"Seeing is not believing," is how Neil deGrasse Tyson opened last Sunday's episode of "Cosmos." If you've been following the "creationism" debate, which we've covered here on Big Think, then you know the charge these words carry. Short and simple, they are fully loaded with the point that, despite all the overwhelming evidence for evolution, the "smoking gun" of the Big Bang Theory, there are still people in the world who want to rely on a man-made book to explain the origins of all life. Yes, as Dr. Tyson points out, "Seeing is not believing."
Why did he touch on what is a very sensitive issue for so many? Creationists had complained that their world view was not being represented in his show.
The Huffington Post explains:
Creationist Danny Faulkner of the Christian group Answers in Genesis said during a March 20 appearance on "The Janet Mefferd Show" that Tyson seemed to shy away from any mention of creationism in his Fox series. "Consideration of special creation is definitely not open for discussion, it would seem," Faulkner said.
But Tyson proved Faulkner wrong in last Sunday's installment of "Cosmos" when he addressed -- and soundly attacked -- one of creationism's core tenets: That the universe, based on biblical sources, is only about 6,500 years old.
In the episode, entitled "A Sky Full of Ghosts," Tyson uses the example of the Crab Nebula, which is about 6,500 light years away from Earth, to debunk this creationist belief. As he explains, we can see the light of celestial beings much, much further away than the Crab Nebula, which proves that our universe is much older than a few thousand years.
Watch last Sunday's episode of "Cosmos":