Carl Sagan Day
Today is the 78th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s birth in 1934. I remember watching Cosmos on PBS as a young child, and Contact was one of the first adult science fiction novels I read outside the Star Wars universe. In addition to being a dinosaur freak at an early age, I was very much into cosmology and astronomy and Cosmos is probably partly responsible. (Before my parents bought into the lies of creationism full-force I was freely allowed to watch such things. Even after they did so, they didn’t seem to monitor what I watched or read in this regard. PBS has always been a mainstay in their household, even to this day. If something they are watching mentions the age of the earth or the process of evolution they might laugh and make a snide remark about it, but they generally don’t stop watching.)
Since discarding religious beliefs and becoming an atheist I’ve read “Demon Haunted World” which I found beautiful. To those who say that we need the hope and ritual of religion to properly appreciate and enjoy life I suggest you check out the Cosmos series, or read the book, or read “Demon Haunted World”. There is much wonder to be held in the natural world. Far more, I think, than you can ever gain through believing in myths. There is so much beauty in the way life has evolved on our planet and the way the universe functions and looks. Thank you, Mr. Sagan, for helping to inspire the love of the cosmos, science, and rational thinking in the minds of myself and so many others.
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. 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. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky. – Carl Sagan, Cosmos.
It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it. – Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
- Introducing the Cosmos Rewatch: Welcome Back, Carl Sagan (tor.com)
- Happy Carl Sagan Day! (thefinchandpea.com)
- Remembering Carl Sagan (universetoday.com)
- Carl Sagan Day (centerforinquiry.net)
- The Freedom of Nonbelief: Carl Sagan Day (timbrannan.blogspot.com)