Cosmos is a wonderful show about straight-up ideological conversion

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Like Carl Sagan before him, Neil deGrasse Tyson is constructing a cult of personality. Also like Sagan, that personality is not his own. In both its versions, Cosmos has had to serve a number of masters - they've both had to educate and entertain. By far their most defining goal, however, the one that most differentiates them from both the Planet Earths and Bill Nyes of the world, is ideological. Cosmos was, and very thankfully still is, an unabashed attempt to exalt the scientist and to advance the scientific worldview in its entirety, with as few tactful omissions as possible. The series' educational and awe-inspiring content ultimately serves to illustrate and support the real mission: straight up ideological conversion.

In many scientifically inclined circles, that's a borderline offensive accusation, and the nervousness has only become more acute since Sagan's day. Science is, to many people, the antithesis of ideology and totally apolitical - to suggest otherwise would be to threaten the sort of diplomatic immunity that scientists have cultivated for so long. These people worry that science will become a loose nail in need of hammering down by more powerful societal groups. Since the time of Bertrand Russell, this view has been giving way to one summed up quite succinctly in a recent quote from Tyson himself: "Some myths deserve to be broken apart out of respect for the human intellect."