Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Of Quarks and Man



One of the areas the US still excels in is theoretical physics, at least in terms of providing formidable research departments.  So, when a retired physicist learns that his theory on "cosmic inflation" is no longer just a theory, it is an immense reward for Andrei Linde.

Of course, this doesn't sit well for advocates of "intelligent design" who continue to discount the "Big Bang" theory and hold onto their belief that all things sprang from the hands of God in a divinely inspired moment.  Most of these ecclesiastical physicists (for lack of a better description) no longer hold to the straight creation story advocated by Ken Ham, but see the earth and the universe as stretching back millions if not billions of years.  In part, they do accept scientific findings, but prefer to fill in the gaps with divinely inspired notions.

This is particularly true of evolution.  These divine geneticists simply refuse to accept man evolved from apes, and were particularly upset with Neil deGrasse Tyson's recent episode of Cosmos where he delved into the theory of natural selection.

Tyson has been ruffling feathers for years and has taken it a step further by reviving Carl Sagan's Cosmos, on Fox television no less.  Seems Murdoch and friends don't mind adding fuel to the fire of the so-called "debate" by having the science side presented without the intrusion of "creationist" hecklers.

Tyson is charismatic and brash, not afraid to brawl with the deniers.  He also has the ability to reduce complex scientific theories to layman terms, manning the helm of his cosmic voyager like Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise as he takes viewers on a bold new voyage.


Like Sagan, Tyson also feels it is important to pitch the big ideas, seizing on young persons' imaginations.  I'm not sure if the simple cartoons work very well given the CGI movies kids watch these days.  The show should definitely beef up the graphics if it plans on holding teenagers' attention.  However, it was an excellent introduction using the artificial selection of dogs over the millenia since the Ice Age to illustrate how breeding is a form of evolution.

Most important Tyson appears to be making an impact, judging by the strong reactions to his show.  Nice to see "intelligent design" on the defensive for a change.  Here's Tyson pitching Cosmos on Colbert Reports.

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