In a criminal trial when a defense lawyer is faced with overwhelming witness testimony and evidentiary documentation their client is guilty, they resort to sowing doubt in the jury’s mind in hopes one juror will vote for acquittal because they are not certain facts of the case are completely true. The concept of sowing doubt is a favorite method of religious right creationists to disprove scientific facts supporting evolutionary theory by convincing observers that science is questionable and their religious mythos explaining natural phenomenon based on supernatural phenomenon is true and unquestionable.
The success of Fox’s science documentary series “Cosmos” has so rattled creationists unable to cast doubt on de Grasse Tyson’s methodical presentation of fact-based information about the Universe that creationists are demanding equal time on the program. Their goal is simple; cast doubt on empirical scientific data about how the Universe and life on Earth came into existence using archaic mythology they claim refutes science and proves the creation myth is fact. Fortunately, de Grasse Tyson, a forward thinking and intelligent man disabused creationists of the idea they will ever get equal time on Cosmos when he said, “You don’t talk about the spherical Earth with NASA, and then say let’s give equal time to the flat Earthers. There is no way a noted scientist is going to give equal time to ancient mythology to waste time when he could be presenting science.
Creationists claim their supernatural mythology will give the scientific documentary “balance” about how the Universe began and operates by giving equal weight to the bible story and convince viewers to question science and consider facts “might” be false. It is impossible to balance science, a systematic enterprise building and organizing knowledge in the form of testable explanations about the universe, with religious faith based on trust in the supernatural. Faith is often used as a conceptual synonym for hope, but it is also a handy excuse for “the bible is fact and there is no proof, but I believe it anyway” crowd to support their inability to accept reality. This dizzying belief was best exhibited by creationist Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis notoriety who claimed he believes the creation story so strongly that nothing can change his mind exposing him as a superstitious moron with no interest in truth.
Some of the criticism of de Grasse Tyson by creationists’ at “Answers in Genesis” were that “Creationists aren’t even on the radar screen for them, they wouldn’t even consider us plausible at all; I don’t recall seeing any interviews with people.” Ken Ham asserted that science presented on Cosmos is wrong and that “the big bang model is unable to explain many scientific observations, but this is of course not mentioned.” The beauty of science is that it does not explain anything that is unobserved. As an aside, last week a major new scientific discovery just provided “smoking gun” evidence for “inflation” that is a crucial component of scientists’ understanding of the incredibly stunning events that happened just after the Big Bang.
During an appearance on the Janet Mefferd Show, Answers In Genesis and Creation Museum spokesman Danny Faulkner criticized de Grasse Tyson and Cosmos for not providing equal airtime for creationists to balance scientific facts with bible mythos. Mefferd agreed that de Grasse Tyson had no interest in being fair and balanced saying, “Boy, but when you have so many scientists who simply do not accept Darwinian evolution it seems to me that that might be something to throw in there, you know, the old, ‘some scientists say this, others disagree and think this,’ but that’s not even allowed.” Faulkner completely agreed with Mefferd and said, “Consideration of special Creation is definitely not open for discussion it would seem.” For the record, Mefferd’s “so many scientists” remark does not comport with the fact that evolutionary theory is nearly universally accepted with 97% of all scientists acknowledging the Universe, Earth, and all life on Earth did not begin 6,000 years ago as creationists claim.
Any semi-intelligent human being understands there are not always two sides to every story just because someone mired in faith and ancient mythology does not agree with something science has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. De Grasse Tyson stated, as plainly as possible, that “The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact.” Creationists still cannot understand what “scientific theory” means, but Tyson’s simile makes the point that even creationists believe gravity is real and not as they claim evolution is, just a theory and unproven. If the think gravity is just a theory, they should step off the top of Empire State Building to prove the “theory” of gravity is just an unproven idea postulated by some crazed liberal scientist.
This bizarre idea of using religious myth to sow doubt in the public’s mind is used to great effect by Republicans to deny global climate change they claim is a devious “liberal hoax” perpetrated by scientists of questionable repute. In fact, conservatives are already bashing Tyson as a global warming proponent and hope to garner support by claiming he is attacking the religious people. Jeffrey Meyer, writing for Media Research Center, criticized de Grasse Tyson’s appearance on Late Night With Seth Myers by asserting “Meyers and de Grasse Tyson chose to take cheap shots at religious people and claim they don’t believe in science i.e. liberal causes like global warming.” Tyson has been very careful, sadly, to not take shots, cheap or otherwise, at religious people in spite of their rejection of science for belief in archaic mythology.
Republicans in states have joined with creationists to sow doubt about evolutionary theory, the very foundation of modern biology, by inserting the bible creation story of human creation as one of two sides that warrant competing time in science classes. It is precisely the same tactic creationists are attempting by demanding that Cosmos give them equal time to use religious myth to balance scientific fact that is an equally absurd assertion Republicans use to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools, or to shift taxpayer money to private religious schools to sell “parental choice for a fair and balanced education” for their children.
Creationists are never going to get equal time to peddle the bible as a counterbalance to science because Cosmos is a science program and creationism is a religious myth. Cosmos or de Grasse Tyson do not have to show balance, particularly the when creationists’ “balance” is presented by those who assert a few verses in the bible are science. Creationism does not meet any criteria to be considered “scientifically viable” regardless how often creationists say “the bible says” god created the Universe and life 6,000 years ago. De Grasse Tyson attempted to give creationists and science deniers an easy out by telling them “there is no shame in admitting you do not know something,” and implicitly condemned their faith-based stupidity by asserting “that the real shame is pretending to know everything.”
Some pundits claim de Grasse Tyson is dismantling the creationist movement with each episode, and although the program may enlighten a new generation to how scientific discovery explains how the Universe and life on Earth came into existence, it will not change one creationist’s mind. Despite reams of scientific data over several decades proving evolutionary theory is scientific fact, and several court rulings that creationism is nothing but religious myth, creationists are determined as ever to deny scientific reality. They will continue demanding equal time to sow doubt about scientific data with bible stories, use Republicans to insert creation instruction in schools to cast doubt on evolutionary theory, and claim Earth is 6,000 years old to deny the climate is changing to the detriment of human existence, and it is all portrayed as presenting balance.