How Science Popularizers Use Religion’s Tools of Awe and Wonder to Pitch to Younger Generations That Have Abandoned Faith
Popularizers of science borrow religion’s ancient tools of awe, reverence, and wonder to pitch to a younger generation that has largely abandoned organized religion, but still yearns for deeper meaning. As a result, a documentary series that offers the most popular modern introduction to the science of cosmology is at once “prophecy,” “revelation” and “a worldview,“ just like classical religion, according to Anthony Nairn, a University of Toronto graduate student in the history and philosophy of science. “Cosmos created a narrative of science, not about facts and figures, but something that placed the human story as a deep component of the cosmos,” Nairn said. “By implementing a religious-like story, Cosmos is enchanting science. This reflects a larger movement taking shape across Western North America to enchant science and its education, which, in young social circles, dismisses religion, yet hungers for meaning and purpose,” he writes.