"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it’s a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility."
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and lecturer. A large part of his life's work was to spread scientific knowledge to regular people. Here are excerpts from a 1996 interview with Sagan on "Charlie Rose." It was his last interview.
On the Need for Scientific Thinking in Democratic Thinking:
Carl Sagan on the "Arrogance" of Believing One Can Ever Have Absolute Knowledge:
Charlie Rose Questions Sagan on the Possibility of the Unknown:
On Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and Sagan's Appreciation for Life:
It takes courage to apply scientific thinking to our daily lives; because it's not after "what makes us feel better," it's after what "really is." But to engage in any activity correctly, we must know it accurately. Not how we want to know it, but how it really is. And if we don't, we're liable to bend to the whim of any persuasive authority.
What's different from the days of slaves and peasants to now is our ability to think for ourselves — to reason critically. Why is this important? Because we began to question. A seismic shift that replaced magic and mysticism, when we did not question, and accepted everything as is. Accepted the lack of freedom as is. Without scientific thinking, we lose all autonomy. We may want to believe we have autonomy, but that's "belief in the absence of evidence."
Carl Sagan died several months after this interview... but his work lives on.
Useful Companions (Improve Your Education and This Site by Buying a Book):
- The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark - Carl Sagan
- The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
- Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom