If we are going to decide big issues, like eating genetically modified food, fracking for natural gas, responding to the prospect of drastic climate change, exploring space or engaging in ambitious science research, we are going to have to start from some common experience.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime senator from New York, once said, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. So where are we going to get them?
In science, as in other areas of our culture, there is no dearth of voices, but are we paying attention? In the new New Age, it’s all about which cable channels you watch or whom you follow on Twitter.
We could use a national conversation that is not about scandal or sports. If everybody watches the new “Cosmos,” we can talk about it the way we once argued about “The Sopranos” every Monday morning.
And perhaps that will happen. The early reviews of the series are glowing, and an adoring profile of Dr. Tyson recently appeared in The New Yorker. And we are not talking about tweedy PBS here; the show will be on Fox, home of “24” and “American Idol.”
It’s hard to imagine a better man to reboot the cosmos than Neil deGrasse Tyson.
-- Dennis Overbye