Wednesday, December 20

Remember Carl Sagan Today

Today is the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan's death.

Sagan was one of the most important popularizers of science. His vision created a respect for the scientific process, reason and for nature in generations of children (and adults).

I miss this man. Today, we should remember him and his vision.


Anonymous said...

I agree. Carl Sagan was a personal hero of mine.
I find it interesting that you wrote this, however, in light of your support for the Boy Scouts (who would not have allowed Sagan to be a member since he was an atheist) and the fact that you praise the bigotry of orthodox religions, which Sagan contantly had to argue against in his popularizing of amazing scientific theories concerning evolution and cosmology. "The Demon-Haunted World" is one of my favorite books. Ever read it?
I just recently learned, as well, that Sagan was a lifelong user of marijuana. Now THAT was some interesting information.

Treasure State Jew said...

"[p]raise the bigotry of orthodox religions"?????? Anon, my friend, you have to get off your high horse.

Welcoming new neighbors with a new point of view is praising bigotry?

What's more, you are painting with an awfully broad brush. I think you are on a very slippery slope when you imply that every chasid, or every Orthodox Jew, or every adherent of my religion, or every adherent of any religion, etc. conforms to your stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

TSJ said: "Today, we should remember him and his vision."

My point is that one doesn't remember him and his vision by propogating the supersition of religion. Sagan constantly bemoaned the fact that so many people believed in supersition and religion and have such limited understanding of science and the scientific method.

It just surprised me that on the same weblog, you welcome person who sells supersition for a living and then say we should remember Sagan's vision.

If your orthodox friends accept, for example, that life evolved on this planet over billions and billions of years, then I apologize. Somehow, I doubt it. Sagan would never have viewed homosexuals as "abominations" as the Bible teaches. DO your orthodox friends?

Perhaps I assume too much, or paint with too broad a brush. But Sagan's sense of awe and wonder at the Cosmos, which he so wonderfully shared with us, is not honored by the continued propagation of and terribly limited philosophies that require supersition. Nor would he have been an apologist for discriminatory organizations like the Boy Scouts of America.

ZenPanda said...

I think it would make a good holiday... Sagan day where we get out our telescopes & microscopes to learn something new!


Treasure State Jew said...


I am very pleased to confound your expectations about what I should believe. If you find me to be a bundle of contradictions, I submit that I am not more so than any other person on this planet.

I can't think of a better way to remember Sagan than by having a debate about evolution. However, I suspect that you and I largely agree about this subject. I don't know that for a fact, as you continue to have me at a disadvantage. You know exactly who I am and much of what I believe; while I have no idea about your identity.

In fact, I would think that most Orthodox Jews would agree with us, as well. I haven't asked our new neighbors about their opinions on this subject (yet), but suspect that they are rationalists, as are most reasonable people.

You may be interested to read this wiki, which gives a superficial overview of many Jewish viewpoint about evolution. It is by no means comprehensive, but does suggest that many Orthodox Jews find no contradiction between their theology and Darwin's teachings. I find no real contradiction, either.

I would also be surprised to see a Jew treat a homosexual as an "abomination." To take such a viewpoint would, in fact, be the abomination! Like the overview on evolution, there is a wiki here providing a starting point for a discussion on Judaism's views on homosexuality.

Like the earlier link, it is by no means comprehensive. However, I think you will find as a common thread the idea that above most all else, Judaism values compassion and empathy. Judging others by the facts of their persons is neither compassionate nor is it empathic.