Saturday, March 08, 2014

Cosmos Revisited

Just thought I'd give a heads up alert for those that are interested in science to the new Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson, which starts this coming Sunday on Fox and some other networks.  Check your local listings in your area if interested.  For some reason a while back I got on a jag about watching the old Cosmos series with Carl Sagan.  I watched that and found many other clips of him on Youtube.  I'd forgotten how great that series was, and had never seen the remastered version of it, which is well worth checking out.  If it ever comes to blu ray disc, I'd like to pick up a copy, and I'm hoping that if the newer Cosmos series attracts enough interest perhaps they'll re-release the older series as well. 

I read a statistic the other day from the Scientific American that said, "The evidence is clear: American students are technologically illiterate, possessing few if any of the mathematics and science skills needed to function successfully in the world today or as it will be in future decades."    Pretty alarming. 

I guess many young people believe that science lacks any relevance to their lives. Yet nothing could be further from the truth; one only needs to look at the changes such scientific inventions as the printing press, radio, television, computers, and modern medicine have brought to our lives.  An understanding of basic scientific principles is crucial to our understanding of the world around us. 

When I was watching the original series of Cosmos back in the 80's, one of the first couple of episodes dealt with evolution.  I had a boss that assessing my work the next day and I mentioned the series, thinking he might be interested in tuning in to catch some of it in casual conversation.  He quickly waved his hand cutting me off mid-sentence dismissing the topic adding, he didn't believe in evolution.  That sort of floored me.  On one hand, it took me aback that he didn't believe in evolution of any kind, shape, or form, and two, that he could be so freakin' close minded as to shut the conversation down immediately, and stop any sort of discussion right then and there.  But he was my boss, so I shut up.

One of the things I dislike about our current culture is that we don't communicate that much.  That opposite ideas are not welcome, we are a polarized society, and a lot of us cannot tolerate a civil discussion, without getting all  pissed, start raising our voices, start cussing or having some mocking tone to disapprove of another person's opinion.  I blame some or most of this on our political climate.  Hell, in most circles, you can't even discuss  politics or religion, without someone stamping their foot, or literally walking away from you with some smug or hard feelings.  I've not found anyone that would want to sit down and discuss in an earnest manner such things--I've generally get gotten the wave off like my boss did. 

Well, I don't guess I have a tidy conclusion here.  As far as science and evolution goes, I believe in them and scientific study and fact.  I think a lot of people don't want to accept evolution as it won't fit into their perspective of religion.  I have no solution for them, yet can't understand how they view the world either.  The nay-sayers believe in science when it comes to medicine, air travel, going to the moon, and any of our creature comforts, but when it challenges their belief structure, be it evolution, global warming, or  some other topic they oppose, it's always, oh, those crazy old atheist scientist and the wave off.


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