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Carl Sagan Quotes
Carl Sagan Quotes
"Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term. One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism." "Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." "We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology." "When you make the finding yourself - even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light - you'll never forget it." "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." "We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces." "We are prodding, challenging, seeking contradictions or small, persistent residual errors, proposing alternative explanations, encouraging heresy. We give our highest rewards to those who convincingly disprove established beliefs." "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?" "The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition." "The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent." "There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That's perfectly all right; they're the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny." "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." "The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous." "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge." "Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense." "Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works." "Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out." "It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." "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?" "I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudo-science and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive." "I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star." "I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students." "For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." "For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." "But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." "All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value." "A central lesson of science is that to understand complex issues (or even simple ones), we must try to free our minds of dogma and to guarantee the freedom to publish, to contradict, and to experiment. Arguments from authority are unacceptable." "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism."