facts need not get in the way of a good narrative. Which is exactly what science *isn’t* supposed to be about.

        • Physics Police

          It isn’t a matter of fact that Bruno was/wasn’t “martyr for science”. It’s a matter of opinion.

          • DJ1706

            Oh, I certainly understand that people label him a “martyr for science,” even though he did no actual science. That says quite a bit more about those who would label him as such than it does about him or whatever happened to him.

            See my comment immediately above about not letting facts get in the way of a good narrative.

          • Physics Police

            He may not have had the entire scientific process down, but at the time, nobody else did, either.

            It’s not inconsistent with the facts to use Bruno as a symbol for the freedom of thought. That’s the message of the episode.

          • DJ1706

            Geez, dude. “Not have the scientific process down”? He wasn’t a scientist at all. His astronomical ideas weren’t science, period. He didn’t think of them as science. It was part of his THEOLOGY. Why is that escaping you?

            Because you don’t actually care, I would think. Again, not letting facts get in the way of a good narrative.

            The way you tell it, because the creation myth in Genesis more or less follows what science says happened — sudden flash of light, the creation of the earth, then the sea, then the sea creatures, then the birds, then the animals, then people — well, that was “science”; they just “didn’t have the entire scientific process down.”

          • Physics Police

            It’s not inconsistent with the facts to use Bruno as a symbol for the freedom of thought. That’s the message of the episode.

          • DJ1706

            It’s certainly relevant that his astronomical ideas weren’t based in SCIENCE. That’s what, among other things, you want to fudge over.

            Look, you’re clearly going to believe what you want to believe no matter what, so . . .

          • Physics Police

            Enjoy episode 2.

          • DJ1706

            I did.

  • ModernEra

    Why don’t you just come out and say it? Why the extended run-around with the irrelevant Digges comparison? You’re uncomfortable with Christians being upset. Too bad. Scientists need not self censor themselves. Bruno’s ideas were reflective of a natural philosophy that was not tolerated in the Roman Catholic Church. In today’s world, many Evangelicals and many Republicans deny that there is any chance humans could be contributing to Climate Change/Global Warming. Why? Because God controls those things. It’s “heretical” thought to them and many are in positions of power. So if it wasn’t painfully obvious, the Bruno segment was a parable.

    • DJ1706

      Most of religion, and definitely the much-reviled Old Testament, is parable. Why would a show promoting science deal in parables?

      And if it’s going to make a specific point, why not actually make the point rather than tiptoeing around it, as you say it is by describing the segment as “parable”? That in itself is the self-censorship you decry.

      Tell me this — what would have been lost if that segment wasn’t in the show at all, and instead the 25% of the show it consumed was spent exploring science?

      BTW, Bruno’s ideas were not reflective of a “natural philosophy.” They were reflective of his own brand of theism. That’s something they actually took pains to emphasize in the show — did you miss that part?

      So, you had an 11-minute cartoon depicting one person being burned at the stake for promoting not science, but a different theology. What place does that have in a show promoting science?

      • ModernEra

        Bruno’s views were impressive, and not only for his public thoughts about an infinite universe. Cutting edge astronomy has only in the last few years found evidence of other earth sized planet-star systems, something he posited during a time when such a statement would be viewed as a direct denunciation of Church teachings about Creation. His concept that distant stars are like our home sun was visionary, and profoundly ahead of his time. Including the Bruno segment added something different from the usual prescriptive and linear telling of scientific thinking and discovery.

        • DJ1706

          But his views had nothing to do with *science*. His views were another form of *theology*. He just happened to turn out to be right about a few things.

          You still make it sound as though he was speaking scientific truth to religious power, but that’s not what he was doing, not even in his own mind.

          Isn’t there enough reality to talk about in science without having to make things up? It sounds to me like you’re rationalizing the inclusion of something meant to bash religion because you agree with bashing religion.

          • ModernEra

            I don’t have a problem with the inclusion of a story about how the Roman Catholic church burned people at the stake who questioned or believed in a universe different then the (incorrect) one taught by the Church. I don’t see that as religion bashing. I see it as a fact of history and part of the story, of how we as humans, have evolved our view and understanding of the Cosmos.

          • DJ1706

            When you are incorrectly, and gratuitously, promoting a story as something that it isn’t — Bruno was NOT burned at the stake for promoting science and refusing to recant — then you’re doing so because you’re working an angle. And that angle is, indeed, the bashing of religion. It couldn’t be anything but that. It doesn’t make any SENSE as anything but that.

            Bruno contributed NOTHING to the “understanding of the Cosmos.” He didn’t arrive at his views through any scientific means. He just happened to believe things which coincided with reality, pretty much by accident, really, when what he was after was another form of religion. His was a creation myth no different from any other, save that it posited some things which have turned out to be true. That’s not science. That’s getting lucky.

    • Hug Doug

      incorrect. Bruno’s natural philosophy was not unique within the church. the idea that there may be other worlds out there had been around for several centuries, in fact, there were a number of very important members of the church who had ideas like these, such as Étienne Tempier, who was a Bishop of Paris in the 1200s and who persuasively argued that an omnipotent God could create many worlds, and Nicholas of Cusa in the 1400s, who was a Cardinal and later became a Vicar of the Papal States, who wrote that the stars may be other planets, like Earth, and may be inhabited.

      the plain fact of the matter is that Bruno was killed for varous theological heresies, as were a few thousand other people during the Inquisition, and not for his vision of the cosmos. he was not particularly important to the history of science, and so his story is badly out of place in Cosmos for this reason.

      • ModernEra

        What was incorrect about my statement? My rebuttal to this terrible article is not hinged on any purity of “uniqueness” of Bruno’s ideas. What you have missed in your comment is that the Roman Inquisition and Bruno’s murder happened in the midst of one of the greatest paradigm shifts in recorded human history, the Copernican Revolution. Galileo only escaped a similar fate because he appeased the church! Your two examples pre-date the Inquisition. They were not seen as embracing a new world view completely, but rather thinking about God and his omnipotent qualities from an earth-centric universe. Lastly, Cosmos is not “the history of science” there are basic lectures you can take on that at any university. Tyson highlighted an interesting and provocative figure, good for him.

        • DJ1706

          Galileo was NEVER — that is, NEVER — under the threat of death. Not ever. In fact, the Pope himself declared Galileo safe for as long as he (the Pope) lived, and that was before he recanted. He wasn’t even on too-unfriendly terms with Robert Bellarmine.

          So, no, Galileo didn’t “only escape a similar fate” because he recanted. He was never in danger of it.

          If you’re going to present yourself as a champion of academic truth, you should try a little harder to make sure you’re straight on the facts.

        • Hug Doug

          This part specifically was incorrect:

          “Bruno’s ideas were reflective of a natural philosophy that was not tolerated in the Roman Catholic Church.”

          – My apologies, i should have made that clear in my original post.

          Also, the first official Inquisition started in 1184, and was permanently established in 1229. Both my examples are after that time.

          Galileo got himself into trouble. The Pope was one of his strongest supporters until Galileo wrote a paper that specifically made the Pope look bad. This was not a wise move on Galileo’s part, and resulted in him being put on trial and eventually put under house arrest. Even when he was under house arrest he still wrote papers and letters, and spread his ideas among the scholars of the time.

        • I Dominguez-Urban

          Modern era states:

          “What you have missed in your comment is that the Roman Inquisition and Bruno’s murder happened in the midst of one of the greatest paradigm shifts in recorded human history, the Copernican Revolution.”

          This statement merely points out that the two events happen about the same time. It is not evidence that either was affected by the other.

          Perhaps (1) if Bruno had been burned at the stake purely because of his adoption of a Copernican view of the Universe OR perhaps, (2) if the Inquisition were solely a response to the Copernican revolution, then we could say that the two events had to do with each other.

          However, Bruno was not executed solely because of (nor primarily because) of his views on the universe. As to the Inquisition, there were a number of “heresies” at the time that were threatening to fracture the church into a many pieces. The Inquisition was a response to this danger.

          In any event, even if the two were somehow connected, what is the the reason this point is being made (that Bruno was executed at the time of this paradigm shift) on Cosmos?

          • Physics Police

            Ask the writers. To me, it seemed like an obvious tale of the beginning of the scientific revolution in an era where free thought was often suppressed, even by execution. Many people don’t actually know about that part of history. It’s relevant. It’s an important part of the history of science. It helps that he has a fun dream sequence and guessed about the stars being other suns.

          • Hug Doug

            please name any scientists who were executed.

          • Physics Police

            I said “free thought was often suppressed, even by execution”. This doesn’t imply that any scientists were ever executed. I wish you’d stop misrepresenting my arguments with leading questions.

          • Hug Doug

            perhaps you try to not say misleading things. particularly when they reinforce a stereotype that isn’t true.

  • John Raguso

    picky,picky,picky! Give Giordan a break—–he tried really hard, using the limited technology available. They nailed the poor guy to the cross

    • DJ1706

      No, they burned him at the stake, and he didn’t try to do science. He was a theologian.

      It’s not a question of criticizing him; it’s the questionability of including that segment into a program dedicated to promoting science and fact.

    • nostradamus

      “Picky”? Are you serious? This is supposed to be a science show. Not a show that revises history for an agenda.

      • Diane Raguso


        • nostradamus

          Wow yourself. Educate yourself before you write a stupid sarcastic ‘wow’.

          The Giordano Bruno cartoon on cosmos is revisionist history, do the research or stfu.

  • James Powell

    For an alleged heretic, Burno’s revelation of infinite space, infinite worlds, and an infinite God reveals just how deeply science was influenced by the mysticism associated with religion, and how religion was compelled by the light of reason, and scientific inquiry to open its eyes to the infinite whole of God’s creation.

    As Einstein correctly pointed out, “Religion without science is blind, while science without religion is lame.”

    Perhaps, Pope Francis will someday make a Saint out of Bruno for his revelation of God, and creation as being infinite in scope, and not limited to just our world, or solar system: Saint Bruno, the Patron Saint of Scientific Inquiry?

    One can only hope that they will someday reconcile their differences.

  • Aldo Elmnight

    “a place where Catholic doctrine obviously did not hold the kind of sway that it did in Italy.”
    Can anyone guess what Copernicus’s day job was? He was a CATHOLIC priest. I love how the secular media tries to dig up these obsure figures instead of pointing out that many of the advancements in science were made by Catholics especially the Jesuits (who confirmed Galieo’s observations) who were known as “The Pope’s Men”.
    For those of you who want to learn the truth about Galieo this is a good artical: archives.sspx.org/against_sound…/galileo_victim_or_villain.pdf
    The main reason he got in the tangle he did was not beacuse of his science but because he was an a$$hole similar to Bruno.
    Also the reason Bruno was burned at the stake was not because of his pseudo science but because he held a heretic belief called Arianism in a time when heresies started wars:

  • Grand Theft длgel hellrazor

    Was Digges tortured, imprisoned, and burnt at the stake? Why are articles popping up seemingly attempting to justify why the church murdered an innocent man for simply being an individual with DIFFERENT views? You have missed the whole point, Cosmos made it clear why Bruno’s story was chosen and it was made clear he was not a scientist (he was religious again making that the whole point of telling his story for religious freedoms) nor was he chosen for advancement of the Copernican revolution. The whole point was to allow freedom of thought and to open your mind. Bruno arrived at the similar conclusions about the universe as Galileo without benefit of a telescope and though others may not have been burned for similar ideas, the same man, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine who prosecuted Bruno for the Inquisition also prosecuted Galileo who recanted
    his discoveries because of Bellarmine’s urging and likely reminders of what happened to Bruno. The Vatican “rehabilitated” Galileo,
    but has yet to admit that ordering Rome’s civil authorities to burn Bruno after he refused to recant his opinions about the universe and other theological dicta like the mother of Jesus remaining a physically intact virgin before,during and after childbirth–an obvious physical impossibility, the suggestion of which is insulting to every woman who has given birth, while the Church claims to revere motherhood and forbids contraception. Bruno famously said”Truth does not change because it is or is not believed by a majority of the people”. He endured 8 years of imprisonment and torture before
    being burned alive on February 17,1600, with a stake through his tongue to prevent his eloquence from inciting the crowd. Read the wonderful poem about Bruno, “What He Thought” by Heather McHugh”.

  • Grand Theft длgel hellrazor

    Was Digges tortured, imprisoned, and burnt at the stake? Why are articles popping up seemingly attempting to justify why the church murdered an innocent man for simply being an individual with DIFFERENT views? You have missed the whole point, Cosmos made it clear why Bruno’s story was chosen and it was made clear he was not a scientist (he was religious again making that the whole point of telling his story for religious freedoms) nor was he chosen for advancement of the Copernican revolution. The whole point was to (continue to) allow freedom of thought and to open your mind (which many have died for). Bruno arrived at the similar conclusions about the universe as Galileo without benefit of a telescope and though others may not have been burned for similar ideas, the same man, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine who prosecuted Bruno for the Inquisition also prosecuted Galileo who recanted
    his discoveries because of Bellarmine’s urging and likely reminders of what happened to Bruno. The Vatican “rehabilitated” Galileo,
    but has yet to admit that ordering Rome’s civil authorities to burn Bruno after he refused to recant his opinions about the universe and other theological dicta like the mother of Jesus remaining a physically intact virgin before,during and after childbirth–an obvious physical impossibility, the suggestion of which is insulting to every woman who has given birth, while the Church claims to revere motherhood and forbids contraception. Bruno famously said”Truth does not change because it is or is not believed by a majority of the people”. He endured 8 years of imprisonment and torture before
    being burned alive on February 17,1600, with a stake through his tongue to prevent his eloquence from inciting the crowd. Read the wonderful poem about Bruno, “What He Thought” by Heather McHugh”.

    • Physics Police

      I don’t think this article tries to justify why Bruno was murdered. Rather, it suggests that a less inflammatory (pardon the pun) hero would have been a better choice. This still does miss the whole point, that Bruno was a hero for freedom of thought.

      Thanks for the further information about Bruno.

      • tjhaines

        Freedom of thought? Bruno was excommunicated for heresy, not for thinking outside the lines. Heresy is a rejection of core doctrines. Heresy is not “free thinking” it’s open rebellion against very particular aspects of the faith that are not negotiable (for example, the Trinity is not negotiable. The divinity of Christ is not negotiable. The Eucharist is not negotiable). He wasn’t excommunicated for his “scientific” musings, he was excommunicated for rejecting core doctrines of the faith. His philosophy had nothing to do with it. He was excommunicated by the state for years of political crimes during his travels, not for his theology, or for his “science”.

        • Physics Police

          You have a funny definition of free thought. I’ve always taken “free thought” to mean coming to truths via logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas.

          That’s like, exactly what Bruno said, “I beg you, reject antiquity, tradition, faith, and authority! Let us begin anew by doubting everything we assume has been proven!”

          You might accuse the episode of quote-mining to make a caricature of Bruno. But this caricature was of a hero for freedom of thought.

          • tjhaines

            Free thought is to the benefit of The Truth, we agree there. Therefor free thought does not mean “believing whatever you want, simply because you wish it to be true” Particularly when you’re a priest—a position of authoritative teaching.
            “Free thought” is more than just exploring new ideas. Besides, exploring new ideas is part of the legacy of the Catholic Church. Just look at every council in Church history. There’s a reason why councils last so long before they’re closed by consensus. Look at the history between Copernicus, Galileo, and the Church. I mean THE HISTORY, not what people say about the history. Exploring new ideas is perfectly fine. Holding them as truth, and teaching them as truth is another story.
            In keeping with his disingenuous character, Bruno himself didn’t even abide by what you quoted. He held a range of beliefs that were 1) Objectively illogical (any logician can see that) 2) Flatly unproven and/or 3) Had no basis of reasonable evidence. And 4) Some of his beliefs UNIQUELY come from antiquity! Specifically Jewish Mysticism from antiquity. Finally, 5) It’s funny how someone posturing, and behaving as an authority is the first one to say “Reject authority!”.
            So as we see, Bruno’s nonsense not only falls WAY short of valid scientific thought, it doesn’t even qualify as valid philosophical thought. It’s little more than bar room chatting. Yet he has become the new darling of anti-Catholic propaganda. And if that is your “hero for freedom of thought” then I feel really, really bad for you. You need to raise the bar. On yourself.

          • Physics Police

            I think freedom of thought does kind of rely on not getting burned for speaking your mind, even if what you have to say is illogical, unproven, baseless, heretical nonsense.

            (Did I miss any?)

          • tjhaines

            You missed a couple of things. This was in the 16th century, not 2014. Execution was common for capital crime (felony). We see it as brutal and over the top today buy we aren’t judging history from a modern standpoint we are discussing history from the perspective of the facts. THAT he was executed doesn’t mean anything. WHY it happened does. Second, He was executed for political crime. Not heresy. The punishment for heresy is exile not death.

          • Physics Police

            THAT he was executed means a lot to me. I’m pretty sure the list of charges against him were all heresies. http://themarlowestudies.org/Baines_Note.html

          • tjhaines

            Whoa, wait a second, you forgot to acknowledge that your “hero for free thought” is a liar and a plagiarizer, had no intellectual integrity, was a dead-poor philosopher and had even less merit as a scientist. That’s YOUR hero we’re talking about. So why should we respect anything more you have to say if a liar is your intellectual hero? Rhetorical question there. But ok, we’ll skip that part if you want.

            If you have a problem THAT he was executed I have a few bits of advice for you.
            1. Get in a time machine and take it up with the culture at large and with the ruling class. He was executed by the government for political crimes. That is a fact. Not propaganda.
            2. Ask yourself how many doctors, philosophers, theologians and artists (these are all REAL free thinkers!) were executed during the rise and reign of atheistic marxism and communism. Atheistic political philosophy is responsible for more thought policing and executions than any era of Christian Europe could even aspire to! That is fact. Not propaganda.
            3. How many little free thinkers are killed in the womb because of abortion? At least 3,000 a day in the U.S.. Their crime? Existing! That is fact. Not propaganda. This godless/secularist philosophy has resulted in ongoing legalized genocide and the objectification of the human person, and the human being.
            Now lets get to your “research” Where in those charges of heresy do you see anything related to science? How about philosophy? Nowhere. These were theological issues for which he was excommunicated. And if you work at a Microsoft support center and you tell callers that Mac OS is the best operating system in the world, and Windows sucks, you’d probably get fired. (Uh oh! Thought policing!!!) Bruno was also excommunicated by the Lutherans, and the Calvinists, and those people EXECUTED folks by the thousands (especially Catholics) yet Bruno was not executed by either of them (that’s very meaningful. Give it a think).
            Now bypass Google and go get a book. Look up his political crimes, and learn about what constituted treason during that era. Governments executed people for lower crimes than Bruno committed. If that’s “crimes against free thought” then I say again you should jump in a time machine, go back there and set the whole of Europe straight. Because this was a cultural disposition, and a political norm throughout the kingdoms. Catholicism had nothing to do with it. Catholic priests/pastors were renowned for giving solace and protection to the accused and oppressed! It wasn’t uncommon at all for the local Parish Priest to be executed alongside the accused (often political criminals) because the priest gave the accused solace and was deemed an abettor and equally guilty. That’s very common in our history, look it up. Or make it easier on yourself, and look up how many Catholics TODAY are murdered in the third world for protecting ethnic minorities (similar kind of thing). That’s in our DNA, my friend. And murder is in yours. All in the service of “free thought”, I’m sure! i mean just look at who your heroes are.

          • Physics Police

            Please cite your sources, and I’ll gladly read them.

          • tjhaines

            You wouldn’t read anything thing I send you. None of you folks ever do. You never read my sources, you don’t click links I send (forget reading them….you people don’t even CLICK them!). Atheists, the self-proclaimed, so-called “free thinkers”, have exhibited time and again that they are better-served by their ignorance and sensationalism than by facts and information, which is why you all sound so stupid every time you open your mouths or comment online. I won’t waste my time digging out books to qualify my education for you. You don’t want sources, you want an excuse for denying that you’ve been beaten and that your hero has been exposed, and your justifications for considering him a hero have been disintegrated by reason.
            Most of what I”ve shared is just plain logic that exposes your errors of thought, and the rest of what I’ve shared is substantial enough enough that you can easily do the work of verifying it on your own; I’ve given you a lot to go on. Have fun.

      • Pedro

        The point that Bruno was a hero for freedom of thought is based on the modern hindsight that all free exchange of ideas is harmless. It’s not like the men of the Church were playing an act. Bruno was an Hermetic who used the Church’s own support to promote ideas that would lead people who followed them to Hell, and for them, Hell was as real as Detroit is for you and me. To commit an action that would make someone else go to Hell was an even worse crime than murder is today. To do that while using the Church’s support was the worst possible act of treason, and today those are still punished with death.

        It’s not like he was judged and condemned because the church saw what he was saying as a political threat, as so much people think, and as Cosmos tried to misrepresent. The Pope himself supported Copernicus and even cherished his ideas. Most of the scientific developments at the time were sponsored by the Church. Bruno was judged and condemned in the same way a cult leader who incites people to commit mass suicide today would be arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.

        • Physics Police

          I think you’re right about modern hindsight.

          You say for them, hell was real. But that’s not what the word “real” means. I hear that their *fear* of hell was real enough. That’s part of what makes the Bruno story compelling. With our modern hindsight, killing someone out of an irrational fear of an imaginary place called hell seems particularly awful.

          Not only is a free exchange of ideas harmless, but the dogmatic controlling of ideas is harmful. I think Cosmos made this point pretty well.

          • Pedro

            No. Now you’re using hindsight to judge with hindsight, which is particularly amusing. To bring up what “real” means as if it even could be discussed reasonably here is to open a door to play semantics on the subject.

            Today, for all legal purposes, we consider that there’s no afterlife. What if there’s, and it’s better than this one? That doesn’t mean our current justice system who condemns someone for inciting suicide is awful, it means it made the decisions based on the consensus available at the time.

            For your point that they feared Hell and Bruno was murdered due to their fears to be valid, the authorities who judged Bruno himself had to be afraid of him, and that’s nonsense. Their point was that he was speaking in the name of the church without the authority, since he left his order, and he was saying things that would cause innocent followers to go to hell, not them. When a judge forgets lenience in sentencing when dealing with a convict who threatens him in court, he isn’t doing that because he’s afraid of him, he’s merely following a legal principle.

            Yes, the free exchange of ideas may be harmless for legal purposes, and dogmatic controlling of ideas is harmful in any case, but Cosmos failed miserably to attribute that to the Catholic Church. Reinventing Bruno as a martyr for science and reason and against Church isn’t a new trick. Frankly, if they had used Ripoli, for instance, it would make a much better case, but he was a deist, and that won’t fit the show’s anti-religious agenda, and he can’t be so easily painted as a scientist like Bruno can.

          • Physics Police

            You cannot dismiss as “hindsight” my disbelief in the *reality* of some fictitious place called Hell. Feel free to challenge it, though! I won’t burn you at the stake or anything.

            I absolutely condemn anyone who terrorizes others with tales of Hell. Preaching hellfire is emotionally abusive. This was as true in 1600 as it is today. The truth doesn’t depend on “historical perspective”.

            Still, I am compassionate towards these people of history who *lived* in an historical context that included entrenched dogma of Hell and the likes. That’s the point Cosmos was making. Back in those days, things were different. There are people watching this TV show who don’t know much about it! Teaching them as much as possible in 45 minutes is their “agenda”. Obviously.

          • Pedro

            Of course I can, when you use that to give moral judgement on the actions of the 17th century church. That’s precisely what hindsight is.

          • Physics Police

            The truth doesn’t depend on historical context.

          • Pedro

            That’s rhetoric nonsense. Again, that’s precisely what hindsight is.

          • Physics Police

            My hindsight (unavoidable, since I wasn’t alive at the time) doesn’t make Bruno any more or less a hero for freedom of thought.

            You gave an informative explanation about why Bruno was put to death. Then you concluded Cosmos has an anti-religious agenda. That doesn’t follow.

          • Pedro

            Sorry, but you’re not being consistent enough to be taken seriously. First, what you’re saying can’t be taken as hindsight. When I show that doesn’t make sense, you change it to saying hindsight is unavoidable, while using it as an excuse for even more.

          • Physics Police

            I said “dismissed” as hindsight. By that, I mean my argument can’t be dismissed for any fact of (unavoidable) hindsight that I may hold.

            Honestly, I haven’t given much thought to hindsight before. How can hindsight cause trouble for a critical thinker?

          • Pedro

            Same rhetoric nonsense. You have an excuse for the argument until your hindsight is brought to light. Once it is, you can reevaluate it, but instead you went even further with it.

          • Physics Police

            I think Bruno serves as a valid hero for freedom of thought. I don’t think Hell is real. I deplore the actions taken by the church of the 1600s. How might my re-evaluation of hindsight change these?

          • Pedro

            Bruno wandered Europe picking up fights with everyone because he insisted on presenting his ideas as absolute fact without consideration for opposing views or any evidence beyond his Hermetic beliefs. The compass episode mentioned in the articles is from when he criticized Fabrizio Mordente’s invention of the eight-pointed compass, while at the same time using it for his Hermetic studies. When Mordente replied the criticism and pointed his contradiction, he called him a “triumphant idiot”, for not realizing the Hermetic potential of his invention, and had to run from Paris when Mordente got support of the Duke. As someone else said here, to present Bruno as a hero of any sort is hagiography.

            In order to deplore the actions taken by the Church of the 1600s against Bruno without hindsight, you have to applaud people condemned of inciting to suicide and crimes today. Do you do that?

          • Physics Police

            That’s a false analogy! Bruno didn’t incite people to commit suicide!

          • Pedro

            You don’t prove an analogy false by treating it as a comparison. I didn’t said Bruno incited people to commit suicide.

          • Physics Police

            You’ve concocted a small-minded logic problem where you equate eternal damnation in Hell with suicide. Anyone who takes Hell seriously would have a moral obligation to keep people out of there. I agree.

            But it’s *immoral* belief to believe Hell is real! It’s not supported by any evidence, and it cause people to suffer needless anguish.

            It was as immoral then as it is now.

            I don’t begrudge people of the past their lack of critical thinking. That doesn’t change my judgement of the morality of their beliefs and actions. I do have empathy and understanding for their predicament, and I know full well how privileged I am, looking back on those dark times with hindsight.

          • Pedro

            No. I established an analogy between inciting people to commit suicide in a society that considers that a serious crime, with deceiving people into do things that would cause them to go to Hell, in society that considers that the worst possible crime.

            “But it’s *immoral* belief to believe Hell is real!”

            OK. You have to prove that.

          • Physics Police

            Sorry, you type faster than I do. Please see my above comment.

          • Pedro

            Sorry, your above comment doesn’t prove what you say, and your little thought experiment is a petitio principii. It doesn’t answer anything. Why would be immoral for you to insult me?

          • Physics Police

            Sorry, I avoided being graphic out of caution to avoid sounding threatening, even in analogy.

            Please replace “insult” with any form of abuse that causes you suffering or harm.

          • Pedro

            It doesn’t solve the problem. Why is that immoral?

          • Physics Police

            It would be immoral for me to hold this belief without evidence which results in my causing you needless harm.

            I could, and should, just give up that belief. It’s a moral obligation.

          • Pedro

            You keep answering the question by rephrasing the same problem. I don’t know if you do that out of malice, or if you really don’t understand how you’re only dodging the question.

            Why is it immoral to hold without evidence a belief that causes someone needless harm?

          • Physics Police

            1. Immorality means not conforming to accepted standards of morality.

            2. Morality concerns the set of principles distinguishing between right and wrong.

            3. The following principle distinguishing between right and wrong is an accepted standard of morality: It’s wrong to hold without evidence a belief that causes someone needless harm.

            You may at first object to the principle, but you’ll probably find that, upon examination, you adhere to it. The evidence strongly supports its being an accepted standard of morality. For example, all laws of all cultures protect people from abuse at the hands of even delusional perpetrators. Such delusional peoples may be treated with leniency if their delusions are truly insurmountable due to mental illness. Religious delusions are sometimes exempted. This, too, is immoral as judged by the majority of people.

          • Pedro

            Nice play, but no cigar. You claimed your morality puts you above hindsight when making moral judgement because it’s the truth. The conclusion from your proposition isn’t that, but it’s merely that it’s the accepted standard of morality by your society. When you made moral judgement based on that, it isn’t even hindsight, it’s simple pretentiousness.

            I don’t object to the principle, I can agree with it as a premise for your reasoning, but only as a belief. Your claim was that’s the truth.

            A hint: what you’re defending here is called Harm Principle, which is a very simple-minded utilitarian principle. You want to believe in that? Go ahead, but your claim was that it’s truth, and puts your moral judgement based on it above others. To prove that, my friend, goes a long way beyond anything you said here, and probably anything you can say.

          • Physics Police

            I never said my morality puts me above hindsight. Hindsight is understanding of an event only after it has happened or developed. How does that invalidate any of my claims? Hell isn’t real. It was immoral for Bruno to have been burnt at the stake. Bruno serves as a valid hero for the freedom of thought.

          • Pedro

            You said your judgement wasn’t hindsight because you weren’t merely forward in time, in comparison. You said it wasn’t hindsight because it wasn’t the truth. Since you retracted that preposterous claim and now admits it’s only your personal opinion, it’s fine.

          • Physics Police

            No, what I said was, whether or not my view of history is influenced by hindsight, my argument is sound.

            And yet my personal opinion about X (see above) is only one small part of the opinion held by all people on Earth.

            My argument is that most people on Earth would vote X be added to the book of morality. Look around you, they already have.

            So ubiquitous is this principle of morality that kids these days may not even realize it was once very unpopular.

            That’s why Bruno was featured in this episode.

          • Pedro

            Your argument isn’t sound unless you prove why your standard of morality is above any other. No matter how many semantic games you play, that’s the essence of your claim.

          • Physics Police

            Yours is the impossible standard, that of objective moral truths which can be proven.

            There exists no such thing.

            You’re the philosophy guy, you should know that.

            I’ve done my best to make a case for X. That’s all one can hope to do when arguing morality!

            If you disagree, why don’t you just come out and say it? Dismissing my defense of X on the grounds of moral relativism is cowardice.

          • MarkML

            Let the guy at least save some face on the exit. Calling his claim preposterous was completely unnecessary.

          • Physics Police

            Thanks Mark. He does have a point, though. See, preposterous claims are those contrary to reason or common sense.

            We’ve mostly been talking past one another partly because I’m lacking an education in philosophy. Some of what he takes for common sense, I’ve never even heard of before!

            I do think that Pedro happens to be suffering a severe case of myopia, though, and is applying bogus philosophical arguments to rather banal issues.

            It’s common sense to the rest of us that Hell was never as real to anyone as Detroit is for you and me, because the former is fictional while the later is geographical.

            It’s common sense to the rest of us that Bruno was *not* judged and condemned in the same way as would a cult leader who incites people to commit mass suicide today. There’s an enormous difference between the two scenarios, if not for the same reason above, than for the reason that the Inquisition had immoral laws.

            This judgement of morality may be hindsight, but it seems to be common sense to all of us except Pedro.

            Given the disparity between common sense as we see it, and common sense as Pedro sees it, his use of the word preposterous is understandable.

          • Physics Police

            Somewhat like scientific theories, morality evolves over time.

            If we follow the scientific method, our scientific theories can better approximate the Cosmos.

            If we are follow a similar process, our morality, too, can better approximate what we all share in our hearts.

            Unlike electrons, humans vary in their individual moral conclusions. When I talk about morality, in general, I refer to what we can agree upon today, which is different (and better, in my personal opinion, as a person living today) from what was agreed upon in the year 1600.

            Let X be the claim that, “it’s immoral to hold without evidence a belief that causes someone needless harm.” That’s a rule that we can write down in the book of morality.

            It’s my personal opinion that X belongs in the book of morality.

            It’s also my personal opinion that today, across the Earth, X currently holds a firm seat in the book of morality.

            Sorry that this wasn’t clear before. I’ll take responsibility for making my own relativism sound like absolute without noticing it. Sorry.

          • Pedro

            OK. Now it’s fine. It’s your personal opinion, it’s not the truth. Good. That’s all I needed to hear.

          • Physics Police

            The difference is, one society is wrong. That matters. A lot.

          • Pedro

            Again, that’s hindsight. From their point of view, your society is wrong.

          • Physics Police

            No, because my beliefs are based on the scientific method, which includes a demand for evidence. An hypothetical person of the 1600s can make no such claim. That’s the difference. It’s important.

          • Pedro

            Please, don’t try to play me. What makes your beliefs better than anyone else’s?

          • Physics Police

            In this case, fact that I have the privilege of way more evidence of way better quality.

            I’m sorry you feel like I’m trying to play you. I intend to be honest, respectful, and kind. I will keep trying very hard to ensure my posts contain these three.

            It really and truly is my honest opinion that some of my beliefs, particularly the ones on the topic at hand, are closer to the truth than those of people in the 1600s. You may feel this is hubris on my part, but I respectfully disagree.

          • Pedro

            Well… either you are playing me, or you have a knack for trying to make your own relativism sound like absolute without noticing it.

            The people in the 1600 also had the honest opinion that their beliefs were much closer to the truth than yours. I have the honest opinion that my beliefs are much closer to the truth than yours.

            Saying that you have more evidence doesn’t mean anything, since the premises you use to judge the evidence can’t be recursively confirmed by evidence to infinity, and are subject to the same problem.

            I know you really want to believe you are better in knowledge and morality than those people. I can even understand that. But so far, your attempt to prove your moral superiority only proved your pretentiousness to give absolute moral judgement while not realizing the relativism of your own arguments to defend that.

          • Physics Police

            I don’t know what you mean by “absolute moral judgement” or “relativism”.

            I’m not a philosopher. I’m a scientist. I see everything through that lens. This is a virtue! Science is a process for finding things out. It works a lot better than any alternative.

            Hell yes, I claim moral superiority over the church of the 1600s when it comes to burning a man at the stake! How that is pretentious?

            I don’t go around claiming knowledge of things without having a good reason. I do claim that there isn’t a Hell. I think that’s a straightforward claim with a large body of evidence to back it up.

          • Pedro

            You didn’t claimed you have good reasons to believe the 1600s church was immoral. You claimed it was immoral because your standard of morality is truthful, and theirs wasn’t.

            Look… I’m just asking you to stand up to your claims. If you’re angry because you can’t, it’s not my fault, it’s yours. It was you who adopted a particular view as truth and made public claims about it without knowing if it’s truth or not. It wasn’t me.

            I know you’re a scientist. It’s obvious. I am a scientist too, and I’m also a philosophy student. I used to think exactly like you, and I decided to study philosophy because someone also shown me how I was doing the same you’re doing, making unsubstantiated claims about it without knowing anything about it. You know that old saying, “when everything you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail?” That’s what you’re doing.

            You say there’s a large body of evidence to back up your claim that there isn’t a Hell, but you don’t even know what Hell is. You called Hell a place, but in the Catholic Doctrine Hell isn’t a place, Hell is a personal state! No body of evidence can prove that doesn’t exist, no more than it can prove my own consciousness doesn’t exist. You think you have good reasons because you never studied and understood the problems you make unsubstantiated claims about.

            You can claim everything you want. A claim is a promise that you can prove what you’re saying. It’s worthless without proof, and so far, the claim that matters on this conversation is that your simple-minded utilitarian standard of morality is the truth. Well… I won’t insist on it since you’re obviously getting angry, but you not only haven’t proved that, you also don’t even know that it’s impossible to prove it. It’s a principle you have to hold in belief.

            Since you’re a physicist, here’s a quote from Paul Feyerabend that might inspire you into going a little beyond the narrow scope of science:

            The withdrawal of philosophy into a “professional” shell of its own has had disastrous consequences. The younger generation of physicists, the Feynmans, the Schwingers, etc., may be very bright; they may be more intelligent than their predecessors, than Bohr, Einstein, Schrödinger, Boltzmann, Mach and so on. But they are uncivilized savages, they lack in philosophical depth.

          • Physics Police

            Please don’t presume I’m angry. I appreciate you challenging me to stand up to your claims. Again, thank you!

          • Physics Police

            This is a straw-man of my position in this conversation: “You claimed it was immoral because your standard of morality is truthful, and theirs wasn’t.”

            In the very first post you addressed to me, you said: “Bruno was judged and condemned in the same way a cult leader who incites people to commit mass suicide today would be arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder.”

            These are not at all the same *way* of condemning a man. The difference is, one society has X in it’s book of morality, the other does not.

            I said “The difference is, one society is wrong. That matters. A lot.” When I used the word wrong, I assumed you knew I meant “wrong as per the principles laid out in the book of morality on Earth in 2014.” It’s a common short hand for people to use right and wrong as facts conflated with the general acceptance of those facts. We were talking past each other, and I own my half of that.

            There remains a difference between those two *ways* of condemning a man. One is by writing laws according to X, and one without. The former is good, the later is bad (says a person on behalf of the generally accepted morality of his time in the year 2014).

            Another person living in 2014 might beg to differ. Do you?

          • Physics Police

            I would side myself with Feynman over Feyerabend any day.

          • Pedro

            Choosing sides when it comes to knowledge isn’t the smartest thing to do.

            Frankly, if that’s all you have to say as a reply to this post, I think this conversation between us serves no more purpose. Glad to meet you. Good luck.

          • Physics Police

            What a silly thing to say!

            False by example. I choose sides on evolution vs. creationism, which happens also to be the smart thing to do.

            I didn’t choose sides based on some base affinity for Feynman, but for well-earned respect for his methods and opinions.

          • Pedro


          • Physics Police

            What was proved? Evolution by natural selection is the origin of species. Creationism, if/when makes any predictions, is falsified. I chose the scientific theory over the unscientific alternative religion has to offer.

            That’s the smartest thing to do!

          • Physics Police

            There is a whole area of science called neuropsychology which studies how the brain works to produce a mind. Evidence from this field of study has shown that our minds are a product of our brains. If you destroy the brain, you destroy the mind. This leaves no room for an afterlife.

            I won’t harass anyone who chooses to privately believe in an afterlife. But if they believe in an afterlife of torment to punish people for sins in this life, they are going to get in trouble. That belief is without evidence and contradicts what evidence we do have. It is harmful, and therefore immoral under X (said as one man on behalf of the accepted moral principles in his time of 2014).

            Many people hold X but give special exemption to the Catholic Doctrine Hell. This is illogical.

          • Physics Police

            I strongly reject your criticism “the premises you use to judge the evidence” as circular logic. When I say evidence, I’m talking about real things like a photo of the Earth from space. There is no premise on which I judge that photo. It’s just a photo. I can just point to Italy in the photo. The educated person from the 1600s, if educated in geography, will recognize his homeland in that photo. That doesn’t recursively depend on anything. It depends on what’s shown in the photo!

          • Pedro

            I never said circular logic. I said evidence can’t be used to validate evidence recursively to infinity. There’s one point where you have to admit you don’t have further evidence you just believe in some principle that holds the chain together.

            Anyway, the issue here is morality, and you can’t prove morality with an inductive method like empiricism. To use your expression, it may give you a very good reason, but not truth.

          • Pedro

            You strongly reject the problem of induction? Well… good luck.

          • Physics Police

            No. I haven’t studied the problem of induction.

            What I rejected is your claim that beliefs based on better evidence a la the scientific method run into any such problem.

            Evidence isn’t some philosophical problem. It’s photos and measurements and real, tangible things that are ideally made accessible to all inquiring minds.

            I hope you haven’t confused my belief that Hell isn’t real, which is based on evidence, for our other discussion about morality.

          • Pedro

            “Evidence isn’t some philosophical problem.”

            Man… I won’t insult your intelligence by assuming you really mean that, because I know you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Seriously, study philosophy before making any claims regarding it.

            “I hope you haven’t confused my belief that Hell isn’t real”

            You do have a knack for changing your claims, don’t you? You never said you believe Hell isn’t real. You said it doesn’t exist as a categorical fact. If you’re retracting that to a personal belief now, I’m relieved.

          • Physics Police

            I didn’t choose the best words in that second quotation. Yet both things are true:

            1. I believe hell isn’t real.
            2. Hell isn’t real.

          • Physics Police

            When I say evidence isn’t some philosophical problem, I mean to counter your over-indulgence in philosophical minutia about a really prosaic statement, that there’s plain, simple evidence for certain claims, and that we can trust in a common-sense interpretation of that evidence.

            For example, that hell is a fictitious place.

            “… for them, Hell was as real as Detroit is for you and me.”

            No, that’s not true, because evidence.

  • J. Patrick Fadely

    Bruno was a crank, to be sure, and the Cosmos account borders on hagiography. But his cosmology was also far more daring than Digges’s. Bruno abandoned the Aristotelian/Ptolemaic notion of the heavenly spheres; Digges just reshuffled them. Thus what Bruno means by “an infinite universe” is in its physical manifestation quite different from what Digges means.

  • doctordogood

    Galileo’s ideas about the universe didn’t upset all the inhabitants of Europe. To the Jews, who counted astronomy as an important undertaking, and weren’t wed to a Copernican concept in the first place, Galileo’s assertions were hardly disruptive. Where they differed from Galileo was in their willingness to stand for their beliefs unto death. Jews were extensively martyred by the Inquisition; Galileo recanted.

    • Pedro

      Nonsense. Galileo had the support of the Pope himself to publish his ideas as hypothesis, but decided to mock him by attributing his geocentric ideas to the foolish character in his dialogues. The whole Galileo affair was a political issue, since the Pope couldn’t allow him to get away with trying to ridicule him after giving him support for publication.

      Jews were extensively martyred by the Inquisition? You need to read something about the Inquisition written in the last 30 years. The Inquisition couldn’t bring jews to trial. Those who ordered the expulsion and killing of all jews were the civil authorities, not the church. The Inquisition could trial only the converted jews who were accused of practicing judaism secretly, while pretending to be christians to circumvent the civil law.

      • masher

        Don’t bring facts to a knife fight.

  • Basios Vasileios

    I am not concerned with the series “Cosmos” or every other’s
    political agenda. What I feel it is really constructive is that people
    want to know more about Giordano Bruno. Actually he believed in the
    unity of religion and science. Yet another religion of the dogmatic
    versions of it and another science of the blind materialistic versions
    of it. Matter for him was divine and Divinity material. Both
    transcending mere conceptualization. Check out if you care Hilary’s
    Gatti classics:


    and a rare but undeservingly forgotten book by Ramon G. Mendoza:


    More to discover if one searches why Leibniz used the term “monad” but had to conceal his sources


    Hope you enjoy the adventure of discovering ” … who broke those chains and those doors from which few rarely escape? …” :-)

  • Brandon Roberts

    look they could do a creationist version

  • Chris Manhattan

    There is a God. The next stop in our journey (life after life) is a “spirit world”. The “spirit world” is filled with science that we can not fully comprehend or grasp while we are here on Earth confined to the laws of humans living in the flesh.

    So far what we know is God is light filled with unconditional love that welcomes and fills our spirit upon our transition from Earth to the “spirit world”.

    Based on accounts, God is located in a place that can be reached within a short period of time while outside of the body.

    However, this is a place where things such as distance, the body, space, time, verbal language, sound, and thought are all merged together.

    In this place of unknown science Identity is much less individual and far more connected to all the things including what we’ve learned and experienced here on Earth.

    Death is not a end. It has been described time and time again as a quick, smooth, and natural transition of the spirit from this place to the next.

    Since the days of Plato to the present humans that die some for over an hour– their hearts stop and their brain activity ceases to function — that are resuscitated back to life all explain similar experiences.

    These NDEs (Near Death Experiences) can be studied and researched going back thousands of years. More recently a neurosurgeon by the name of Dr Eben Alexander had a NDE which he explains in his NYTimes best seller “Proof of Heaven”.

    Understanding what happens when we leave the body and this Earth will give everyone a much clearer picture of life, science, religion, God, and all things which are connected.

    Rather than argue the differences, it’s best to use that energy to research, explore, and try to understand the connections.

    Here is a link to some recent NDEs that will help you get a better understanding of how “Science” and “God” are connected.


    For a list of thousands of accounts of NDEs and life after life here is great link. http://iands.org/nde-stories.html

    Chris Manhattan

    • SquidEatinDough


  • Selina Jackson

    I’m sharing this testimony because someone out there might have same problem,Am very happy today because i was having a sleepless night since the only man i have ever love in my life left me for another girl,trying to get him back i met this testimony of a Woman called Sandra and she said somebody called Dr abacha helped her to bring back her lover. i took a leaps of faith and contacted Dr abacha and he also brought back the only man i have ever love to me.I’m so happy sharing this testimony,contact Dr abacha in his email: abachasolutiontemple@gmail.com and believe me his going to make you happy once again okay

  • nostradamus

    Cosmos suffers from a lot of things. An objective science show with pinpoint accuracy, it is not.

  • poopstar

    Let me break this down for the masses…the difference between RELIGION and things like SCIENCE and even PHILOSOPHY:

    RELIGION(S) *start* with a specific set of ideas/beliefs…then *working backwards* from these conclusions, they attempt to explain the world in ways that are self-consistent with the original assertions. they approach “science or philosophy” by STARTING with the answers to the problem/questions and then find explanations that will support their original answers. if during this process some evidence contradicts their original conclusions, they do not consider the possibility that their “answers” could be incorrect…this is an obvious bias in their method of explanation.

    SCIENCE/PHILOSOPHY starts with no preconceived ideas, beliefs and/or answers…..as such it only attempts to explain the world using things like evidence, experiments, and logic. it attempts to answer questions of science/philosophy by asking more questions and then testing ideas out. if they find evidence that contradicts an earlier conclusion, they immediately consider that their original “answer” was incorrect. in these fields, biases are frowned upon and are rigorously removed from the process when possible. they do not START with a conclusion and then only consider evidence that will support these original claims. in fact, they do the exact opposite….whenever they arrive at an answer, they are looking for evidence that would prove them wrong.

    i do not believe science and theism are incompatible….but I absolutely do not like when people try to mix them to support a preconceived idea. there are plenty of ways to accept both religion and science and IMO, religion should be about FAITH anyways, not science.

  • DrLopata

    Ofcouse he was arguing a lot, he was right and the stupid ignorant christians were against him.

  • Andrea S.

    Your vision of Bruno’s tought is extremely reductionist. You make him appear as a dogmatic philosopher. It’s true, he was not a scientist, but that doesn’t make him merely an “ideologue”; it’s true to say he was a preceptor. And why does it matter who was first? That makes Bruno a plagiarist of Digges? Bruno was anything but a plagiarist, he was always concerned of making his own the ideas of others by transforming them, not just repeating them. Please, read ‘Idiota Triumphans’, and you’ll see the polemic was not about “the proper use of a compass”. Now, if the point is to show who made the best Copernicus’s lecture, and who made the best reverence, then who are the “ideologuists”? Please, stop dismissing people and toughts just because they don’t fit in this new trend of us called ‘science’. Like Adorno and Horkenheimer said time ago, science is the new myth. What’s really ironic, is that this new myth is fiercely aggressive with others not -too much- different from it.

  • Miguel Padilla

    300 BC – 210 BC – Aristarchus of Samos. Greek astronomer and mathematician. He is considered the first person to propose a scientific heliocentric model of the solar system, placing the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of the known universe. He correctly deduced the other planets in correct order from the Sun.http://www.spaceandmotion.com/cosmology-history-astronomy-universe-space.htm


Out There

Notes from the far edge of space, astronomy, and physics.

About Corey S. Powell

Corey S. Powell is DISCOVER's Editor at Large and former Editor in Chief. Previously he has sat on the board of editors of Scientific American, taught science journalism at NYU, and been fired from NASA. Corey is the author of "20 Ways the World Could End," one of the first doomsday manuals, and "God in the Equation," an examination of the spiritual impulse in modern cosmology. He lives in Brooklyn, under nearly starless skies.


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