Quotes of the day: Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 - December 20, 1996)
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist,
author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and natural
sciences. He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell
University where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He published
more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or
editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and
the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-
Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980
television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote.
The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. Sagan wrote the novel
Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name.
(Click for full article.)
A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress
any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
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
Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans
for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through
History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power
have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value which truly belong to all of us.
We must not let it happen again.
Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their
emotions are stirred.
Humans are very good at dreaming, although you’d never know it from your
I also wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution
and the Bill of Rights, as it is when the President takes his oath of office,
rather than to the flag and the nation.
If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy
If we like them, they're freedom fighters... If we don't like them, they're
terrorists. In the unlikely case we can't make up our minds, they're temporarily
If we long for our planet to be important, there is something we can do about
it. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the
depth of our answers.
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we
It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about
It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a
hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.
It is better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in
delusion, however reassuring.
Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not
information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is
collected and used.
Nobody listens to mathematicians.
Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid.
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.
The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture
to the stars.
The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor
The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human
The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly
depend on 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.
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on
evidence; it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
You have to know the past to understand the present.
Quotes of the day
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