Carl Sagan quotes page 3
The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and
tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws
that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally
unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance,
particularly our own ignorance about ourselves.
Virtually every major technological advance in the history of the human species - back to the
invention of stone tools and the domestication of fire - has been ethically ambiguous.
Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger
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.
By exploring other worlds we safeguard this one. By itself, I think this fact more than justifies
the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds. It is our fate to live during
one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human
The visions we offer our children shape the future.
Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic
understanding of how the world works.
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.
We wish to find the truth, no matter where it lies. But to find the truth we need imagination
and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish
speculation from fact.
The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I'd be eager to examine it; but it
would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote. As with the face on Mars and alien
abductions, better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.
Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at
every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.