“Science is never finished” Carl Sagan said, “We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.”
Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996) briefed our astronauts before they headed to the moon about what to expect on the lunar surface. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Dr Sagan was the author of many bestsellers, including Cosmos, which became the most widely read science book ever published in the English language. He earned a BA, BS, MS and PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago along with 22 honorary degrees from around the world. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books.
Ten months before his death in December 1996 he wrote in his book The Demon Haunted World, "I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. "
Was Professor Sagan right? Are we increasingly unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true?
“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers.”