In what could be considered as round three of the match between the show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Creationists, Cosmos host Neil deGrasse takes apart one of the core concepts of creationism.
In the latest episode of Cosmos entitled "A Sky Full of Ghost," deGrasse has fired the latest salvo against creationism. Since the show started, the latest episode could be considered as the third time that deGrasse has butted heads with creationists. The first issue started during the first episode when a 14-second segment of the pilot episode was cut due to "technical difficulties." The odd thing about the cut was that it happened during an airing of the episode by a local Oklahoma TV station. Moreover, the missing 14-second segment also included a short discussion about evolution.
Following the pilot episode, deGrasse was also called out by creationists after the airing of the second episode entitled "Some of the Things That Molecules Do." This episode including a segment about the molecular mechanisms behind evolution. After the episode was aired, creationists started demanding that the show should give airtime to creationist ideas. The incident came to a head when creationist astronomer Danny R. Faulkner, a member of the creationist organization Answers in Genesis, raised complaints about the "one sidedness" of Cosmos during an interview in "The Janet Mefferd Show."
In the latest episode, deGrasse tackled one of the most well-known tenets of creationism: that the Earth and the rest of the universe are approximately 6,500 years old. This number is the alleged age of the planet the creationists determined after analyzing biblical passages.
To disprove the claim of a 6,500 year old universe, deGrasse used the Crab Nebula to illustrate his arguments. Since the Crab Nebula is around 6,500 light years away from Earth, deGrasse states that it would be impossible to see celestial objects that are farther than the Crab Nebula if the universe was only 6,500 years old.
"If the universe were only 6,500 years old, how could we see the light from anything more distant than the Crab Nebula?" Tyson inquired. "We couldn't," he added.
Currently available scientific data places the age of the universe at around 13.8 billion years old. This is the reason why even stars and galaxies millions of light years away can be seen from Earth.
"There wouldn't have been enough time for the light to get to Earth from anywhere farther away than 6,500 light years in any direction," said Tyson. "That's just enough time for light to travel a tiny portion of our Milky Way."