Happy birthday, Carl Sagan. Thanks for leaving a legacy and the gift of your writings. In his 1995 book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, noted writer, astronomer and philosopher Sagan noted:
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 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…
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance
It is good that he is not here to see the future, and it is a shame he is not here to tell us about the future. But his birthday should be a reminder of why we need to learn and evolve with science, and not shun it.
h/t Steve Crandall