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Old June 14 2014, 04:17 AM   #1321
J. Allen
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
It's a wonderful investment. As much as I enjoyed it the first time through, the series is even better on a rewatch - on Blu-Ray, sans commercial breaks. It really is highly compelling science.
Indeed it is. I had initially pre-ordered, then had to cancel when I didn't have enough to get it, so now I'm waiting a few months for the price to drop, which it most certainly will. Once it does, I'll grab it up and have it for my own personal collection.

One of the reasons I enjoy it so much is that they make the science accessible to the layperson, without being condescending about it. Plus, it also helps that the science behind the series is solid, peer reviewed information, rather than the trumped up, candied folderol we often get on so called "science" and "history" channels.

For me, I'll be happy if one new scientist emerges from watching the series. I do hope that children watching were inspired, and that adults watching were able to absorb the science into what they thought they knew about life and the universe.
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Old June 14 2014, 04:21 AM   #1322
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

J. Allen wrote: View Post
For me, I'll be happy if one new scientist emerges from watching the series. I do hope that children watching were inspired, and that adults watching were able to absorb the science into what they thought they knew about life and the universe.
If it's any indication, my (7 year-old) daughter really enjoyed it. And for her to watch a documentary about anything other than animals is quite an accomplishment.

But yeah, this really stretched her mind a bit, and we had some good discussions about the lives of stars, the environment, and so forth. Afterward, I also showed her a few of the original episodes, too. Needless to say, she's hooked.
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Old June 14 2014, 05:14 AM   #1323
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
gturner wrote: View Post
So you don't believe that the topics hotly discussed in this thread after an episode aired were actually discussed?
I don't believe any characterization of Cosmos in your posts. Your posts routinely distort truth, resort to hyperbole, and are entirely unsupported by factual sources.
I think you must have me confused with the show.

Your posts have made broad, sweeping claims about what the series stated on a number of points, and I'm asking for those posts to provide the exact quotes in question.

See, that would be the scientific approach: claims supported with actual, verifiable evidence.
Well, since you have read my posts, you can reread the claims yourself by simply hitting the buttons on your browser.

Otherwise, I believe your posts are thoroughly mischaracterizing, distorting, or are quite simply are wrong about what was actually stated in the show.
And of course I have to provide the timestamps and transcript because I'm the only person who can still access any of the show's video. Sadly, I'm tied up this weekend and won't be able to review the 13 episodes, so you'll all have to patiently wait, wondering what NGT could have possibly said. If only one of you had a device like TiVo, or had thought to somehow record the program when it aired.

But I do recall episode 13, where NGT said

"So in the 4th century AD, when the mob came to destroy the library and the genius of classical civilization, there were not enough people to defend it. What will happen the next time the mob comes?"

According to Plutarch, the Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed accidentally by Caesar during the city's siege. Anything that may have remained was destroyed during a later siege, long prior to the 4th century, but even by then any surviving scrolls were likely long gone. What was destroyed in 391 AD were pagan temples, and neither the pagans nor the Christians involved in the destruction ever said anything about any books, scrolls, or writings being there.

Layers of fact checking...
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Old June 14 2014, 06:35 AM   #1324
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
For me, I'll be happy if one new scientist emerges from watching the series. I do hope that children watching were inspired, and that adults watching were able to absorb the science into what they thought they knew about life and the universe.
If it's any indication, my (7 year-old) daughter really enjoyed it. And for her to watch a documentary about anything other than animals is quite an accomplishment.

But yeah, this really stretched her mind a bit, and we had some good discussions about the lives of stars, the environment, and so forth. Afterward, I also showed her a few of the original episodes, too. Needless to say, she's hooked.
That is awesome. My niece isn't totally into it at the moment, but she does love the science posters on my wall, and she likes reading my copy of "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. She's only 7, but she's so smart, and I am so proud. Much like you must be with your daughter.
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Old June 14 2014, 12:46 PM   #1325
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

gturner wrote: View Post
And of course I have to provide the timestamps and transcript because
... based on their track record in this thread alone, I don't trust anything your posts say without proper, accurate substantiation.

For example, you originally posted:
gturner wrote: View Post
Regarding Hypatia, who Cosmos claimed was killed by Christians in Alexandria because she was a pagan scientist,
Cosmos never said anything about Hypatia being the reason for the destruction of the library (her name was mentioned, just once, when NDT touched a scroll, identifying her as an author), nor anything about the mob itself (that mob was made up of Christians, and that was left out of the episode, demonstrates the show's sensitivity toward religion):
"So in the 4th century AD, when the mob came to destroy the library and the genius of classical civilization, there were not enough people to defend it. What will happen the next time the mob comes?"
gturner wrote: View Post
Layers of fact checking...
Considering that, when it comes to fact checking, we have to start with your posts to begin with, I'd say that speaks volumes to the content they contain.

J. Allen wrote: View Post
That is awesome. My niece isn't totally into it at the moment, but she does love the science posters on my wall, and she likes reading my copy of "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. She's only 7, but she's so smart, and I am so proud. Much like you must be with your daughter.
To repeat an oft-used phrase: Exactly so. It's amazing to watch the connections being made. My daughter was doing homework last week on three dimensional shapes and, out of the blue, asked about 4 dimensions. So I did the only reasonable thing and showed her the episode from the original Cosmos in which Sagan talked about Flatworld and the Tesseract. She was mesmerized and proceeded to watch the rest of the episode. She wants to watch the others, too.
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Old June 14 2014, 12:59 PM   #1326
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Ancient Mariner wrote: View Post
For example, you originally posted:
gturner wrote: View Post
Regarding Hypatia, who Cosmos claimed was killed by Christians in Alexandria because she was a pagan scientist,
Cosmos never said anything about Hypatia being the reason for the destruction of the library (her name was mentioned, just once, when NDT touched a scroll, identifying her as an author), nor anything about the mob itself (that mob was made up of Christians, and that was left out of the episode, demonstrates the show's sensitivity toward religion)
Actually he may have been talking about the original Cosmos here, since Sagan did go into more depth about Hypatia. But it doesn't say she was killed because she was a pagan scientist, but that she was killed because she represented science and learning, which the early Christian church of that particular time and place associated with the paganism they were trying to eradicate -- and because she was an advisor of Alexandria's governor Orestes, who was in a bitter political feud with Bishop Cyril, the man driving the persecution of non-Christians. (According to the book Cosmos, pp. 335-6 of the 1980 Random House harcover edition.)

Although it should be noted that Cyril's policies were seen as extreme and unethical by many rank-and-file Christians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia..._to_her_murder
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Old June 14 2014, 01:45 PM   #1327
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Actually he may have been talking about the original Cosmos here, since Sagan did go into more depth about Hypatia.
Considering he only offered a quote from the new Cosmos as support for his assertions, I disagree. But even allowing for that possibility, as you note, the post in question still misrepresents what was said, in either the show: "In the year 415 A.D., on her way to work, she was set upon by a fanatical mob of Cyril's followers" (again, yes, they were the follower of a Bishop, but the show doesn't explicitly identify the mob itself as Christians - but rather as fanatics).
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Old June 14 2014, 04:47 PM   #1328
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

^Except it's a matter of historical record that they were Christians -- although of course they were fundamentalist Christians fired up by a particularly zealous individual, Bishop Cyril, and there were many other Christians who condemned the atrocity they committed. So yes, the point is that they were fanatics, but that they were Christians (or at least were self-identified as such) is not a matter of dispute.
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Old June 14 2014, 05:13 PM   #1329
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

No one is disputing that they were Christians, Christopher. The dispute is what Cosmos actually said about the mob itself (as well as Hypatia). In neither version of the series was the mob explicitly labeled "Christians." In one, it was "the mob" and in the other it was "the fanatical mob of Cyril's followers." It's akin to making the distinction between Muslims and Islamic Extremists. The post in question ignored the fact that such a distinction was made within the show.
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Old June 14 2014, 06:13 PM   #1330
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

^No, you're taking things out of context. The portion of the book that I cited earlier, pp. 335-6 does explicitly mention that "the growing Christian Church was consolidating its power," that Cyril was the Archbishop of Alexandria (a Christian title), that "the early Church" identified Alexandrian science and scholarship with its pagan tradition, that she was set upon by "a fanatical mob of Cyril's parishioners" (emphasis added), and that Cyril was made a saint afterward. So yes, of course Cosmos acknowledged that they were Christians, because that is a fact and what we're standing for here is the importance of accepting facts whether they suit our agendas or not. By trying to weasel out of something so inarguable, you're sinking to the same dishonest tactics the opposition is using, and that undermines what we're standing for. Yes, the series did make plenty of distinctions between religious people as a whole and those extremists who abuse religion, but the original did, in fact, acknowledge that Hypatia's murderers were acting on behalf of a Christian archbishop.
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Old June 14 2014, 07:35 PM   #1331
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

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^No, you're taking things out of context ... but the original did, in fact, acknowledge that Hypatia's murderers were acting on behalf of a Christian archbishop.
You're misunderstanding the point entirely, Christopher. I have not once ignored the context (that fact that the mob itself was made up of Christian followers). Even when the only provided context was the new episode, which did not mention Christianity at all, I acknowledged that the mob itself was Christian ("that mob was made up of Christians, and that was left out of the episode"). As for the original series, even though the (original) show specifically pointed out that Cyril was a Bishop of the Church (another point I acknowledged: "again, yes, they were followers of a Bishop"), when describing the mob itself, the show did not call it a "Christian mob" - but rather a "fanatical mob".

The point is, the show makes the distinction between labeling the mob in terms as general as "a Christian mob" because, as you yourself pointed out, "it should be noted that Cyril's policies were seen as extreme and unethical by many rank-and-file Christians." Therefore the mob was not representative of all Christians and it would have been irresponsible for the show to describe it as such - as was asserted by the post in question: "Hypatia, who Cosmos claimed was killed by Christians".

It's an important distinction because I could say: "The Twin Towers were destroyed by Muslims." But that's a fundamental misrepresentation of Muslims and the Muslim faith. It's far more appropriate to say, "The Twin Towers were destroyed by a fanatical mob of Bin Laden's followers." With respect to Hypatia's murder, the original series was very careful to make such a distinction. The post in question ignored that distinction and sought to paint the series in a very different light. That is the point of contention.
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Old June 14 2014, 09:18 PM   #1332
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

The problem is, it is a simple fact that it was a mob of Christians. That does not smear all Christians, of course, because obviously the followers of any religion are diverse. So there's no rational reason to shy away from that simple turn of phrase. If the person you're debating with is trying to twist it into an attack on all Christians, that's their willful misreading of the evidence, and by allowing them to define the terms their way, you're giving too much ground.

The people who bombed the World Trade Center were, in fact, Muslims. They were bad Muslims, corrupting and betraying the tenets of their professed faith, but they were still Muslims. Anyone who twists that into an attack on all Muslims is an awful, lying scumbag, but the objective fact is still there. We mustn't let other people's distortion and abuse of the facts frighten us out of acknowledging simple, neutral facts. What we need to do is not avoid those facts, but contextualize them. Bin Laden's followers were Muslims and Hypatia's murderers were Christians, but we need to place their particular extremist interpretations of their respective faiths in the context of what other members of their faiths believe.
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Old June 14 2014, 10:41 PM   #1333
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

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To repeat an oft-used phrase: Exactly so. It's amazing to watch the connections being made. My daughter was doing homework last week on three dimensional shapes and, out of the blue, asked about 4 dimensions. So I did the only reasonable thing and showed her the episode from the original Cosmos in which Sagan talked about Flatworld and the Tesseract. She was mesmerized and proceeded to watch the rest of the episode. She wants to watch the others, too.
I think my heart just melted.

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Old June 14 2014, 11:28 PM   #1334
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

^ Thanks J.!

Christopher wrote: View Post
What we need to do is not avoid those facts, but contextualize them. Bin Laden's followers were Muslims and Hypatia's murderers were Christians, but we need to place their particular extremist interpretations of their respective faiths in the context of what other members of their faiths believe.
That is, precisely, the point of contention. Cosmos made that distinction - that contextualization - for the mob that killed Hypatia. The post in question asserted that it did not, that the series used a turn of phrase that would have been contextually inappropriate. It's just another example of similar posts that freely misrepresent the facts.
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Old June 14 2014, 11:35 PM   #1335
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Re: Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

And that post's assertion was wrong, which is my point. Just mentioning that they were Christians does not damn all Christians, and claiming that it does is a lie. We mustn't give into the mindset that every bit of data is ideologically loaded, because that can make us afraid to acknowledge basic data. Some things are just objective information. It's the context that gives them meaning.
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