On Fox's Cosmos last night, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson explained the speed of light, and how, if the universe were only 6,000 years old, only small portion of light within the Milky Way galaxy would have had time to make it to Earth.
But the universe is in fact around 13.8 billion years old, which is why we can see not only the entirety of the Milky Way, but also galaxies much further away.
In fact, when the Hubble Space Telescope was pointed at a small region in the constellation Ursa Major, the Hubble Deep Field was discovered, revealing 3,000 objects, most of which are galaxies, many of the earliest in existence.
The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, within the constellation Fornax, looks back in time approximately 13 billion years, containing an estimated 10,000 galaxies. And in 2012, NASA released a further refined version they named the eXtreme Deep Field, revealing galaxies that go back 13.2 billion years, and one galaxy thought to be formed only 450 million years after the big bang.
The only reason these are visible at all, as Tyson explained Sunday night, is because light has had all that time to travel to us on planet Earth.
I knew while watching that this type of unassailable fact would make all the right people's head explode.
But I also felt a tinge of sadness, that our culture even allows this to be a debate. The debate is long over. As a species, we are doing irrevocable harm to our future prospects by continuing to indulge the fantasy that it is not.
This is not to say that crackpots who insist on believing nonsense have no right to continue doing so. By all means, crackpotism has a long, illustrious history in American culture. The American crank is an archetype that shall never fade away.
But that doesn't mean that their fantastical claims deserve any bit of respect. In fact, they deserve little more than derisive laughter at best, and condemnation mostly.
The Creation Museum's Danny Faulkner retired to his fainting couch over Cosmos not giving equal airtime to creationists for the sake of balance.
Faulkner peddles in a particularly unbecoming form of mendacity wherein he attempts to wish away the supernaturalism of his claims and be considered, somehow, a man of science without benefit of evidence, the scientific method, peer review, observable fact, or anything else that makes science, y'know, science.
He would like to have it both ways. And this has become the method of last resort among those who have been proven wrong time and again by every piece of evidence, and have never been able to present a shred of their own.
The fact is that Faulkner, Ken Hamm, the Creationist Museum, and intelligent design proponents, otherwise known as creationists, all peddle supernaturalism.
Supernaturalism is defined as a force beyond science and the laws of nature, so why in pluperfect hell would Cosmos present it as "scientific" balance?
Now, I repeat, these people have every right to continue to make their fantastical and supernatural claims, but it is incumbent on the rest of us who acknowledge reality to follow Cosmos' example and ignore their wild inanities.
Playing pretend may be well and fun at the kids' table, but with so much at stake right now for the human species on this planet, the adults don't have time to waste any more paying mind to such madness.