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Happy Cosmos Day

I wanted to start posting today partly because today is Carl Sagan's 75th birthday. In my science classes, we called him Uncle Carl when we watched the Cosmos program.

I think he was amongst the first characters I knew as both a scientist and an atheist. I have seen a lot of great coverage of his birthday and did my part to try and get him trending on twitter today. Here is some of what I have seen and enjoyed.

One of my favorite science bloggers and neighbors wrote up his birthday this weekend and included a great interview from Charlie Rose. Boing Boing

Booster Gold also has an interesting collection of Sagan Rememberances

This was one of my favorite pieces

You can see a lot of great Sagan videos on the The Sagan Appreciation Society

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan


 

Comments

Happy Birthday, Carl. If you get this message, I'm still stranded in the moat around Cornell, where you left me. Real funny, yeah.

Thanks for this, R7. Since I've only seen parts of The Matrix, the moving lips were really messing with my brain, until I - or course - gave in to the idea.

Your posting got me searching, and it landed me in Wikipedia. Sagan was more atheist than theist, but the quoted material is

Sagan, however, denied that he was an atheist: "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know." In reply to a question in 1996 about his religious beliefs, Sagan answered, "I'm agnostic." Sagan maintained that the idea of a creator of the universe was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could challenge it would be an infinitely old universe.

I do remember watching some of Cosmos, but that was eons (billions of years?) ago. Got any favorites that you remember?

Billions and billions.

I think he claims to be agnostic in the same way that Bill Maher and even Dawkins claim to be. Teapot atheists.

I don't intend to put words in his mouth. He didn't believe and he also professed not to know. I don't really claim any more.

I don't intend to put words in his mouth. He didn't believe and he also professed not to know. I don't really claim any more.

Hmm - I'm not trying to be a trying soul, or implying that you're putting words in his mouth, just curious about response from you. I see what you mean, so thanks for that.

Also, the links were great.

b and b ;~)

One of my favourite parts of COSMOS was the explanation as to how Eratosthenes calculated the size of the earth in the 3rd century BC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dBbjHnQuS8

Here is a quotation attributed to Sagan to think about: "Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us - and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along."

"nation"? that's not thinking very globally. :)

He had to assume the sun was far away to make those calculations. I wonder if that was established belief at the time.

user-pic

Cosmos, logos, Uncle Carl:

The bit of Cosmos about Pythagoreans and Ionians is what made the most impact on young me. Pythagoras truly knew what it's "Like" to be a bat, or bot, or tree for that matter ("For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan).

But there was a dark side to that Mormon-not-un-un-like cult, a mafia, swimming-with-the-fishes, unconscious Loch-cultural-death-wishy-washy-ness. Sagan put his finger on it: "It set us back at least a thousand years" said he. 1800 yrs., years, say I, dating from Archimedes's death. Saint Peter!

Matrix? May tricks: "there's a feeling I get when I look to the West..."

I think, as he was using the word 'suckers', he must have been thinking about one nation in particular. Can you think of a nation that doesn't practise tough habits of thought?

thanks, btw, for clearing up something that's been bugging me for years. ever since the first time i saw "the matrix", i've wondered where i heard the voice of "agent smith" before. that peculiur clipped manner of speaking, the voice itself. it's carl sagan! i also grew up with (and loved) "cosmos" but i didn't make the connection until seeing this video. i'll sleep better tonight.

Can you think of a nation that doesn't practise tough habits of thought?

define "tough". i hope you don't mean "rational".

Sorry, I should have put that in quotation marks - it was (apparently) Sagan who said it. I imagine he was using it in the sense of 'difficult' but I have no great insight into his mind.

well now i'm dying of curiosity. what "nation" did he mean? america, i'm guessing? the list of nations that don't practice "tough" thinking is so long, after all. now it's all like "let the businesses have their way. when our own people start dying, then we'll worry about it." realpolitik is a dying art as far as "nations" are concerned.

or maybe that is "tough" thinking.

oh never mind. thinking is too tough for me. i got hopelessly lost on which part was yours and which part was sagans. sorry.

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