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 Happy Carl Sagan Day!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2011 :  09:31:14  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From PZ Myers:
If you were hoping to celebrate by making an apple pie from scratch, as is customary, I hope you remembered to start your universe preheating well ahead of time. It takes over 13 billion years, you know.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.

Hal
Skeptic Friend

USA
302 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2011 :  10:04:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Hal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

From PZ Myers:
If you were hoping to celebrate by making an apple pie from scratch, as is customary, I hope you remembered to start your universe preheating well ahead of time. It takes over 13 billion years, you know.



I thought I had everything ready, but apparently some Mayans have been monkeying around with the time-line and now it appears I never even went to the store to buy my apples.


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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2011 :  10:45:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Note: I started another thread with this and then saw that Dave started one here. So I deleted the thread. Here was my OP.

Today marks the anniversary of Carl Sagans birthday. And once again, I thought it fitting to again read, and then share my favorite essay by Sagan. It is, The Burden of Skepticism.

An excerpt:

"...It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, which ever one it is, you’re in deep trouble. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress. On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all.

Some ideas are better than others. The machinery for distinguishing them is an essential tool in dealing with the world and especially in dealing with the future. And it is precisely the mix of these two modes of thought that is central to the success of science..."
- Carl Sagan

I'm sure you all have your Sagan favorites. This is the day, (the week?) to share them.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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ThorGoLucky
Snuggle Wolf

USA
1454 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2011 :  10:46:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit ThorGoLucky's Homepage Send ThorGoLucky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, "This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed?" Instead they say, "No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way."


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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1989 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2011 :  15:59:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sagan's Pale Blue Dot should be required viewing for every humanoid on this planet.

"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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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2011 :  10:02:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suppose I "celebrated" by being aware of the anniversary and attending the free class I'm taking on science and art in France during the height of the Enlightenment. Seemed pretty appropriate. I like to think I generally live my life in the spirit of Carl Sagan's messages (strive toward critical thinking, sense of social and environmental responsibility, basing ethics on human interests and reason.) He was a truly inspirational figure in our times.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2011 :  11:48:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it's safe to say that Sagan was our greatest science and skeptical communicator. At least since I've been a skeptic. He introduced more people to both science and skepticism than anyone else I can think of. We are still pointing to The Demon Haunted World as the number one must read for any budding skeptic. And he did it with such a command of the language that he never had to resort to ridicule to make a point. He didn't bring people over kicking and screaming. He seduced them/us with his own unique power of persuasion and a healthy dose of empathy toward the human condition.

All in all, I'd say that he is still a pretty good roll model for us. I fall way short. I suppose most of us do.

Only Neil deGrasse Tyson is in Sagan's league as far as I can tell. It still remains to be seen how much impact Tyson will have.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2011 :  15:06:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I think it's safe to say that Sagan was our greatest science and skeptical communicator. At least since I've been a skeptic. He introduced more people to both science and skepticism than anyone else I can think of. We are still pointing to The Demon Haunted World as the number one must read for any budding skeptic. And he did it with such a command of the language that he never had to resort to ridicule to make a point. He didn't bring people over kicking and screaming. He seduced them/us with his own unique power of persuasion and a healthy dose of empathy toward the human condition.

All in all, I'd say that he is still a pretty good roll model for us. I fall way short. I suppose most of us do.

Only Neil deGrasse Tyson is in Sagan's league as far as I can tell. It still remains to be seen how much impact Tyson will have.

I agree.

I remember taping on VHS. The Cosmos Series at home when it was aired by PBS. I still had them as of a year ago when I lost my boat, that's 30 years. How can anyone like me, who was raised in the Catholic church, not see though their ignorant explanations and teachings about the nature of reality? Especially after watching and understanding Cosmos.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Edited by - sailingsoul on 11/10/2011 15:07:47
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podcat
Skeptic Friend

435 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2011 :  04:15:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send podcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Symphony of Science did what I think is a good memorial to Sagan:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc&feature=BFa&list=FLu9gEi9UqNp-Pnsdm51o-Ag&lf=mh_lolz

“In a modern...society, everybody has the absolute right to believe whatever they damn well please, but they don't have the same right to be taken seriously”.

-Barry Williams, co-founder, Australian Skeptics
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