Professor Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Today (November 9) happens to be Birth Anniversary of Professor Carl Sagan. He was born in the year 1934. He distinguished himself as an Astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science populariser and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences.  He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University. He authored more than 600 scientific papers and over twenty books.

He will be best remembered for his efforts to popularize science, astronomy and cosmology. He was an advocate of “scientific sceptical inquiry” and scientific method. He did believe in extra-terrestrial life.

Personally he was a rationalist and his views and opinions are comparable to those of Isaac Asimov.

A few thought provoking quotes of Carl Sagan are reproduced here.

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.

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.

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.

An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.

Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.

More By  :  Dr. KS Raghavan

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