By Amanda Marcotte
April 2, 2014
Conservative Christians are really mad about the reboot of the legendary science series Cosmos, starring Neil deGrasse Tyson. The complaint? That an ancient myth about creation invented by Hebrews thousands of years ago is not being included in a show that is there to teach science. Christian conservatives have been taking to the airwaves complaining about the non-inclusion of ancient myths in a science program, with Danny Faulkner of Answers in Genesis whining, “Creationists aren’t even on the radar screen for them,” and Elizabeth Mitchell of the same organization decrying the show for having “blind faith in evolution.” (She’s just straight up lying here. Evolution is well-established by evidence, something Cosmos covers in its second episode.)
While it’s tempting to laugh off the idea that a creation myth should be injected into what is supposed to be a science program, maybe it’s not as zany as it initially seems. After all, anthropology is a science, and a creation myth segment could be a great way to introduce the way scientists study ancient cultures. But there’s no reason it has to be the one in the Bible, which everyone knows already. There’s been thousands of creation stories throughout time, so in the interest of fair-and-balanced, why not given one of these others a chance? Here are some potential creation stories, and the pros and cons for telling each one.
1. The ancient Greeks. Chaos, a goddess who also happens to be the entire universe, gave birth to Gaia, the Earth, and Uranus, the sky. Brother and sister married and gave birth to a bunch of Titans. One of those Titans, named Cronus, had a bad habit of eating his children, but Gaia was able to hide one of those babies, named Zeus, away from him. Zeus’ wife managed to get Cronus to barf up all his eaten children, and those children ended up, alongside Zeus, defeating their father in battle to become the Greek gods we all know and love. The invention of people is something of an afterthought in this legend, but a big deal is made out of how one gentle Titan, Prometheus, gave the people fire. This irritated Zeus, because he just really didn’t like people for some reason, and so he chained Prometheus to a mountain and made a bird steal his liver on the daily. He then punished people for fire-stealing by giving them a woman named Pandora who opened a box that released sin into the world.
Pros: The image of the sky copulating with the earth is pretty cool. The animations you could come up with for Cronus vomiting up his children would also be entertaining.
Cons: Just as with the story of Eve and the apple, this is a misogynist creation myth that blames all the misery and sin in the world on women.