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Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Atheism is very stupid." - Carl Sagan


Carl Sagan was an amazing scientist, and a brilliant individual. Issac Asimov described him as one of only two people he had ever met whose intellect was greater than his own. In addition to the sciences, Sagan wrote frequently on the topic of religion. He once wrote,
"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."
On another occasion, he wrote,
 "Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."
Quotes like these have led some to believe that he was an atheist, but this is not true. He hated the term. Much like Charles Darwin, Sagan recognized that claiming that there is no God is as irrational as claiming there is one. He once said:
"An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid."
In a March 1996 profile by Jim Dawson in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sagan talked about his then-new book The Demon Haunted World and was asked about his personal spiritual views:
“My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it . . . An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic.”

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is very abrupt! Carl Sagan was a true intelligent mind to not praise Both (quote) sides.

Dust In A Dam Hawk Yard said...

I wouldn't believe in God either, if I only based my opinion on existing religions. I personally believe and respect other's beliefs not to, but I find it saddening that if I'm right I won't meet my friends in whatever heaven awaits. I have seen signs, and witnessed many people say they are just a coincidence, much like what Einstein went through. Now scientists are finding that subatomic particles bounce in and out of existence. Where do they go? The Big Bang from a chemistry standpoint cannot be possible. Every chemical equation needs to even out, so you can't create all we see from nothing. My experience with science reinforces my belief in an energy or creator, that probably goes on eternally. I picture it as a tree and our universe is like a leaf or a berry on a branch. Everyone has their own ideas, so why does it matter? My idea of heaven is different than a Catholic thinks of. How "it" all began is a fundamental question we all ask. There may not be one creator, but many. To think our planet, universe, or dimension is the only one out there is arrogant.

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