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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Comments (26)
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  • JSintheStates says:

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

  • Jay C. says:

    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.

  • David says:

    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:

  • Juan says:

    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.

  • Jerry Ross says:

    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:

  • Jay C. says:

    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” ( 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” ( 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.]

  • BiggusDickus says:

    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.

  • Gene DellaSala says:

    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.

  • Hanoch says:

    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.

  • Walt says:

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

  • Andy says:

    @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…

  • non-american says:

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

    it’s a shame.

  • Jay C. says:

    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 deserves bet­ter than such churl­ish­ness.

  • Jay C. says:

    Of course I meant was a Freudi­an slip.

  • Hanoch says:

    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.

  • Johnny B says:

    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.

  • Jake says:

    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.

  • Jake says:

    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.

  • jonathan says:

    @ 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.

  • jonathan says:

    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..

  • some guy says:

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

  • Jane says:

    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!

  • Jon says:

    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.

  • Nickster says:

    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

  • Harrald says:

    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.

  • Alain Chabot says:

    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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