Carl Sagan Quotes & Wallpapers

Carl Sagan
Total Quotes: 680


Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It's just the best we have. Carl Sagan
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I hold that popularization of science is successful if, at first, it does no more than spark the sense of wonder. Carl Sagan
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For myself, I like a universe that, includes much that is unknown and, at the same time, much that is knowable. A universe in which everything is known would be static and dull, as boring as the heaven of some weak-minded theologians. A universe that is unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is one very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not really much of a coincidence. Carl Sagan
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Because men, compared to male chimps, have such relatively small testicles (large testicles indicate a species where many males mate, one after the other, with the same female), we might guess that promiscuous societies were uncommon in the immediate human past. Carl Sagan
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Religions are tough. Either they make no contentions which are subject to disproof or they quickly redesign doctrine after disproof. ... near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry. Carl Sagan
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Nevertheless, (Jefferson) believed that the habit of skepticism is an essential prerequisite for responsible citizenship. He argued that the cost of education is trivial compared to the cost of ignorance, of leaving government to the wolves. He taught that the country is safe only when the people rule. Carl Sagan
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Our passion for learning ... is our tool for survival. Carl Sagan
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The gears of poverty, ignorance, hopelessness and low self-esteem interact to create a kind of perpetual failure machine that grinds down dreams from generation to generation. We all bear the cost of keeping it running. Illiteracy is its linchpin. Carl Sagan
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In college, in the early 1950s, I began to learn a little about how science works, the secrets of its great success, how rigorous the standards of evidence must be if we are really to know something is true, how many false starts and dead ends have plagued human thinking, how our biases can colour our interpretation of evidence, and how often belief systems widely held and supported by the political, religious and academic hierarchies turn out to be not just slightly in error, but grotesquely wrong. Carl Sagan
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When you look more generally at life on Earth, you find that it is all the same kind of life. There are not many different kinds; there's only one kind. It uses about fifty fundamental biological building blocks, organic molecules. Carl Sagan
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Not all birds can fly. What separates the flyers from the walkers is the ability to take off. Carl Sagan
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It's hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness. Carl Sagan
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All colours are arbitrary. Carl Sagan
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You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other. Carl Sagan
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Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term. One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism. Carl Sagan
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I consider it an extremely dangerous doctrine, because the more likely we are to assume that the solution comes from the outside, the less likely we are to solve our problems ourselves. Carl Sagan
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And after we returned to the savannahs and abandoned the trees, did we long for those great graceful leaps and ecstatic moments of weightlessness in the shafts of sunlight of the forest roof? Carl Sagan
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In the long run, the aggressive civilizations destroy themselves, almost always. It's their nature . They can't help it. Carl Sagan
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For all I know we may be visited by a different extraterrestrial civilization every second Tuesday, but there's no support for this appealing idea. The extraordinary claims are not supported by extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan
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The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans. But there is no evidence that its functioning is due to anything more than the 10 14 neural connections that build an elegant architecture of consciousness. Carl Sagan
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Star stuff contemplating star stuff ... Carl Sagan
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The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both. Carl Sagan
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I believe that part of what propels science is the thirst for wonder. It's a very powerful emotion. All children feel it. In a first grade classroom everybody feels it; in a twelfth grade classroom almost nobody feels it, or at least acknowledges it. Something happens between first and twelfth grade, and it's not just puberty. Not only do the schools and the media not teach much skepticism, there is also little encouragement of this stirring sense of wonder. Science and pseudoscience both arouse that feeling. Poor popularizations of science establish an ecological niche for pseudoscience. Carl Sagan
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Much of human history can, I think, be described as a gradual and sometimes painful liberation from provincialism, the emerging awareness that there is more to the world than was generally believed by our ancestors. Carl Sagan
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Astronomically, the U. S. S. R. and the United States are the same place. Carl Sagan
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For the first time, we have the power to decide the fate of our planet and ourselves. This is a time of great danger, but our species is young, and curious, and brave. It shows much promise. Carl Sagan
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Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used. Carl Sagan
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The fact is that far more crime and child abuse has been committed by zealots in the name of God, Jesus and Mohammed than has ever been committed in the name of Satan. Many people do' like that statement, but few can argue with it. Carl Sagan
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The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five. Carl Sagan
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As agonizing a disease as cancer is, I do not think it can be said that our civilization is threatened by it. ... But a very plausible case can be made that our civilization is fundamentally threatened by the lack of adequate fertility control. Exponential increases of population will dominate any arithmetic increases, even those brought about by heroic technological initiatives, in the availability of food and resources, as Malthus long ago realized. Carl Sagan
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To read is to voyage through time. Carl Sagan
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Probably a dozen times since their death I've heard my mother or father, in an ordinary conversational tone of voice, call my name. They had called my name often during my life with them ... It doesn't seem strange to me. Carl Sagan
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We are one species. We are starstuff. Carl Sagan
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[Kepler] preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions, and that is the heart of science. Carl Sagan
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Where did God come from? If we decide this is an unanswerable question why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question. Carl Sagan
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Science is merely an extremely powerful method of winnowing what's true from what feels good. Carl Sagan
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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. Carl Sagan
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Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy. Carl Sagan
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In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed? Carl Sagan
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We should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. Carl Sagan
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We are an intelligent species and the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure. In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy. Carl Sagan
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Science is a way to not fool ourselves. Carl Sagan
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We are rare and precious because we are alive, because we can think as well as we can. We are privileged to influence and perhaps control our future. I believe we have an obligation to fight for life on Earth - not just for ourselves, but for all those, humans and others, who came before us, and to whom we are beholden, and for all those who, if we are wise enough, will come after. Carl Sagan
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We seem, these days, much more willing to recognize the perils before us than we were even a decade ago. The newly recognized dangers threaten all of us, equally. No one can say how it will turn out down here. But this is also, we may note, the first time that a species has become able to journey to the planets and the stars. Sailors on a becalmed sea, we sense a stirring of the breeze. Carl Sagan
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Billions and billions. Carl Sagan
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I never said it. Honest. Oh, I said there are maybe 100 billion galaxies and 10 billion trillion stars. It's hard to talk about the Cosmos without using big numbers. I said "billion" many times on the Cosmos television series, which was seen by a great many people. But I never said "billions and billions." For one thing, it's too imprecise. How many billions are "billions and billions"? A few billion? Twenty billion. A hundred billion? "Billions and billions" is pretty vague. When we reconfigured and updated the series, I checked-and sure enough, I never said it. Carl Sagan
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Coal, oil and gas are called fossil fuels, because they are mostly made of the fossil remains of beings from long ago. The chemical energy within them is a kind of stored sunlight originally accumulated by ancient plants. Our civilization runs by burning the remains of humble creatures who inhabited the Earth hundreds of millions of years before the first humans came on the scene. Like some ghastly cannibal cult, we subsist on the dead bodies of our ancestors and distant relatives. - Dr. Carl Sagan Carl Sagan
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The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience..... 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 ever known. Carl Sagan
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Every cell is a triumph of natural selection, and we're made of trillions of cells. Within us, is a little universe. Carl Sagan
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We are all star stuff. Carl Sagan
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Scientists make mistakes. Accordingly, it is the job of the scientist to recognize our weakness, to examine the widest range of opinions, to be ruthlessly self-critical. Science is a collective enterprise with the error-correction machinery often running smoothly. Carl Sagan
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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group. Carl Sagan
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We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. Carl Sagan
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Those at too great a distance may, I am well are, mistake ignorance for perspective. Carl Sagan
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We live in a vast and awesome universe in which, daily, suns are made and worlds destroyed, where humanity clings to an obscure clod of rock. Carl Sagan
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What an astonishing thing a book is. Carl Sagan
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Other things being equal, it is better to be smart than to be stupid. Carl Sagan
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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group Groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together [is] surely a humanizing and character building experience. If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth. Carl Sagan
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The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I'm down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse. Carl Sagan
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Otherwise we don't run the government the government runs us Carl Sagan
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The sacred truth of science is that there are no sacred truths. Carl Sagan
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These are all cases of proved or presumptive baloney. A deception arises, sometimes innocently but collaboratively, sometimes with cynical premeditation. Usually the victim is caught up in a powerful emotion - wonder, fear, greed, grief. Credulous acceptance of baloney can cost you money; that's what P. T. Barnum meant when he said, 'There's a sucker born every minute.' But it can be much more dangerous than that, and when governments and societies lose the capacity for critical thinking, the results can be catastrophic - however sympathetic we may be to those who have bought the baloney. Carl Sagan
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A single message from space will show that it is possible to live through technological adolescence. . . . It is possible that the future of human civilization depends on the receipt of interstellar messages. Carl Sagan
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Science is a way of thinking that helps you not to fool yourself. Carl Sagan
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Even Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Gregor Mendel, and Albert Einstein made serious mistakes. But the scientific enterprise arranges things so that teamwork prevails: What one of us, even the most brilliant among us, misses, another of us, even someone much less celebrated and capable, may detect and rectify. Carl Sagan
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For me, the most ironic token of [the first human moon landing] is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the moon. It reads, 'We came in peace for all Mankind.' As the United States was dropping seven and a half megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity. We would harm no one on a lifeless rock. Carl Sagan
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National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. Carl Sagan
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If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth. Carl Sagan
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The old appeals to racial, sexual and religious chauvinism to rabid nationalist fervor, are beginning not to work. Carl Sagan
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Don't judge everyone else by your own limited experience. Carl Sagan
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