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Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Politics, Science & Technology, Society | 9 comments

Carl Sagan is Still Right After All These Years


Upworthy shares an interview that Carl Sagan did on Charlie Rose where Sagan analyzes the problem with scientific illiteracy in a world that is shaped by science and technology. It was recorded 17 years ago and if anything the situation that worried Sagan back then has just gotten worse. I constantly see people expressing opinions as fact that show they understand absolutely nothing about science, scientists and the scientific method. This is extremely worrying in a time of climate change, genetic therapy, genetically modified crops and all of the other issues that depend on people understanding science for policy to be made based on facts instead of prejudices, ignorance and fear.

Cross posted on The DemiGeek

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  • Enjoyed that clip, Jim. I trusted Carl Sagan. To paraphrase him, keep practicing skepticism. If not, you are up for grabs for the next charlatan.

  • SteveK

    I think what he said was:

    Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.


    Than again he also said:

    It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.


    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.

    But to end on a lighter note he also said:

    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.

  • I must have missed that part of the video 🙂

    Thanks for the links. He was/is a great mind.

  • SteveK

    Hey Kevin, He probably said it many times in many ways. I just enjoy the depth and breath of his mind… And his humor of course but in my world that’s one of the prime requisites. 🙂

  • Completely agree!

  • epiphyte

    The message in two words… Question Authority.

    Wisdom is timeless – and Carl Sagan was a wise man.

  • JSpencer

    Carl Sagan has always been one of my heroes. Brilliant, yet connected to everyday men and women – and prescient to the last. If only we as a species would heed his cautions and advice. Thanks for posting this Jim.

  • slamfu

    This is probably a relic of my limited perspective, but it seems to me that people who weren’t part of science at least knew their opinions were un-scientific. That those weird sages with their arcane formulae and way of talking, while unintelligible to most of us at least were respected for their science because of the many tangible benefits that were wrought by it. Science and progress used to be something that were respected, if not perfectly understood by the masses. These days science seems to be viewed as some sort of alternate position no more or less valid than the wild ramblings of a tent revivalist. This concerns me.

  • JSpencer

    These days science seems to be viewed as some sort of alternate position no more or less valid than the wild ramblings of a tent revivalist. This concerns me.

    Well said slam. If we aren’t concerned about this as a society then we are toast.

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