“Dumbing Down of America…” bothered Carl and he was very outspoken about it. Carl Sagan was probably the most prolific and well-known scientist of the 1970s and 1980s. He was well for studying extraterrestrial intelligence, was an advocate for nuclear disarmament, and co-wrote and hosted ‘Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.’
He was born on November 9, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from the University of Chicago, where he studied planets and explored theories of extraterrestrial intelligence. He was named director of Cornell’s Laboratory for Planetary Studies in 1968 and worked with NASA on several projects. An anti-nuclear activist, Sagan introduced the idea of “nuclear winter” in 1983. He wrote one novel, several books and academic papers and the TV series Cosmos, which was reborn on TV in 2014, before his 1996 death.
Here is our favorite: “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”
“If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?”
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.