Monday, March 10, 2014

Critical Review - Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 1

So all the atheists and mathemagicians are going wild for Tyson's Cosmos so I figured I should review it. I know there will be much more to include so I will update with more critique as I watch it.

I'm at about 15 minutes in and he's already dropping crazy-bombs on the audience:

He says, "Observable universe? What does that mean? Even for us in our ship of the imagination [mumbling imagination] there's a limit to how far we can see in SPACE-TIME-O-VISION™. It's our cosmic horizon. Beyond that horizon lie parts of the universe that are too far away. There hasn't been enough time in the 13.8 billion year history [eyelids drooping as his brain fully shuts off] of the universe for their light to have reached us."

So Tyson here is telling us straight up that the light of something needs to reach our eyes before we can ever imagine what it is. I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say that folks like Tyson impose this limitation upon themselves because they aren't sure how to think rationally, and I'll explain why I say this below. They aren't sure how to use reason alone to determine rational assumptions and explanations so they rely on appearances alone.

And that's not even the worst thing. Relying on appearances is subjective. A thing could appear one way for one person, and a completely different way to another. So in the end, the 'way something appears' is determined by opinion and for social animals like us, popular opinion is usually what wins out.

Our imaginations cannot possibly be limited by the fact that we cannot see the light from these stars. That's why we understand the difference between 'observe' and 'imagine'. We don't NEED to observe in order to imagine- we can do this by reasoning rationally and visualizing how things could be. But it's no wonder a guy like Tyson would wish to stop at the 'cosmic horizon'... because he can't reason anything rational beyond (or within it). He relies on mindless tracing or reflection of what he SEES because he cannot understand. This becomes completely clear when he tosses out the half-baked idea that we could be part of 'an infinite foam of multiverses'.

What physically forms the bubbles in the foam? What's between and outside the bubbles giving them form? How could there possibly an infinite amount of objects when objects are limited by definition? Don't expect answers to these crucial questions from Tyson. The fact that he's willing to say this absolutely ridiculous 'infinite multiverse' is even possible shows that he'll reject your critical questions from the start.


Immediately after DeGrasshead Tyson tries to sell you his absurdist wares with high quality CGI, wonderous music, and the passion of a Born Again Christian, he's got you emotionally ready to accept anything. Unfortunately, the problem with accepting something based on emotion alone instead of reason is that it tends to make people feel like a little child. Immature children who have not fully learned to reason effectively must accept the orders of their parents based on an instinctual emotional fear that displeasing your parents may result in abandonment and eventually death. This goes back to our hunter-gatherer origins and has stuck with us ever since, as a survival mechanism. But effective preachers like Tyson manipulate you with these emotions to get you to accept their bogus claims about reality. Whether they do this consciously or not is irrelevant, the fact is that it's clear that he does this.

All of the flashy graphics & musical numbers are there- not for the purpose of educating you about anything important or relevant in explaining any Theory of Science to you, but it is to make you feel small. Like a child who can't think for themselves and needs Father Tyson to show the way. He even throws it in your face to really get you to accept this consciously when he asks, "Are you feeling small?" He tries to justify it by claiming that your size in relation to other massive objects in the Universe somehow determines your potential ability to think clearly and rationally about anything, regardless of size, scale or distance. Once you think you're limited, you're much more willing to accept that you simply have a problem with understanding, rather than the presenter having a problem with their theory.

So, this is a bad start to this documentary. I'll be making more comments as I continue watching.


  1. Thank you for writing this Mike. Pay attention to when he will start trying to explain how the Earth formed from pre-existing rocks, absent gravitation, heat, pressure and electricity.

    I try to make my papers as easy to understand as possible:

  2. Could you please explain your point about the absurdity of an infinite amount of stuff to me? I thought that the idea of an infinite universe was that, if one starts from any particular location and heads out in any direction, one will keep encountering matter forever along the way. Is that possible, in your view?