Casey Reacts to “Cosmos” Episode 6

Today we have the reaction of Casey Luskin — our favorite creationist — to the latest episode of Cosmos: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY which aired last weekend, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It was titled “Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still,” in which Tyson explored the atomic and sub-atomic structure of the universe.

We already posted Klinghoffer Awaits “Cosmos” Episode 6 Tonight. That was where Klinghoffer slipped up and admitted that the Discoveroids’ intelligent designer — blessed be he! — is “transcendent.” That means it exists beyond the space and time of the universe it designed. A claim like that, at least in our experience, has heretofore been made only in reference to Yahweh. There’s little doubt now (there never really was any) that the “scientific theory” of the Discoveroids is all about mysticism and supernatural phenomena.

Anyway, today it’s Casey’s turn. His post is: Cosmos Episode 6: Science as the New Sacred, and Failed Darwinian Predictions About Insects and Flowers. Let’s see what he thinks. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Cosmos episode 6 is ostensibly about the miniature reality of the atom. Once again, there are some spectacular animations explaining the nature of the atom, and how they interact to form chemical bonds. We are also treated to animations of steampunk-style molecular machines, supposedly mimicking molecular machines in biology. Host Neil deGrasse Tyson has yet to dare tackle the question of how molecular machines might have evolved, but in this episode he did throw in a little tidbit supposedly highlighting a successful prediction of Darwinian evolution.

Lots of derogatory language there. Episode 6 is “ostensibly” about the miniature reality of the atom. Tyson doesn’t “dare to tackle the question of of how molecular machines might have evolved.” BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He’s afraid! And Tyson tossed in “a little tidbit supposedly highlighting a successful prediction” of Darwin’s theory. Casey’s going to rip that tidbit to shreds. Here it comes:

He [Tyson] observes, “plants covered the surface of the earth for hundreds of millions of years, before they put out their first flower,” and then states that this led Darwin to make a prediction:

[Casey quotes Tyson on Darwin’s prediction:] On this basis of his theory of evolution through natural selection, Darwin speculated that somewhere on the Island of Madagascar there must live flying insects with extraordinarily lengthy tongues — ones long enough to reach the pollen. No one had ever seen such a beast there. But Darwin insisted that an animal fitting this description must exist. It wasn’t until more than 50 years later that Darwin was proven right.

Casey isn’t impressed. He tells us:

First of all, you wouldn’t need to know anything about evolution to make the prediction Darwin supposedly made. Given the shape of the flower, if there weren’t some insect capable of sipping its nectar, the flower could not attract insects capable of pollinating that species, and the plant would die out. There isn’t some profound evolutionary principle at work here — a middle school level knowledge of angiosperm reproduction could probably lead you to expect some insect exists that enjoys this species’ flowers and fosters its pollination.

We don’t disagree. The existence of that insect is a relatively trivial prediction. Let’s read on:

Second, it actually turns out that Darwinian evolution has had great difficulties making good predictions when it comes to flowering plants (angiosperms) and insects — not the least of which is the abrupt appearance of many angiosperm groups in the fossil record — without clear evolutionary precursors — in early Cretaceous. Darwin himself called the “rapid development” of “higher plants” an “abominable mystery” for his theory.

Oh dear — “abrupt appearance.” Such discontinuities in the currently discovered fossil record are — in the Discoveroids’ view of things — uncontrovertible evidence that their magical Designer did the deed. This is a pure God of the gaps claim, and it’s worthless. Casey continues:

Somehow this abrupt appearance of plants was never mentioned by Cosmos as failed prediction of Darwinian theory in this area.

Maybe that’s because it’s a prediction that hasn’t failed — not in the way that, say, the now discredited Steady State theory was discredited by the discovery of the cosmic microwave background. The fossil record will always have gaps. The actual prediction of Darwin’s theory is that any fossils that are found will always be in the expected sequence. No one will ever find a Precambrian rabbit.

Casey devotes several paragraphs to a few other equally pathetic examples of what he claims are failed Darwinian predictions about insects and flowering plants. More gaps. Hey Casey: You want some successful scientific predictions from evolution theory? Okay, here’s a couple:

• Every fossil ever unearthed will fit into the evolutionary pattern. If you find something that doesn’t fit, let us know. Until then, we’ll keep asking Where Are The Anachronistic Fossils?

• Even discoveries unexpected by Darwin– like DNA — will support the theory of evolution.

And since Casey brought up the subject of predictions, what about ID predictions? Like “there’s no junk DNA.” What about all the organisms with genomes far larger than ours — like onions, amoebae, the Norway spruce, and even moss. We discussed all that in We Welcome Our Moss Overlords. How’s that “no junk DNA” prediction working out, Casey? No answer? Okay. Then he tells us:

No episode of Cosmos would be complete without the customary bashing of religious belief in the supernatural. Here’s how Tyson puts it in this episode:

[Casey quotes Tyson:] The most revolutionary innovation of all to come to us from this ancient world, was the idea that natural events were neither punishment nor reward from capricious gods. The workings of nature could be explained without invoking the supernatural.

You know how stuff like that upsets the Discoveroids. Casey lashes out:

Tyson tells us that the idea that the universe could be explained by the workings of natural laws came from Thales of Miletus. According to Tyson, the very idea of a “cosmos out of chaos, a universe governed by the order of natural laws, that we could actually figure out” was the “epic adventure” that Thales initiated. And like we’ve seen over and over again, Cosmos‘s early heroes of science weren’t materialists who rejected belief in God, but were theists who believe in a supreme God who created everything.

Casey insists that Thales actually believed in Zeus, which doesn’t help his theory about a transcendent designer who can’t be distinguished from Yahweh. He does admit that Democritus, whom Tyson also mentioned, was indeed an atheist. He says:

So what is Cosmos now — maybe 1 for 10 early scientific thinkers cited by Cosmos to bash religion actually were atheists? In any case, we must give credit where credit is due: Democritus was an atheist who rejected the pantheon of Greek gods. But science would not really get started until hundreds of years later when Christian scholars — who also rejected the capricious Greek gods in favor of a single God with a supreme mind — created an intelligible universe.

Ah yes, Christianity and science go hand in hand. But only if one ignores the long, dreary, utterly wretched centuries of the Dark Ages when Christianity ruled the West and there was no science at all — except in the Islamic world which, for a time, appreciated the work of the Greeks. And as we’ve said before, regardless of the religious beliefs of individual scientists, there is no scientific discovery or theory in astronomy, physics, chemistry, or biology that depends upon anything in scripture. The bible is either irrelevant to or contradicted by science — which is why the Discoveroids oppose it. Here’s more:

At one point in episode 6, Tyson enters a cathedral, and for what feels like many seconds, an atom with orbiting electrons is portrayed overlapping with the stained glass windows of a cathedral. Why the strange emphasis on this imagery? If you follow new atheist thinking and literature, the answer is simple. An important component of new atheist thinking is their realization that science lacks the spiritual inspiration that religion provides for people. They are desperate to find ways to make science into a new form of human spirituality to replace religion.


And that’s exactly what we see in Cosmos episode 6: today’s sacred cathedrals become monuments not to God who creates atoms that build the cathedral, but to the atom. If that doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I suppose I don’t know what will.

That’s how Casey’s essay ends. We wonder how Tyson feels, now that he’s been shown to be a fool.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

15 responses to “Casey Reacts to “Cosmos” Episode 6

  1. If Tyson had the ability to understand and speak with gerbils, he might take issue with Gerbilicious calling him a New Atheist.

  2. In the Church of the Profoundly Stupid, The Gerb would be at least an Archbishop.

  3. The Gerb would have to renounce his affiliation with the Church of the Profoundly Dishonest first.

  4. Ed observes, “The Gerb would have to renounce his affiliation with the Church of the Profoundly Dishonest first.”

    But — but — wouldn’t that be … dishonest?

  5. The stratigraphic rock record has gaps. They are called unconformities. Casey’s “geology” degree. Just one of many
    things Casey doesn’t like to think about.

  6. docbill1351

    Something else the Gerb avoids typing into Google is

    “casey luskin is”

    because Google suggests an answer and Google is usually right.

  7. Hey, docbill, i took your “casey luskin is” bait, and several minutes of hilarity ensued. By the way, our beloved Casey has his very own entry at the Encyclopedia of America Loons. 🙂

  8. We are also treated to animations of steampunk-style molecular machines, supposedly mimicking molecular machines in biology.”

    Actually, I wasn’t very impressed by this “chlorophyl molecular machine” myself. It really didn’t show/explain much at all, in fact it looked rather confusing. Then again, we have the flagellum molecular machine of the dishonesty institute, don’t we, which is a total oversimplification of the flagellum.

    Tyson: The most revolutionary innovation of all to come to us from this ancient world, was the idea that natural events were neither punishment nor reward from capricious gods. The workings of nature could be explained without invoking the supernatural.

    Understandable how Luskin would be upset by this statement as that’s the whole basis of the dishonesty institute’s assertions, i.e., the god/s will punish those who question and don’t accept the high priest’s interpretations of the direct messages they receive from the god/s. That’s the whole point of religion, punishment if you don’t believe.

    Interesting current book on this subject is “The God Argument” by Grayling.

  9. Gerbil is ignorant, or lying, about the “sudden” appearance of angiosperms in the Cretaceous. The ancestral group(s) of angiosperms has indeed been a mystery, but paleontologists are not clueless about it – they probably arose from seed ferns. Angiosperm pollen microfossils first appear in the fossil record at about the same time as the first angiosperm chemofossils (oleoline), but there are many, well-known pre-Cretaceous “angiosperm” fossils that hint at ancestors (for example, the leaf genera Sanmiguelia and Furcula from the Upper Triassic, possible flowers in the Upper Triassic – Synangispadixis and Axelrodia, the genus Problematospermum, the wood genus Sahnioxylon, and the pollen genera Eucommiidites, Equisetosporites, and Cornetipollis (the latter 3 have angiosperm pollen characteristics, but probably aren’t from true angiosperms). This reality flies in the face of what Gerbil says. This is more evidence that the Dishonesty Institute does NO research at all – they could have looked this info. up in the scientific literature. Oh wait, I forgot – they don’t “do” scientific literature.

  10. Mr. St. John observes: “Oh wait, I forgot – they don’t “do” scientific literature.”

    Instead, they can usually be found drooling and exercising their prayer bones. But, never forget that they want their curious brand of creationism known as the “Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design.” I’m sure Gerb includes that mantra in his nightly mumblings to his imaginary sky fairy.

  11. “there was no science at all — except in the Islamic world”
    MNb whispers softly: India ….

    Guess what? India initiated materialism as well:

    Might there be a correleation?
    Even more interesting:

    “when Christian scholars created an intelligible universe.”
    W-wait a minute – I thought the Seattle version of the Intelligent Designer – blessed be him/her/it – transcended denomination as well? The Gerb admits here good YHWH as well.

    ” Oh wait, I forgot – they don’t “do” scientific literature.”
    JStJ, you’re wrong here. “Doing” scientific literature is what the Gerbil and co get paid for. “Doing” here means mine-quoting and cherry-picking, all according to the four steps methodology our dear SC formulated so clearly.

  12. For the atom/stained glass image: um, how about because it’s the electronic structure of atoms that give rise to such beautiful transparent substances with deep colors? That makes such artifacts possible?

    Nah. Must be an attack on religion.

  13. Casey, deconstructed: “Science has no place in church. Religion must be welcome in science classrooms.”

  14. I was actually terribly worried when I saw the chloroplast “factory” scene. Only six episodes in and I was afraid they’d blown their entire CG budget and had to settle for what looked like a clip from ReBoot.

  15. The Gerbil doesn’t make mistakes, as in errors, other than spelling and grammar typos. However, the Gerbil is a master of creating mistakes, misrepresentations, outright lies, obfuscation and all the other glorious rhetorical output of a yeoman propagandist.

    Like this one:

    Host Neil deGrasse Tyson has yet to dare tackle the question of how molecular machines might have evolved, …

    Yet the Disco Tute is FAMOUS for it’s oversimplified, occasionally stolen, CGI animations of cellular functions, offering NO explanation of their origin, well, except for *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* U-KNOW-WHO.

    I can appreciate the problem of exposing non-scientists to the complexities of biochemistry. The alternative to a cute animation is the real thing:

    Light and Dark reaction

    And this doesn’t even begin to touch the complicated quantum electrodynamics (yes, I said QUANTUM – calling Deepak Chopra!) involving the absorption of photons, energizing electrons and all that stuff that I once sort of almost knew about, possibly, if I squinted.