In Fox’s newest scientific discovery and documentary show, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson aims to present science in a way that has meaning and can influence everyone who watches. So far, his show has been successful as it has enjoyed increasingly impressive ratings. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an acclaimed scientist who has been very vocal on his views against religion in several essays in addition to his self-proclaimed Agnostic lifestyle. So, unsurprisingly, Cosmos quickly addressed the subject of “science vs. religion,” and in the third episode of the show (titled “When Knowledge Conquered Fear” with knowledge representing science and fear representing religion), the host and show took a more aggressive approach to discrediting religion.
In the third episode of Cosmos, the show and Neil deGrasse Tyson presented a stance that, historically, religion has been a form of fear and early science, specifically Isaac Newton’s works and discoveries, removed the fear from the world’s population because they could now rely on science to discover the unknown instead of fearing it. The show essentially claimed that because of Newton, there was now scientific evidence to explain many modern discoveries and, therefore, society did not need to rely on the explanation that God created everything.
Many believers in God’s involvement with science are upset that the show, and host, has taken a hard-line approach that does not allow for the possibility or opinion of creationism. In fact, many leaders have spoken out against the show and its complete separation of science and religion. Creationist Danny Faulkner of Answers in Genesis commented, “I was struck in the first episode where [Tyson] talked about science and how, you know, all ideas are discussed, you know, everything is up for discussion –- it’s all on the table — and I thought to myself, ‘No, consideration of special creation is definitely not open for discussion, it would seem.'” In Saddlebrige Township, Oklahoma, residents have taken a stance that if the show is not cancelled from all State television they will create a state-wide vote to secede from the United States because of the anti-religious and anti-theist message.
In Neil deGrasse Tyson’s defense, he has stated that science and religion can be compatible and Cosmos is simply a scientific show with a scientific theme covering scientific topics.