However, I was very disappointed that in episode 1 of Cosmos 2.0, of all the things that could and should have been the focus, it was the story of Bruno that got the most airtime. It was very clear that in showcasing Bruno, Seth MacFarlane (executive producer) and Neil deGrasse Tyson (host) were transparently advancing an agenda. This overemphasis of an event in the history of religion is far removed from Sagan's beautiful and poetic wonderment of the mystery of the universe and our story within it.
That Cosmos 2.0 gives so much attention to a tale more appropriately told in the history of religion is further perplexing because Bruno lived between Copernicus and Newton, and Bruno was the one that received the most airtime. Galileo also garnered little more than a mention in the first episode.
And to conclude this point on the interesting blending between science and religion, J.L. Heilbron states in The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories (Harvard University Press, 1999) that historically the "Roman Catholic church gave more support to astronomy…than did any other institution."
Back to Cosmos 2.0 now. It should be clear that the horrible Bruno episode by itself really sheds little to no light at all on anything related to the history of science. Unless of course one wanted to advance an atheist position (which both Tyson and MacFarlane both are). Everyone has a right to their beliefs, but in making an arguments for said belief, one should not manipulate the past to make an inaccurate point in the present.
Certainly it is quite clear that the Inquisition was a terrible thing. It is a sad testimony that any great mind is silenced. It is a period that even Catholic Popes have apologized for. If Cosmos 2.0 is making their point to sway religious Fundamentalists against their militant position against science and the teaching of evolution, then once again Cosmos 2.0 is attacking the wrong branch of Christianity. Catholics are not the ones that oppose teaching of evolution. As Pope John Paul II wrote, "In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation…"
Furthermore The Vatican Observatory Research Group operates the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT). This is done in partnership with the University of Arizona (and other universities). Real science is done here, and no one is being put to death for it. Remarkably they have not even threatened to burn any of the astronomers at the stake.
As a brilliant astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson surely knows this. But somehow to him this seems insignificant to the much more compelling story of the horrors of the church and its supposed silencing of scientific genius.