9 March 2014
I saw this quote from Carl Sagan on Google Plus last week, and it is more true now than when wrote it.
There does seem to be a growing segment in America that looks as ignorance as an attractive lifestyle choice. A far cry from the days of Gemini and Apollo as I was growing up. In those days, Texas was known for space and science, not dumbed down text-books. Telling the world what science has discovered is not enough. We need to show how and why we know it. I can think of no better science communicator to step into Carl Sagan’s shoes, and it’s just in time.
From ”The Demon-Haunted World” by Carl Sagan:
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements- transportation, communication, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting- profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things, so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for awhile, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
…For much of our history, we were so fearful of the outside world, with it’s unpredictable dangers, that we gladly embraced anything that promised to soften or explain away the terror. Science is an attempt, largely successful to understand the world, to get a grip on things, to get a hold of ourselves. To steer a safe course. Microbiology, and meteorology now explain what only a few centuries ago was considered sufficient cause to burn women to death.
Avoidable human misery is more often caused by not so much by stupidity, but by ignorance, particularly ignorance about ourselves. I worry that…pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive.
…The candle flame [ of Science] gutters. It’s little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The Demons begin to stir.