Science cuts two ways, of course; its products can be used for both good and evil. But there's no turning back from science. The early warnings about technological dangers also come from science.

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan

Profession: Astronomer
Nationality: American

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The Sphinx is missing a nose. Someone shot it off in a moment of idle desecration—some say it was Mameluke Turks, others, Napoleonic soldiers.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

Could we possible manage the next phase of human history without first dealing with this penchant for dehumanizing the adversary?

The Yale anthropologist Weston La Barre goes far as to argue that 'a surprisingly good case could be made that much of culture is hallucination' and that 'the whole intent and function of ritual appears to be... a group wish to hallucinate reality'.

We must surrender our skepticism only in the face of rock-solid evidence. Science demands a tolerance for ambiguity.

The values of science and the values of democracy are concordant, in many cases indistinguishable.

Our particular causality scheme has brought us to a modest and rudimentary, although in many respects heroic, series of explorations. But it is far inferior to what might have been, and may one day be.

Especially where the implications of what we think we are seeing seem to be profound, we may not exercise adequate self-discipline and self-criticism.

A radio telescope works more like a light meter than a camera. You point it toward some fairly broad region of the sky, and it records how much energy, in a particular radio frequency, is coming down to Earth.

Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society.

Contemplated as one grand whole, astronomy is the most beautiful monument of the human mind; the noblest record of its intelligence.

The dangers of not thinking clearly are much greater now than ever before. It's not that there's something new in our way of thinking - it's that credulous and confused thinking can be much more lethal in ways it was never before.

The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it, with its skeptical protocols, is the pathway to a dark age.