Pharyngula

Tribute to Sagan

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    February 26, 2007

    Pretty nice.

  2. #2 Steve_C
    February 26, 2007

    We have to try and make our pale blue dot a better place for the future generations.

    It’s our duty.

  3. #3 Brian
    February 26, 2007

    Very nice. I just finished “The Varieties of Scientific Experience” (I loved it) the other day and the latter half of the video reminds me of something Ann Druyan wrote in the introduction: “We batter this planet like we have someplace to go.”

  4. #4 Kseniya
    February 26, 2007

    Off-topic, but I just ran across this Sam Harris quotation that might make a nice addition to the Pharyngula random quotation database. (It might already be in there, but I haven’t seen it pop up yet.)

    “Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything — anything — be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in.”

  5. #5 wright
    February 26, 2007

    A lovely tribute.

  6. #6 David Livesay
    February 26, 2007

    I think I miss Carl more than any person I have ever known.

  7. #7 Leslie C
    February 26, 2007

    That made me cry – I so wish he were still here. I vividly remember my own moment of realization that there is no god. I felt such an expansion of my spirit as a huge weight lifted and I realized my life is my own. If only everyone could feel that way, and know that every human being, every living thing, is close family compared to anything else there might be out there, and we have only each other, and the thin scum of water and gas around this little ball of rock. Christians wonder where we get our morality; I think this is where it comes from. Other people mean much more to you when you know they are fellow travelers in the same small boat.

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    February 26, 2007

    Kseniya quoting Sam Harris:

    Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars […]

    This doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Have you seen Star Wars fans get into an argument?

    Leslie C:

    Other people mean much more to you when you know they are fellow travelers in the same small boat.

    Very nicely put.

  9. #9 Hank Fox
    February 26, 2007

    Beautiful and touching.

  10. #10 Kseniya
    February 26, 2007

    Blake: No, *laugh*, but now that you mention it, I’m reminded of those two nerds on “Buffy” (Andrew and Jonathan) getting into brief but heated exchanges about things like the “flawed design” of the Death Star.

    And Leslie, I’m with Blake – that’s beautifully put.

    (Unfortunately, small boats get overcrowded rather quickly. What better way to try to seize dominion over the boat than to claim the boatwright made it specially for you? And we know that some folks don’t like to share…)

    Oops. I’m still off-topic. Sorry! I do wish I’d been more aware of Sagan when he was still around, but I was only 12 when he passed away. I sure enjoyed hearing Ann Druyan on the radio last week, though. And thanks to Pharyngula, I’ve now got The Demon-Haunted World on my must-read list…

  11. #11 Zeno
    February 26, 2007

    It was my privilege to meet Carl Sagan at the 1987 CSICOP conference in Pasadena. His keynote address was on the important role of skepticism in evaluating the words and action of our leaders. Boy, if only Carl were alive today to see the degree to which his warning is more pertinent than ever!

    I got to exchange a few brief words with Sagan, an anecdote I recount here.

  12. #12 Chris
    February 26, 2007

    I have a Pale Blue Dot poster that I order from The Planetary Society hung up over my desk and I make sure to read it every day. It’s tragic that Sagan is not still with us 🙁

  13. #13 Steve_C
    February 26, 2007

    More young people are seeming to get it.

    http://digg.com/politics/Atheists_in_America_Increasing

    A new survey in the U.S. shows that the number of 18-25 year olds who are atheist, agnostic or nonreligious has increased from 11 percent in 1986 to 20 percent today.

  14. #14 David Wilford
    February 26, 2007

    A new survey in the U.S. shows that the number of 18-25 year olds who are atheist, agnostic or nonreligious has increased from 11 percent in 1986 to 20 percent today.

    The Democratic Party ought to keep that in mind when dallying with those who think we need faith in politics.

  15. #15 quork
    February 26, 2007

    I recently finished The Varieties of Scientific Experience, and Sagan writes pretty well for a dead guy. It’s gonna be tough working him into the talk show circuit though.

  16. #16 Ribozyme
    February 26, 2007

    Check this out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICyyw2MYAew

    It’s an excellent complement to the video

  17. #17 Jim D
    February 26, 2007

    The great humanist Kurt Vonnegut closes his book “A Man Without a Country” with this poem:

    REQUIEM

    The crucified planet Earth,
    should it find a voice
    and a sense of irony,
    might now well say
    of our abuse of it,
    “Forgive them, Father,
    They know not what they do.”

    The irony would be
    that we know what
    we are doing.

    When the last living thing
    has died on account of us,
    how poetical it would be
    if Earth could say,
    in a voice floating up
    perhaps
    from the floor
    of the Grand Canyon,
    “It is done.”
    People did not like it here.

  18. #18 David Livesay
    February 26, 2007

    I recently finished The Varieties of Scientific Experience, and Sagan writes pretty well for a dead guy. It’s gonna be tough working him into the talk show circuit though.

    Death doesn’t seem to have quelled their enthusiasm for Anna Nicole Smith.

  19. #19 Ted
    February 26, 2007

    The fact that Carl’s gone truly pisses me off.

  20. #20 Gillette
    February 26, 2007

    #4

    Interesting point from Mr. Harris.

    It’s been 10 years since Dr. Sagan’s death, and I still become wistful when thinking about it. I have on occassion described myself as a “Saganite” when discussing science or spirituality with friends and acquaintances, as a sort of shorthand to encompass a wide spectrum of worldviews that I also share.

    I can clearly trace my reverence for Sagan to the Cosmos series, which was something of an “awakening” for me when I first saw it on PBS in my early teens. I’m now a professional scientist (biologist), amateur astronomer, and hardcore skeptic/atheist (toward the Dawkin’s end of the spectrum) but do sometimes (fancifully) think that if any human of recent history deserves some worship, it is Dr. Sagan.

    Saganites Unite!

  21. #21 abeja
    February 26, 2007

    Saganites Unite!

    I think people from the city I grew up in, Saginaw, Michigan, should be called Saganites. Instead, they’re referred to by the unpronounceable “Saginawians”. I should start a campaign!

  22. #22 Trinifar
    February 26, 2007

    Sagan had a huge impact on me. One thing he did well is provide explanations for the non-specialist — the average person. I’m trying to reflect that on my own blog.

    (sorry for the self-plug, but like you do for atheism I’d like to do for sustainability)

  23. #23 Opisthokont
    February 26, 2007

    Wow.

    I would say no more (or even that much, for it has been said better by others already), except that I must now know what the music was. Does anybody know?

  24. #24 keiths
    February 27, 2007

    Opisthokont,

    It’s from an Irish artist who goes by the name “Ice Core Scientist”.

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=icecorescientist

    http://www.myspace.com/icecorescientist

  25. #25 Phoenix Woman
    February 27, 2007

    When Sagan was still alive, he was the recipient of tons of flak from jealous fellow scientists over his high profile. One name for him was “the Mr. Rogers of science”. Well, considering that I like Fred Rogers, too, that’s not really an insult as far as I’m concerned.

    A new survey in the U.S. shows that the number of 18-25 year olds who are atheist, agnostic or nonreligious has increased from 11 percent in 1986 to 20 percent today.

    The Democratic Party ought to keep that in mind when dallying with those who think we need faith in politics.

    The sad thing is that the Democrats’ base is chock-full of religious voters: They’re called blacks and Hispanics.

    The religious voters the Democrats have been told they must chase are white evangelicals who will never vote for Democrats because Democrats are the party of black people. It’s that simple.

  26. #26 Avery
    February 27, 2007

    I watched “Indescribable” the other night at a friends place…they are very fundamentalist. It was a sermon with a bunch of HST pics(nice thing that they are public domain so anyone can use them for anything…). The message was…look how small we are and how great God is to have made these beautiful things for us to look at. I was told I could watch as long as I didn’t make any snide comments during it…I had to be shushed a couple dozen times. They had the pale blue dot image and a very short snippet of Sagans message..but it was attributed to “an astronomer”. At the end there was a picture of Jesus on the cross and then it was followed by a close up of the center of M51… there is an image on this page about half-way down…I’m sure you can guess what they were trying to imply the cross appearance was about…

    http://www.twoheadedblog.com/?p=556

    I plan to burn the final speech from Neil De Grass Tyson from Beyond Belief for them and maybe this one as well.

  27. #27 Brian Coughlan
    February 27, 2007

    A genuinely democratic and representative global parliament guys, it is the only way. We need a forum in which to air our differences, decide what we can agree on, and move forward as a global people.

    Oh …. and if at all possible, we need to do it before another 30 million people die in pointless wars. Just a thought.

  28. #28 MrKAT, Finland
    February 27, 2007

    Dear Avery,
    perhaps You could test Theirs astroworld interpretation skills by showing “Witch Head Nebula” that locates in Orion..;)
    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010227.html

  29. #29 NickM
    February 28, 2007

    Who’s song is that playing as the “soundtrack”? What is it called?

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