Tyson tells us that trees can exchange information and empathy. He suggests trees can know and have consciousness. He uses highly anthropomorphic language throughout this segment. This is not presented as a controversial idea, which it certainly is. Tyson doesn’t mention that this idea comes from a book written by a German forester, The Hidden Life of Trees. There’s also an older book with similar claims called The Secret Life of Plants. Smithsonian Magazine ran a fairly balanced article on this topic in 2018. A skeptical biologist the writer interviewed had this to say about it:
It’s so anthropomorphized that it’s really not helpful. The case is overstated and suffused with vitalism. Trees do not have will or intention. What worries me is that people find this so appealing that they immediately leap to faulty conclusions. Namely that trees are sentient beings like us.
It’s ironic that Tyson, who believes in the magical powers of natural selection, shows no skepticism about this idea. He believes that natural selection can create anything, even trees with consciousness.
A segment on bee communication similarly makes heavy use of anthropomorphisms. Tyson calls Karl von Frisch’s ground-breaking work with bees the “first contact” with another intelligent species. Both these segments attempt to demonstrate that we are not exceptional. See, bees and trees can talk and empathize with each other just like us, and bees even demonstrate the value of skepticism. If only Tyson and the writers of Cosmos would look in the mirror when they say that.
Saint Charles (No Kidding)
Eventually, Tyson gets to Saint Charles. No, we mean that literally. Tyson calls Darwin “the greatest spiritual teacher of the last 1000 years.” Never mind those backwards rubes, Christian saints Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi, Jewish Torah scholar Maimonides, and Muslim theologian Al Ghazali.
Other notable statements in this episode include, “Life is an emergent property of chemistry. Science is an emergent property of life. Life can begin to know itself.” Also, “Darwin debunked the story of Adam and Eve. Humans are not the kings of life, created separately and charged with its management.” Finally, “Darwin worshiped nature.”
We prefer instead our own description: Darwin was the greatest teacher of materialism since the Atomists. Tyson shows the extent to which Darwinism is a religion, not empirical science. After all, if Darwinism is the all-encompassing worldview that the Cosmos writers and host believe it to be, then it will have to completely displace any worldviews that get in its way.Another Cosmos Episode, Another Sermon from Pastor Tyson by Evolution News
Long ago — back when Liberals swore up-and-down about their Love of Free Speech — Atheists insisted that their beliefs were not religious in the slightest, but strictly materialistic and factual.
Of course, this was always a bald-faced lie.
However, with the ongoing disintegration of atheistic culture —
do you seriously think the Tolerant People care in the slightest about “empirical, objective reality” or “the results of repeated experiments over time” or “the laws of logic and physics”?
— it’s now time for our erstwhile Masters to grab some religious robes and pantheistic mumbo-jumbo to protect their fast-rotting legitimacy and authority and government paychecks from the Common Christian Trash.
Best to avoid these godless pastors, whether they are on the Fox Network, at the seminary, or at the head of the local congregation.