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 Johnny Carson - Skeptic and Humanist too!
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  02:42:02  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message
As you know, Johnny Carson passed away today. We remember and honor his wonderful wit and humor, his support for many talented comedians, and the joy he brought to many lives.

What many people don't know is that Johnny Carson was also a great skeptic, secular humanist and free thinker. Mr. Carson distained superstition, hucksterism, religious fundamentalism and so-called psychic phenomenon. He was a friend and supporter of James Randi. He recently gave $100,000 to the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Johnny Carson helped scientists and noted rational thinkers, and invited Carl Sagan on the Tonight Show, thereby stirring the minds and imaginations of future scientists.

CNN and other networks have been remembering Carson all day today but to my knowledge have not mentioned his humanism and skepticism. I politely wrote to CNN by way www.cnn.com to suggest they do this.

Johnny Carson is also currently remembered on the Bad Astronomy website, which is maintained by Astronomer Phil Plait. Bad Astronomy was created to dispel misnomers, misconceptions and fraud involving outer space and astronomy. Johnny Carson was one of a kind.

beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  02:48:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
I was impressed by the comments Phil made about Carson. I hadn't really known these things.
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1989 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  05:34:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message
Carl Sagan was on the Tonight Show alot, maybe as many as a couple dozen times. Always admired Carson for bringing a bit of science/astronomy onto the late-night platter.

I happened to catch the program when the psychic 'gink-neck' Uri Geller was on. Carson had him do his famous spoon 'bending' trick, but the catch for that night was that the spoons were being supplied by Carson himself (Geller couldn't have his secret pre-bending moment with the spoons).
Geller, of course, could not perform the trick -- while rubbing his temples, he said the "frequencies were not right". Three cheers for Carson!

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

"So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?"
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  05:49:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
I've never watched much TV, especally the late night kind, so I mainly know Carson only by reputation.

We've lost one of the good ones.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  07:35:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
I liked the show, but knew almost nothing about the man. Thanks, Chippewa.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  15:02:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
I liked the show, but knew almost nothing about the man.


Johnny was, despite being a public figure, not really a public personality. You'll note that he basically disappeared from public view once he retired from his TV show.

And yeah, it's a loss. Carson was indeed a humanist and a skeptic, not to mention extremely funny!


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  15:46:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
We've got the news down here, so I guess he was at least a little of a public personality...

Alas, another one gone.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2005 :  16:13:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
We've got the news down here, so I guess he was at least a little of a public personality...




The distinction I'm trying to make is that outside of his persona of "Johnny Carson", he was not well known.

He managed to keep his private life (more or less) private and not made into a part of his public life.

So the person that most people knew so well from TV was just a part of who and what the man really was.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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