Carl Sagan on ‘Alternative Facts’

Profile photo of Charles Beebe

Following a dispute over inauguration crowd size, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer rebutted the press, referring to “alternative facts.” The Twitterverse lit up in response. One very popular meme now making the rounds is this quote from Carl Sagan, taken from his 1995 book, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”:

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

Carl reiterates much of his concerns (about a scientific and technology-driven world being run by those who fail to grasp that significance) in this, his final video with Charlie Rose: 

In a world where populism is increasingly equated with anti-intellectualism, Carl’s concern is ours: as believers in science, we all need to be that candle in the dark.

One Response to Carl Sagan on ‘Alternative Facts’

  1. Profile photo of Anna de Omnia
    Anna de Omnia January 25, 2017 at 10:43 am #

    I’ve been reading about desecularization. It’s scary stuff. I didnt find this in the literature but best I can tell secular people have turned to their government for the answers, look to the government to be their voice, because they have no healthy religious alternative.

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