I thought it was odd when Discovery Communications gave a certain former Governor known for her love of hunting wolves from helicopters a show on Alaska and its wildlife. But now Discovery’s Science Channel is premiering a show this week called “Through the Wormhole,” hosted by Morgan Freeman.
How could I possibly have any problem with Morgan Freeman? Well, as an actor I think he’s incredible, but judging from the interview he gave on the Daily Show last week, I think Morgan Freeman may have never emerged from thinking he was God.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
|Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Throughout the interview, Freeman frequently invokes what he calls the “God factor.” The argument goes like this: if science doesn’t understand something, then it must be the work of God. The argument is as old as society itself and (unfortunately) it’s still very much alive in America today. Many people use such arguments to challenge evolution, attempt to debunk climate change and place the age of the earth at 5,000 years.
Who cares what Freeman says off the show? Well, when Through the Wormhole premiers on Wednesday night its first episode will take on creation by invoking some mathematical underpinnings of physics to look for evidence of God.
As a religious person I recoil at these types of arguments, science and religion are not in competition. Every time science makes a discovery it isn’t chalking one up for atheism because one more thing is now explained, like God’s existence must be confined to the bizarre or supernatural.
Stewart: Do scientists now feel like they know what happened and where we came from?
Freeman: There are scientists that feel like they have a very clear sense where we came from, and then there are other scientists that feel like those other scientists that feel they have a very clear sense where we came from have no idea what they are talking about. Because we don’t have a very clear sense where we came from. There are a lot of different scientists with different ideas, different thought patterns and different takes on the evidence we have.
S: They talk about how there’s five times the amount of dark matter and dark energy in the universe than there is regular matter and energy, but what the hell does that mean?
S: And they say it’s holding us together but what is it?
F: How? Right. Yeah, these are the questions that I like to ask also.
S: Well, What do they tell you?
F: This is where we get into the God part of it. You know, whatever scientists don’t know becomes a God factor.
S: And they will even say that?
F: Yeah, we get to a point when we say ‘well we don’t know how that happens’.
S: And they say well maybe it’s…
F: …The God Factor…Yeah.
S: So after all these years and the incredibly sophisticated tools that we use to scour the skies, they just come back to basically, ‘I think the sun God did it’?
Now, people are entitled to their views and their misconceptions by the first amendment. However, Discovery Communications has an obligation to portray science accurately as a major player in the science media.
What makes it worse is that the topics Freeman claims scientists don’t understand and attribute to the God factor, are more like things that Freeman just doesn’t seem to get. Mainly, dark matter and dark energy. Which is strange because in one of the show excerpts posted to Through the Wormhole’s website, there’s a very good explanation for what we think dark matter is, why it’s so hard to detect and how scientists are attempting to find it anyways (maybe he should watch his show).
So, perhaps Freeman isn’t exactly Alan Alda and is really little more than a deep and distinctive famous voice, I’m still reluctant about Wednesday’s show if it’s looking to science for the existence of God. An outlet billing itself as a science channel should be cautious about making scientific theories dependent on God. Even the Catholic Church would agree.