Carl Edward Sagan (; SAY-gən; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer and science communicator. His best known scientific contribution is his research on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. He assembled the...
In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know, that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they 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.
There is no other species on the Earth that does science. It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason: it works. It is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a tool. But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything. It has two rules. First: there are no sacred truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless. Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.
To embrace the child may threaten the adult who values information above wonder, entertainment above play, and intelligence above ignorance. If we were really to care for the child, we would have to face our own lower natures — our indomitable emotions, our insane desires, and the vast range of our incapacity.