Watch Episode #2 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: Explains the Reality of Evolution (US Viewers)

On Sunday night, Fox viewers were treated to Episode #2 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new Cosmos series. (If you’re located in the US, you can watch it free online above.)  This episode was called “Some of the Things That Molecules Can Do,” and it gave viewers an hour-long education on the Earth’s many life forms and the well-documented theory of evolution. Along the way, Tyson carefully refuted, as Mother Jones notes, one of “creationist’s favorite canards: The idea that complex organs, like the eye, could not have been produced through evolution.” And, to cap things off, Tyson declared, “Some claim evolution is just a theory, as if it were merely an opinion. The theory of evolution, like the theory of gravity, is a scientific fact. Evolution really happened.” For scientists, it’s not up for debate.

When Fox aired the first episode (watch it online here), one Fox affiliate in Oklahoma City apparently managed to edit out the only mention of the word “evolution” in the show. It would be interesting to know they handled this entire second show.

Future episodes of Cosmos can be viewed at Hulu.

Related Content:

Watch the Highly-Anticipated Evolution/Creationism Debate: Bill Nye the Science Guy v. Creationist Ken Ham

Richard Dawkins Explains Why There Was Never a First Human Being

Darwin: A 1993 Film by Peter Greenaway

Free Course: “Darwin and Design” Examines Philosophical Questions of Intelligence and Human Behavior


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  1. JSintheStates says . . . | March 18, 2014 / 1:54 pm

    Evolution IS a scientific fact! Why are you surprised? Dr. Tyson stated the obvious; this was not a revelation!

  2. Jay C. says . . . | March 18, 2014 / 8:06 pm

    Uh, Dr. Tyson, it’s called the “law of gravity,” not the “theory of gravity.” Gravity can be proven by the scientific method. The theory of evolution cannot. How surprising that such a celebrated academic would make such a sloppy error.

  3. David says . . . | March 18, 2014 / 9:09 pm

    Jay C, that’s blatantly wrong. The theory of gravity, like the theory of evolution, is composed of many laws, observations, and prediction. ‘Theory’ is the word for a hypothesis that has been well substantiated by many years of rigorous experimentation.

    More info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

  4. Juan says . . . | March 19, 2014 / 9:13 am

    Somebody wrote: «it’s called the “law of gravity,” not the “theory of gravity.” » That is not correct. There are several theories of gravity. Obviously, creationists do not understand how science works.

  5. Jerry Ross says . . . | March 19, 2014 / 11:37 am

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is awesome, he has a great way of making complex ideas seem to fit in the palm of your hand. Glad he’s out there fighting the good fight on evolution so that we don’t end up with schools that look like this: http://controversy.wearcience.com

  6. Jay C. says . . . | March 19, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    Juan (and David): “There are several theories of gravity.” While it’s certainly true that there are several theories relating to particular aspects of gravity, those theories do not saw off the branch on which they are standing; namely, that gravity exists and is a physical law. My point was that Tyson’s failure to make the distinction between something that is a physical theory and something that is a physical law strikes me as intellectual laziness. That was my point, alas.

    However, to indulge you, here you go: The National Academy of Sciences defines “scientific theory” as “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_fact_and_theory). In contrast, “[p]hysical laws are distinguished from scientific theories by their simplicity. Scientific theories are generally more complex than laws; they have many component parts, and are more likely to be changed as the body of available experimental data and analysis develops. This is because a physical law is a summary observation of strictly empirical matters, whereas a theory is a model that accounts for the observation, explains it, relates it to other observations, and makes testable predictions based upon it. Simply stated, while a law notes that something happens, a theory explains why and how something happens” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_law). Applied here, theories of gravity attempt to explain why two or more bodies are attracted to one another; they do not attempt to contradict the existence of (the law of) gravity. Tyson’s caricature of gravity simply as a mere “theory” was lazy at best and willfully misleading at worst.

    [If you’ve made it all the way to this sentence it means your man-crush on Tyson is probably keeping you up at night.]

  7. BiggusDickus says . . . | March 20, 2014 / 3:11 am

    There is both a law, and several theories of gravity. The law of gravity tells us how gravity affects things. The theories of gravity are explanations of why gravity affects things.

  8. Gene DellaSala says . . . | March 20, 2014 / 8:33 am

    Neil deGrasse is the man! My 6yo daughter watched this episode in awe. She soaked it all in with an understanding that one could only wish members of the Republican Tea Party would get some day.

    My daughter wants to become an Astrophysicist some day and its programs like this that are truly inspirational and necessary in feeding young minds education over religious dogma.

  9. Hanoch says . . . | March 20, 2014 / 11:12 am

    It is fascinating how the proponents of certain theories declare areas of science settled by simply writing-out of existence those who disagree with them. David Berlinski (among others) has cogently discussed, and written about, why the theory of evolution is far from settled. It appears dogmatism is not limited to any one group.

  10. Walt says . . . | March 20, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    And if Berlinski had relevant qualifications or experience maybe his opinion and writings would matter.

  11. Andy says . . . | March 20, 2014 / 8:36 pm

    @Jay C. Using Wikipedia to back up your argument… Intelligent. I can guarantee you, without a doubt, that Neil deGrasse Tyson is much, much smarter than you. But, I suppose there always has to be that one person in a message board…

  12. non-american says . . . | March 21, 2014 / 4:02 am

    they call themselves open-culture, while featuring videos only for US-viewers…

    it’s a shame.

  13. Jay C. says . . . | March 21, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    Andy, my most profound apologies! I was only using the credible source established by the precedent of “David,” the commenter (and no doubt your brother in macro-evolution, gee-isn’t-Tyson-lustfully-delicious-fellow-admirer) above my first comment. Anywho, the glaring omission to substance in your (invective-laden) post is obvious and, sadly, all too common among self-described ‘liberals’ who tolerate all ideas so long as they align with their own. By the way, thank you for indirectly proving to be yet another example and of my initial comment about intellectual laziness (read: attack source not argument). In the annals of commenting, all you contributed was (1) attack the source of ‘the enemy’ (ignoring the fact that a brother-in-arms first cited that source) and (2) hurl ad hominem. No where do you ever actually engage the argument (I wonder why?). Surely OpenSource.com deserves better than such churlishness.

  14. Jay C. says . . . | March 21, 2014 / 8:53 pm

    Of course I meant OpenCulture.com. OpenSource.com was a Freudian slip.

  15. Hanoch says . . . | March 23, 2014 / 1:18 pm

    Walt: Your response is typical, i.e., attack those whose views differ as uneducated, lacking credentials, cranks, quacks, biased, etc. While this may cow some, anyone who is willing to put in some effort — and it doesn’t take much — will find that there are many experts who take opposing views who are eminently qualified.

  16. Johnny B says . . . | March 23, 2014 / 1:23 pm

    Evolution is a fact. The Theory of Evolution explains how it all works. The reason why you keep getting the Common Cold is because the virus evolves so that your immunity to the previous version of the Cold does not work on the new version of the Cold.

  17. Jake says . . . | March 24, 2014 / 7:41 am

    Jay C – Correct, gravity is a natural law, explained in part by theories such as general relativity and Newtonian mechanics.

    In the same way, change over time (or evolution) is an observable natural law. The theory’s full name is ‘evolution by natural selection’, with the natural selection part being the explanation. It’s the same as saying ‘gravity as explained by general relativity’.

    And before you say “no, evolution is not observable”, just… please go read something pertaining to the subject.

    Also you seem to assume that having a man-crush on Tyson is a bad thing.

  18. Jake says . . . | March 24, 2014 / 7:58 am

    I would just like to add that you seem like an intelligent guy, and I admire your questioning of things that people no doubt keep telling you is scientific fact.

    In a nutshell:
    a) Large amount of evidence supporting the theory
    b) No evidence contradicting the theory
    c) Yes theories do change (example, Newton’s Laws -> Relativity), but it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Just incomplete.

  19. jonathan says . . . | March 25, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    @ Jay C.

    Your confusion comes from the lack of understanding the word “Theory”

    Theory has 2 definitions

    Practical: (EVERY DAY use) = an idea…thought… educated guess.

    Scientific(NOT EVERY DAY USE) = FACT. LAW. PROVEN through the test of time itself..

    So when tyson says the THEORY of evolution.. he means the LAW of evolution. When we say the THEORY of Plate tectonics(why earthquakes happen) we mean the LAW of plate tectonics.. when we say HELIOCENTRIC theory.. we mean the LAW that the sun in the CENTER of our solar system. Its just bad to keep using the word law over and over and over and over again.. so instead when a theory is proven correct it does not just change to a law it remains theory…untill it is disproven.. in the case of evolution that is NEVER going to happen. just like plate tectonics gravity heliocentricism.. all NEVER going to be disproven. all theories.. all FACTS of life.

  20. jonathan says . . . | March 25, 2014 / 3:09 pm

    there will never be any NEW information to come about to disprove that we Rotate around the sun.. there will NEVER be any new information to disprove plate tectonics.

    FEEL FREE to bring about OBSERVABLE data to contradict Evolution… please… we are all waiting.. anything… anything at all that you see in the real world that will disprove the FACT that we all evolved on a tiny planet due to its environmental changes over time

    Something like Rabbit bones in the pre cambrian would do..

  21. some guy says . . . | May 1, 2014 / 11:29 pm

    Yay, more idiots who know nothing about science debating about science. : D

  22. Jane says . . . | May 16, 2014 / 6:23 am

    is anyone else DEEPLY concerned as I am that episode 2 has been deleted from FOX on demand? I had to come to this website to find it. Censorship is alive in America! Thank a creationist. Wow, especially when you think of the context of episode 1 where religious fanatics burned scientists at the stakes! And that was 500 years ago! Come on, people!

  23. Fred says . . . | May 21, 2014 / 1:46 pm

    I’ll believe evolution the day we can observe a single celled organism becoming a human. Until that point it is nothing more than a bunch of educated guesses.

  24. Jon says . . . | May 21, 2014 / 2:06 pm

    To Fred; the theory of evolution doesn’t claim that a single celled organism evolved into a human in merely a decade, this process happened over hundreds of millions of years. Can you even conceive of 1000 years? No because it’s outside the realm of human experience. Individuals don’t evolve, populations do. Why don’t you actually study some biology before you make biased and absurd assertions as you are.

  25. Nickster says . . . | June 22, 2014 / 12:47 pm

    It doesn’t matter what Dr. Tyson says or doesn’t say on the program – I don’t want someone else deciding for me that I don’t need to hear it. :-P

  26. Harrald says . . . | July 15, 2014 / 6:10 am

    Fred, if you want to observe a single cell becoming a human you need about 9 months and a week. But don’t start observing too early as some may find that rude.

  27. Alain Chabot says . . . | November 15, 2014 / 12:20 pm

    It’s not the Law of Gravity, it is the Theory of Gravity. Gravity is a fact, but the explanation is the Theory part. Same with evolution. Evolutions occurs, the theory is the attempt to explain the fact.

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