Cartoon history

Giordano BrunoThe Christian blogs these days seem to be erupting with outrage over a short cartoon sequence in the new Cosmos TV show. The segment in question tells the story of Giordano Bruno, and it’s… well, cartoony, both literally and figuratively. That’s not shocking on its own, the science itself in Cosmos is cartoony: biologists will cringe at inaccurate representations of a DNA molecule, astronomers will face palm when Tyson’s spaceship avoids planetoids that are in reality many orders of magnitude farther away from one another. It’s the nature of the exercise: trying to convey complex ideas to an uninitiated public in simple and entertaining images, will require simplifications, dramatization, shortcuts, and even that you’ll occasionally be plain wrong. Being a science show, maybe it was sloppier and more caricature on the history. I don’t know, I’m no historian. As long as deception is not deliberate and central to the discourse…

The blogs do claim that deception there is, however, and proceed to plead for the Church:

“it was Bruno's theological beliefs, rather than his beliefs about the universe, that were troubling to the inquisitors in Rome.”

Of course, this is missing the point by several light years. It doesn’t matter what ideas got Bruno to be burned at the stake. It matters that the Church was getting people tortured and executed for thought crimes. This is why mankind had to free itself from the oppression of religion and establish freedom of thought as a sacred value, in order to enable the explosive progress of science, literature, philosophy, education, and individual rights that it has been enjoying for centuries now.