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Quotes of the day

Published Friday, November 09, 2012 @ 7:10 AM EST
Nov 09 2012

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 equal value.

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 love.

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 television.

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 goal.

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 only guerrillas.

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 universe.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.

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 of science.

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.

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.

Categories: Carl Sagan, Quotes of the day


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This about sums it up... »