100 Enlightening Quotes By Carl Sagan, The Author Of The Dragons Of Eden
Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Writer
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Founder / Co Founder:
Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, who was also a leading figure in other branches of science like cosmology, astrophysics and astrobiology. Sagan is most famous for popularizing science among the general people through his books. His most important and perhaps most significant work is the research that he carried out on extraterrestrial life and that is something that remains one of the top priorities of space research organisations even today. Sagan was a prolific researcher who produced hundreds of research papers throughout a stellar career that spanned over a period of more than three decades. In addition to that, he had also written several popular science based books among which ‘Pale Blue Dot’ and ‘The Dragons of Eden’ are the most famous ones. Sagan was also the co-writer of the hugely popular show ‘Cosmos: A Personal Voyage’ that went on to win several awards. As one would ex-pect, Sagan has also left behind a rich haul of quotes that would appeal to curious minds of all ages, irrespective of their aptitude for the sciences and here are some of the choices ones.
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time. If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere. For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out. We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever. We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good. The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space. Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five. I consider it an extremely dangerous doctrine, because the more likely we are to assume that the solution comes from the outside, the less likely we are to solve our problems ourselves. The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself. I don't want to believe. I want to know. It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English - up to fifty words used in correct context - no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent. The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas. Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars. Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth. 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. You have to know the past to understand the present. My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic. In all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other. If I finish a book a week, I will read only a few thousand books in my lifetime, about a tenth of a percent of the contents of the greatest libraries of our time. The trick is to know which books to read. But nature is always more subtle, more intricate, more elegant than what we are able to imagine. A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy Atoms are mainly empty space. Matter is composed chiefly of nothing. We are star stuff harvesting sunlight. You are worth about 3 dollars worth in chemicals. Observation: I can't see a thing. Conclusion: Dinosaurs. Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil. Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves. We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars. It's hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness. Across the sea of space, the stars are other suns. An organism at war with itself is doomed. There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. 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. Sailors on a becalmed sea, we sense the stirring of a breeze. There are wonders enough out there without our inventing any. We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. It is said that men may not be the dreams of the god, but rather that the gods are the dreams of men. The visions we offer our children shape the future. The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. .. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the 'Momentary' masters of a 'Fraction' of a 'Dot' We can't help it. Life looks for life. The way to find out about our place in the universe is by examining the universe and by examining ourselves - without preconceptions, with as unbiased a mind as we can muster. But I try not to think with my gut. If I'm serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble. You could just as well say that an agnostic is a deeply religious person with at least a rudimentary knowledge of human fallibility. In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie.
[Dedication to Sagan's wife, Ann Druyan, in Cosmos] 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 Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works. When we look up at night and view the stars, everything we see is shinning because of distant nuclear fusion. Any faith that admires truth, that strives to know God, must be brave enough to accommodate the universe. The visions we offer our children shape the future. It _matters_ what those visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps. 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? Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgement, the manner in which information is coordinated and used. Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you're in love, you want to tell the world. If we are merely matter intricately assembled, is this really demeaning? If there's nothing here but atoms, does that make us less or does that make matter more? The fossil record implies trial and error, the inability to anticipate the future, features inconsistent with a Great Designer (though not a Designer of a more remote and indirect temperament.) I would suggest that science is, at least in my part, informed worship. The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. I've always thought an agnostic is an atheist without the courage of his convictions. If we ruin the earth, there is no place else to go Those at too great a distance may, I am well are, mistake ignorance for perspective. A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars - billions upon billions of stars. Every star may be a sun to someone. It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science. Perhaps the depth of love can be calibrated by the number of different selves that are actively involved in a given relationship. And you are made of a hundred trillion cells. We are, each of us, a multitude. Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact. All colours are arbitrary. Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
By looking far out into space we are also looking far back into time, back toward the horizon of the universe, back toward the epoch of the Big Bang.
The immense distances to the stars and the galaxies mean that we see everything ins pace int he past, some as they were before the Earth came to be. Telescopes are time machines.
Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.
Science is only a Latin word for knowledge
Science is a way to call the bluff of those who only pretend to knowledge. It is a bulwark against mysticism, against superstition, against religion misapplied to where it has no business being.
There are as many atoms in one molecule of DNA as there are stars in a typical galaxy. You mustn't think of the Universe as a wilderness. It hasn't been that for billions of years," he said. "Think of it more as... ..cultivated.