Carl Sagan Quotes & Wallpapers

Carl Sagan
Total Quotes: 680


It's hard to kill a creature once it lets you see its consciousness. 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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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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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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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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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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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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Star stuff contemplating star stuff ... 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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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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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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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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Our passion for learning ... is our tool for survival. 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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The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both. 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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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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Any faith that admires truth, that strives to know God, must be brave enough to accommodate the universe. 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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The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood 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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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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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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If we do not speak for Earth, who will? If we are not committed to our own survival, who will be? Carl Sagan
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Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception. 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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Curiosity and the urge to solve problems are the emotional hallmarks of our species ... Carl Sagan
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Accommodation to change, the thoughtful pursuit of alternative futures are keys to the survival of civilization and perhaps of the human species. Carl Sagan
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The words "question" and "quest" are cognates. Only through inquiry can we discover truth. 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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Eratosthenes's only tools were sticks, eyes, feet, and brains; plus a zest for experiment. With those tools he correctly deduced the circumference of the Earth, to high precision, with an error of only a few percent. That's pretty good figuring for 2200 years ago. Carl Sagan
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All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star stuff. Carl Sagan
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There are more potential combinations of DNA [physical forms] than there are atoms in the universe. Carl Sagan
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Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. Carl Sagan
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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. Carl Sagan
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Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring-not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive... If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds. Carl Sagan
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I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. Carl Sagan
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The fossil record implies trial and error, the inability to anticipate the future, features inconsistent with a Great Designer (though not a Designer of a more remote and indirect temperament.) Carl Sagan
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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. Carl Sagan
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Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. Carl Sagan
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The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God,' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity. Carl Sagan
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The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us - there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries. Carl Sagan
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