Buddhism's goal is to liberate beings from suffering. Science's goal is to understand natural phenomena in a systematic way. This difference in attitude separates them and gives distinct meanings to these creations of the mind. Consequently Buddhist cosmology is not the same as scientific cosmology, and there are many other cosmologies. Then if we want to evaluate these cosmologies there's a need for a measurement. From a Buddhist point of view scientific cosmology doesn't help liberating beings, therefore it has little or no value. From a scientific perspective the Buddhist cosmology is a religious fiction and can be used only within certain social sciences but tells little about our physical environment. But suppose we view them from a Christian or a Neoplatonic system they're both incorrect.
Yes, I agree on the whole with the distinction you're making. But it seems to me that not all questions are answered.
For one thing, certain passages in the teachings seem intended as a literal description of how natural phenomena developed, in which case we have an overlap with science. They are making what seem to be scientific statements, according to the knowledge of a certain era.
When Ven. Sheng Yen writes:
As for the first appearance of life on Earth, Buddhists believe that all living beings, from single-celled organisms to human beings, first emerged on this planet through spontaneous birth.
In what sense is this statement true? Scientifically? Religiously/Mythologically? Allegorically?
You write that "from a Buddhist point of view scientific cosmology doesn't help liberating beings, therefore it has little or no value." This suggests that from the Buddhist point of view, cosmology is simply a way to illustrate Buddhist principles.
But where do the principles and goals of Buddhism come from? They come from a view of reality, which can be expressed in the cosmology. So ultimately we can't avoid making some assessment as to whether the view of reality is correct. As I'm sure you'll agree, certain givens are required (rebirth, karma, planes of existence, etc) or the dharma falls apart.
Thus, to say that the cosmology should be measured by its ability to liberate sentient beings is to make a circular argument. It's like saying we should believe in rebirth because this will help us become liberated; if there were no rebirth, however, liberation would not be necessary.
However, if we're looking for The Real Cosmology, well, I call that naivety.
Maybe so. But a Buddha would know what the real cosmology is. So we can't dismiss the possibility that it exists and can be understood.