Author 238066

Carl
Sagan
1934
1996

American Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Cosmologist and Writer

Author Quotes

For all our conceits about being the center of the universe, we live in a routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner ... on an unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies. ... That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is very good for us to understand that.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

There is a lurking fear that some things are not meant “to be known,” that some inquiries are too dangerous for human beings to make.

People are rarely grateful for a demonstration of their credulity.

We are at a crossroads in human history. Never before has there been a moment so simultaneously perilous and promising. We are the first species to have taken our evolution into our own hands.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

The very scale of the universe – more than a hundred billion galaxies, each containing more than a hundred billion stars – speaks to us of the inconsequentiality of human events in the cosmic context. We see a universe simultaneously very beautiful and very violent. We see a universe that does not exclude a traditional Western or Eastern god, but that does not require one either.

The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.

The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough-mindedness of the believers. But it does not indicate, if a demonstration were needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry.

It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.

All inquiries carry with them some element of risk. There is no guarantee that the universe will conform to our predispositions.

The significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning.

Author Picture
First Name
Carl
Last Name
Sagan
Birth Date
1934
Death Date
1996
Bio

American Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Cosmologist and Writer