Calling Peter “Not Even Wrong” Woit, right this minute:
In “Morgan Freeman Goes From God to Science” ( New York Times, August 26, 2011) Alex Pappademas writes what sounds like a parody of pop science TV – but takes it seriously:
In the hands of a goofier host — and let’s face it, anyone other than Freeman would by definition be a goofier host — the series could have been “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” with string theory, or a bottomless can of mind-Pringles for freshman-dorm Castanedas. (Representative episode titles include “Does Time Really Exist?” and “Beyond the Darkness”; presumably, the producers are saving “Have You Ever Looked at Your Hand — I Mean, Really Looked at It?” and “No, Seriously, What if Our Whole Reality Is Actually Just a Cat’s Dream” for next season.) And given that it’s a show about math and particle physics and speculative neuroscience built around interviews with prominent academics, it could also have been as dry and airless as deep space.
Instead, it’s the best pop-science TV show since Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos: A Personal Journey” — a whirlwind tour of the fourth dimension with a sense of wonder and a sense of humor. And a lot has to do with Freeman. He’s one of the show’s executive producers, and supposedly a lifelong space buff, but he’s also clearly in on the meta-joke of recruiting President God to narrate a show about whether there’s a Creator. Can we travel through time? Is our universe just one bubble in a sheet of cosmic Bubble Wrap? Are there aliens? Are we all just Sims? Maybe, Freeman says, in that familiar cracked-leather baritone, and you can’t not believe him a little bit.
Yes, you can.
See also: Large Hadron Collider proves physics is really science: Dumps string theory