Discussion,  Futures,  Science

Carl Sagen’s last warning 1997

”We’ve arranged a society based on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is going to blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it?

The reason that I’m worried about this is that science is more than a body of knowledge. It’s a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we’re up for grabs for the next charlatan political or religious who comes ambling along.

It’s a thing that Jefferson laid great stress on. It wasn’t enough, he said, to enshrine some rights in a Constitution or a Bill of Rights. The people had to be educated, and they had to practice their skepticism and their education.

Otherwise we don’t run the government—the government runs us.”

“The thing is, science is after the way the Universe really is, and not what feels good. . . . the idea is to withhold belief until there is compelling evidence. . . . .Who is more humble, the scientist who looks at the Universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the Universe has to teach us, or someone who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all of the human beings”

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