Last week, a 14-second segment of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey discussing evolution was "accidentally" cut due to technical difficulties. This week however, the science show finally delved headfirst into a full blown discussion on the theory of evolution.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a documentary style TV show that is aired in Fox and the National Geographic Channel. The show is produced by Ann Druyan and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. The show is meant to be a follow-up to 1980's show hosted by Carl Sagan. Cosmos is currently hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and it focuses on a wide variety of scientific topics.
In the latest episode of Cosmos, Tyson went into a discussion about some of the finer details of evolution. Evolution is one of the most important scientific theories proposed in the last 200 years. The theory was first proposed by famed naturalist Charles Darwin and since it was first discussed in Darwin's seminal work "On the Origin of Species," the theory has come to be known as one of the keystones of modern science.
In its pilot episode, Cosmos already alluded to the subject that the topic was expanded into a longer discussion in the latest episode, entitled "Some of the Things That Molecules Do." Tyson starts off by narrating a "story about you and me and your dog." From there, the astrophysicist dives headlong into the sensitive subject by going into the evolution of dogs from wolves. Tyson also touches on the subject of selection by discussing how humans breed dogs for specific traits. Instead of letting natural selection take place, humans "took evolution into our own hands" with preferential artificial selection of genetic traits.
Tyson then moves onto the mechanisms of evolution by using computer animated sequences showing how the process works down to the molecular level. The animations demonstrated the mechanisms of DNA, the master molecule of life that holds all the information that dictates an organism's form and function.
The show's pilot episode, which was aired last week, became the subject of controversy after 14 seconds of the show was interrupted by a commercial break when it was aired by a local TV station in Oklahoma. The controversy arose from the fact that the 14 seconds that was cut touched on the theory of evolution, a controversial subject in certain areas of the country. The interruption was allegedly caused by "technical difficulties" and Tyson was quick to dismiss the problem as nothing more than a simple mistake.