Happy Sagan Day

Today would have been Carl Sagan’s birthday.

Besides his books, it’s fun to see where else his words and thoughts pop up. I love the Symphony of Science tributes on youtube. And there are a lot of talented artists and crafters inspired by him on etsy as well.

Since it’s a bit late in the day I’ll stick with a quote from this particularly prescient man.

“But there’s another reason: Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or my grandchildren’s time–when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.” Carl Sagan in The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.

He goes on to talk about the alarming decay of the substantive and thoughtful content in news and media. This book was published in 1996. He knew human nature well enough to make an awfully good short-medium term prediction. Let’s hope we can turn things around in time to not make it hold for a long term one as well.

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