Monday, January 18, 2010
The Profound Brilliance Of Carl Sagan
I belong to a book discussion group at the Seaford Library in Seaford, DE. We just finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.” I highly recommend this book to anyone with an open mind and follows science where the facts take them.
Below are some quotes I would like to pass on from the book because I thought they were so profound.
“When asked merely if they accept evolution, 45 percent of Americans say yes. The figure is 70 percent in China. When the movie Jurassic Park was shown in Israel, it was condemned by some Orthodox rabbis because it accepted evolution and because it taught that dinosaurs lived a hundred million years ago--when, as is plainly stated at every Rosh Hashanah and every Jewish wedding ceremony, the Universe is less than 6,000 years old.”
Think how profound and foresight this next quote was. Carl Sagan predicted the George Bush years so accurately back in 1995 when it was published.
“I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us-then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.
The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
If we're capable of conjuring up terrifying monsters in childhood, why shouldn't some of us, at least on occasion, be able to fantasize something similar, something truly horrifying, a shared delusion, as adults?”
I think that this next quote applies to the delusional, narcissistic aspect of the fundamentalist Christians that think the world revolves around them and their viewpoints.
“If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?....For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
Then he goes onto say, “At the extremes it is difficult to distinguish pseudoscience from rigid, doctrinaire religion.” I see this could very well be applied to the “Intelligent Design” that was trying to be shoved into our public school systems by the Religious Nut Jobs!
“Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science?”
These are just a few examples of how profound Carl Sagan really was in his time. Even though the book was written over fourteen years ago and Carl has since passed away, his words are even more current today than they ever were!