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Carl Sagan's Quotes


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

  It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English - up to fifty words used in correct context - no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it is madness, and every country has an excuse.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  If we cant think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Widespread intellectual and moral docility may be convenient for leaders in the short term, but it is suicidal for nations in the long term.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  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.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesnt happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  We have designed our civilization based on science and technology and at the same time arranged things so that almost no one understands anything at all about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you're in love, you want to tell the world.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The politicians and the religious leaders and the weapons scientists have been at it for a long time and they've made a thorough mess of it. I mean, we're in deep trouble.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  We have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  An organism at war with itself is doomed.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The question (Do you believe in God?) has a peculiar structure. If I say no, do I mean I am convinced God doesnt exist, or do I mean I am not convinced he does exist? Those are two very different questions.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesnt believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I am agnostic.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  In a democracy, opinions that upset everyone are sometimes exactly what we need. We should be teaching our children the scientific method and the Bill of Rights.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Since, in the long run, every planetary society will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring - not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: Staying alive.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  It is a lazy Saturday afternoon, there's a couple lying naked in bed reading Encyclopedia Brittannica to each other, and arguing about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is more numinous than the Ressurection. Do they know how to have a good time, or dont they?  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  In the vastness of the Cosmos there must be other civilizations far older and more advanced than ours.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  You cant convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it is based on a deep seated need to believe.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value which truly belong to all of us. We must not let it happen again.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The universe is a pretty big place. If it is just us, seems like an awful waste of space.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The evidence, so far at least and laws of Nature aside, does not require a Designer. Maybe there is one hiding, maddeningly unwilling to be revealed.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system. The history of our study of our solar system shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate... Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Look, all I am asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it is just the best we have. And to abandon it with its skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  You could just as well say that an agnostic is a deeply religious person with at least a rudimentary knowledge of human fallibility.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil. It is as if there were a God who said to us, 'I set before you two ways: You can use your technology to destroy yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars. It is up to you.'  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you dont have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  You have to know the past to understand the present.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  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.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our own ignorance about ourselves.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Virtually every major technological advance in the history of the human species - back to the invention of stone tools and the domestication of fire - has been ethically ambiguous.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  I consider it an extremely dangerous doctrine, because the more likely we are to assume that the solution comes from the outside, the less likely we are to solve our problems ourselves.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  By exploring other worlds we safeguard this one. By itself, I think this fact more than justifies the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds. It is our fate to live during one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human history.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The visions we offer our children shape the future.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  We wish to find the truth, no matter where it lies. But to find the truth we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I'd be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote. As with the face on Mars and alien abductions, better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

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

  If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  It's a lazy Saturday afternoon, there's a couple lying naked in bed reading Encyclopedia Brittannica to each other, and arguing about whether the Andromeda Galaxy is more numinous than the Ressurection. Do they know how to have a good time, or don't they?  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don't have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  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.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  We wish to find the truth, no matter where it lies. But to find the truth we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it with its skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our own ignorance about ourselves.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.  
 -  Carl Sagan
  

  If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles.  
 -  Prof Carl Sagan
  

  All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.  
 -  Dr. Carl Sagan
  

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

  Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.  
 -  Dr. Carl Sagan