Carl Sagan quotes page 2
In the vastness of the Cosmos there must be other civilizations far older and more
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
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.
People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the
attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show
arrogance toward their beliefs.
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
The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space.
The evidence, so far at least and laws of Nature aside, does not require a Designer. Maybe
there is one hiding, maddeningly unwilling to be revealed.
The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not
the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not
know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely
solar system. The history of our study of our solar system shows us clearly that accepted
and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the
most unexpected sources.
The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive.
It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately
want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true.
In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our
species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise.
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend
to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth.
The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves,
that we've been so credulous.
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern
science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the
conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the
near future, to which our species could migrate... Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is
where we make our stand.
There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be
probed, no sacred truths.
Look, all I'm asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back
for one minute and look at the big picture.
The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to
abandon it with its skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age.
You could just as well say that an agnostic is a deeply religious person with at least a
rudimentary knowledge of human fallibility.
Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil. It is as if there were a God
who said to us, "I set before you two ways: You can use your technology to destroy
yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars. It's up to you."
Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights,
about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect
them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen.
Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a
mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world
objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
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.
Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive
is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we
You have to know the past to understand the present.
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.