MovieChat Forums > Cosmos Discussion > Is it still relevent after 27 years?

Is it still relevent after 27 years?


I haven't seen this series or read the book, but I am interested in the science of the universe (loved the excellent BBC series The Planets, Bill Bryson's History of Everything etc.). I want to see this series but does the progress made since 1980 leave it out of date?

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He's so passionate and excited himself, that I find myself getting excited along with him each time I watch an episode.

Some of the science is a bit out of date, and some of the questions he poses are now known, but it is still loosely scientific enough(not just reading off equations, numbers, and specifications) that I don't think it will ever become irrelevant.

Far more entertaining than any documentary on bears(the furry, godless, killing machines).

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''I want to see this series but does the progress made since 1980 leave it out of date?''

Watch it over and over again, treasure it because it is and will always remain one of the finest and most thought-provoking TV productions of all time and despite the rapid technological progress in many scientific fields it hasn't withered at all. Sagan's Cosmos is a timeless piece of science and art!

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Funny, I first saw it 2 years ago and instantly became a favorite. Mostly everything in the series is still accurate except for the clothing worn by a lot of the people in the montages.

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Very little of the information in this classic series is out of date. By the way, it is still the second-highest-rated series in the history of public television, right behind Ken Burns' "The Civil War".

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Science is always relevant, no matter out outdated it may be. Not saying Cosmos is outdated but nothing should be disregarded because of its age.

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It most certainly is relevant. To cite one example, we're far away from Sagan's dream of finding life on other planets. We have some pretty good ideas of where to look for it (underground on Mars, the hot spot on Saturn's moon Enceladus -its South Pole is dotted with geysers -and Jupiter's moons Europa and Callisto, whose icy crusts may conceal vast underlying oceans of water.) But we simply don't have the budgets and popular support right now to do what it takes to follow up on these educated guesses.

However, we do know that even on earth, life can survive and even reproduce at minus 196 Celsius (a marine bacterium called Colwellia 34H which lives in the Arctic.) Something like that would be right at home on Mars or in the liquid methane rivers of Saturn's moon Titan.

I'd love to live long enough to see us find an organism like that elsewhere in the solar system, but I think it's rather doubtful.

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There is really very little of the hard science that could be called "outdated", even then it is mostly stuff for which evidence was simply not available (the molecular biology in episode 2 for example is very rough and there has been tremendous progress made since 1980, some of it is mentioned in the 10 years later update) or omissions (the formation of the moon is not clearly mentioned in episode 4, hence there is no mention of the Giant Impact Hypothesis, the prevailing theory about the origin of the moon).

Additionally some of the planetary science is not up to date with the groundbreaking discoveries of various spacecraft and landers we send out since then (Galilio, Cassini-Huygens, Pathfinder/Sojourner and the MER missions etc.), again some of it is mentioned after the fact, most prominently the later parts of the Voyager missions (ie the Pale Blue Dot Photograph) as they ventured into the Outer Solar System.
Also we know now that the Milky Way is a barred Spiral Galaxy (evidence for the bar was discovered by the Spitzer Telescope), again mentioned in the 10 years later segment (at least the theory, if not the evidence) with only two major stellar arms (instead of the previously thought of four -> discoveries made through the Spitzer imagery).

Really the biggest thing is Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet and the creation of that category of stellar objects (the Plutoids), as in Cosmos it is referred to as a regular planet.

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Old thread, but...

Only some of the hard science is out of date, because Cosmos also contains a number of tales from the past, while speculating on how things might be, had those tales turned out differently. It manages to do this without being preachy in a way that only Sagan could do, and as far as I can know, no one really has done since.

Cosmos places importance in using your imagination to figure out new things, and how imagination was used to first discover the Earth's place in the solar system. Sagan spends considerable time imagining our planet from an alien's point of view and flies around the galaxy in a "ship of the imagination", all this without being cheesy or silly.

Cosmos encourages you to ask questions, just like Eratosthenes did about the length of the shadow of a stick put in the ground at noon at different locations in the world, which then led to discovering that the surface of the Earth was curved. It's hugely inspiring, because it's not told as a curiosity of the past, but as an example of how the principles of science are ageless.

There is so much of it that is extremely relevant today, where it seems that fewer people place significance on science and more on religion.

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Agree with poster above. For me, it's not necessarily the conclusions presented but more the path Sagan takes to get there that excites me about Cosmos. I'm 33 years old and never saw Cosmos growing up, but I have an affinity towards Sagan after reading a couple of his books. That feeling grows when watching him present and narrate on Cosmos, he's a phenomenal speaker/ teacher.

http://diaryofanatheist.blogspot.com

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Short Answer - pretty much.
The series goes further just outer space. It shows the history of people who were instrumental in collecting the information we have today.

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As a historic document. Cosmos was a product of its time, and Sagan has a lot of profundity to impart on how science operates, and some good examples of the successes and failures of science, and in this regard it's still very relevant.

As a document to educate future generations it's dated. Not just in terms of production values, but things have sped up a bit in terms of information exchange. A lot of the lessons taught in the series are now easily accessible, but it's up to people as to whether or not they want to listen or tap that wisdom.

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