This page is dedicated
to the late great Carl Sagan.
For more info on Carl and
his books and videos visit:-
believe that the extraordinary should be pursued but extraordinary
claims require extraordinary evidence."
"Absence of evidence is not
evidence of absence"
"Our loyalties are to the species
and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive
is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient
and vast, from which we spring."
"When Kepler found his long-cherished
belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted
the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest
illusions, that is the heart of science."
"History is full of people
who out of fear, or ignorance, or lust for power has destroyed
knowledge of immeasurable value which truly belongs to us all.
We must not let it happen again."
"We are the product of 4.5
billion years of fortuitous, slow biological evolution. There
is no reason to think that the evolutionary process has stopped.
Man is a transitional animal. He is not the climax of creation."
"The surface of the Earth is
the shore of the cosmic ocean. From it we have learned most
of what we know. Recently, we have waded a little out to sea,
enough to dampen our toes or, at most, wet our ankles. The water
seems inviting. The ocean calls. Some part of our being knows
this is from where we came. We long to return. These aspirations
are not, I think, irreverent, although they may trouble whatever
gods may be."
"It has been said that astronomy
is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps
no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than
this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores
our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and
to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've
"You have to know the past
to understand the present."
"All of the books in the world
contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a
single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have
"If you want to make an apple
pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
"But the fact that some geniuses
were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are
geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton,
they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at
Bozo the Clown."
"Our posturing's, our imagined
self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position
in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic
dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint
that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves."
"The Earth is a very small
stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled
by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph,
they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of
one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants
of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings,
how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds."
"But for us, it's different.
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.
On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever
heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident
religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter
and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer
of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple
in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and
explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician,
every "superstar," every "supreme leader,"
every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there
- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."
are like the inhabitants of an isolated valley in New Guinea
who communicate with societies in neighboring valleys (quite
different societies, I might add) by runner and by drum. When
asked how a very advanced society will communicate, they might
guess by an extremely rapid runner or by an improbably large
drum. They might not guess a technology beyond their ken. And
yet, all the while, a vast international cable and radio traffic
passes over them, around them, and through them... We
will listen for the interstellar drums, but we will miss the
interstellar cables. We are likely to receive our first messages
from the drummers of the neighboring galactic valleys--from
civilizations only somewhat in our future. The civilizations
vastly more advanced than we, will be, for a long time, remote
both in distance and in accessibility. At a future time of vigorous
interstellar radio traffic, the very advanced civilizations
may be, for us, still insubstantial legends."
"A religion old or new, that
stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern
science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and
awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge."
"It's better to light a candle
then to curse the darkness."
"Advances in medicine and agriculture
have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the
wars in history."
"In science it often happens
that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument;
my position is mistaken," and then they would actually
change their minds and you never hear that old view from them
again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should,
because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful.
But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something
like that happened in politics or religion."
"I maintain there is much more
wonder in science than in pseudo science. And in addition, to
whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the
additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being
"For most of human history
we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Who are we? What
are we? We find that we inhabit an insignificant planet of a
hum-drum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten
corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxy's than
people. We make our world significant by the courage of our
questions, and by the depth of our answers."
"The Universe forces those
who live in it to understand it. Those creatures who find everyday
experience a muddled jumble of events with no predictability,
no regularity, are in grave peril. The Universe belongs to those
who, at least to some degree, have figured it out."
"...the scientific cast of
mind examines the world critically, as if many alternative worlds
might exist, as if other things might be here which are not.
Then we are forced to ask why what we see is present and not
something else. Why are the Sun and moon and the planets spheres?
Why not pyramids, or cubes, or dodecahedra? Why not irregular,
jumbly shapes? Why so symmetrical, worlds? If you spend any
time spinning hypotheses, checking to see whether they make
sense, whether they conform to what else we know. Thinking of
tests you can pose to substantiate or deflate hypotheses, you
will find yourself doing science."
"We are like butterflies who
flutter for a day and think it's forever."
"Skeptical scrutiny is the
means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts
can be winnowed from deep nonsense."
"When you make the finding
yourself--even if you're the last person on Earth to see the
light--you never forget it."
"It is far better to grasp
the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however
satisfying and reassuring."
"There are many hypotheses
in science which are wrong. That's perfectly all right; they're
the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting
process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous
standards of evidence and scrutiny."
"Somewhere, something incredible
is waiting to be known."