The school systems, it seems to me have a attitude of discouragement of asking fundamental questions, if a 5 or 6 year old asks why the moon is round or why the grass is green? The usual adult answer, at least in my experience is to discourage the child.what color did you expect the moon to be? square? what color you expect the grass to be?blue?Instead of saying that those are interesting questions and lets try to find the answers or maybe nobody knows the answers and when you grow up you would be able to discover the answers.It would be very healthy for human species if we could have less discouragement and more scientists.– Carl Sagan(In an interview with Magnus Magnusson, 1988)
We are a way for the cosmos to know itself
The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us -- there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.
Arguments from authority carry little weight – authorities have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
If it takes a little myth and ritual to get us through a night that seems endless, who among us cannot sympathize and understand?
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.
CARL SAGAN SAID that if you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. When he says “from scratch,” he means fromnothing. He means from a time before the world even existed. If you want to make an apple pie from nothing at all, you have to start with the Big Bang and expanding universes, neutrons, ions, atoms, black holes, suns, moons, ocean tides, the Milky Way, Earth, evolution, dinosaurs, extinction- level events, platypuses,Homo erectus, Cro- Magnon man, etc. You have to start at the beginning. You must invent fire. You need water and fertile soil and seeds. You need cows and people to milk them and more people to churn that milk into butter. You need wheat and sugar cane and apple trees. You need chemistry and biology. For a really good apple pie, you need the arts. For an apple pie that can last for generations, you need the printing press and the Industrial Revolution and maybe even a poem.To make a thing as simple as an apple pie, you have to create the whole wide world.
Billions of years from now our sun, then a distended red giant star, will have reduced Earth to a charred cinder. But the Voyager record will still be largely intact, in some other remote region of the Milky Way galaxy, preserving a murmur of an ancient civilization that once flourished — perhaps before moving on to greater deeds and other worlds — on the distant planet Earth.
We are star stuff harvesting sunlight.
I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us - then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.