I was watching the clock like a hawk watches a plump rabbit; at 8:30 it was bedtime for my son, Gabe, but my daughter Kat was still fighting it. At 8:51 we laid her down *again* with the hopes that she would finally fall asleep. We waited. She seemed to be down, so I scampered upstairs, snagged a snack and a drink, hit the bathroom and leapt back onto my seat just in time for the opening credits to finish rolling on my new favourite show, Cosmos.
From Wikipedia: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an American science documentary television series. It is presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson and is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan. .. The series premiered on March 9, 2014, simultaneously in the US across ten 21st Century Fox networks."
The first episode was riveting and I loved every second of it. Science and exploration are one of the things I get really excited and passionate about and Cosmos didn't disappoint. I learned about the Local Group of galaxies, to which our own Milky Way belongs, and the Virgo Supercluster, to which that group of galaxies belongs. There are MILLIONS of superclusters out there that we know about! Imagine all the stuff we DON'T know about! The Universe IS SO BIG it blows my mind. Literally, I cannot comprehend how large it is. But that's ok, I have Cosmos to help me come to grips with all the awesome.
Thanks to a healthy interest in this stuff for a long time, and a decent education in the same, Cosmos doesn't have a lot of surprises for me so far, but I imagine for a lot of folks it's very educational and informative. Also, I love how it factually but gently destroys the fundamentalist Christian worldview of God creating the world and everything else in 6 days, the world only being so many thousands of years old, etc etc. It doesn't argue, it just lays out the evidence and moves on with the science. Much like during the Bill Nye 'debate' of a couple of weeks ago, it's obvious to anyone with an education of any kind, anyone who's NOT drinking the fundamentalist Kool-Aid, that particular worldview needs to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Don't get me wrong; I am a person of faith. I have deep respect for (most) people of faith, and (most) faiths. My faith, however, was formed and is based in science (for the most part). Watching a show like Cosmos, for me, is almost a religious experience. Learning about how the Universe works, our place in it, the origins of life and evolution, natural selection and the Big Bang, are I imagine what listening to the stories of Moses, Mohammed and Jesus, Buddah and Krishna are, to people who feel and believe very strongly in those various faiths. The modern world, however, has no place for people who believe that the Bible or any other set of ancient rules needs to be followed to the letter. It has no place for those who willfully and hatefully ignore science.
Cosmos could be a real gamechanger for people, an introduction to deep concepts and interesting topics that maybe they've never thought about before. We need science, not fundamentalism. We need to remember and return to our close relationship with nature, to be a part OF it, not try to continue living as if we are a part FROM it.