Atheist Frontier - Questioning what's Real

People - Dr. Carl Sagan - Quotations


Dr. Carl Edward Sagan with the Mars Viking equipment As a scientist, Dr. Sagan was also a skeptic, and due to his fame his views on a number of subjects, mostly relating to science and skepticism, were widely known.  The following quotations are just a small sample that reflect some of his atheistic views:

  • "Not explaining science seems, to me, perverse.  When you're in love, you want to tell the world."
  • "Every child starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then [society] beats it out of them; a few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact."
  • "Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."
  • "It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
  • "It can be dangerous to believe things just because you want them to be true.  You can get tricked if you don't question yourself and others, especially people in a position of authority.  Anything that's truly real can stand up to scrutiny."
  • "Arguments from authority carry little weight.  'Because I said so' isn't good enough."
  • "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."
  • "Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud.  Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature."
  • "Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy; and in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy."
  • "National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space."
  • "The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline; one with three matches, the other with five."
  • "The old appeals to racial, sexual, religious chauvinism, and to rabid nationalist fervour are beginning not to work.  A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism, and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed.  We are one planet."
  • "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.  We're no longer interested in finding out the truth.  The bamboozle has captured us.  It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.  Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back."
  • "What an astonishing thing a book is.  It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles, but one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years; across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.  Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs -- books break the shackles of time.  A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."
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