Category Archives: Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan on Science as a Tool

A timeless Carl Sagan quote:

“We humans long to be connected with our origins so we create rituals. Science is another way to experience this longing. It also connects us with our origins, and it too has its rituals and its commandments. Its only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts — no matter how fond of it we are — must be discarded or revised. Science is not perfect. It is often misused. It is only a tool, but it is the best tool we have — self-correcting, ever changing, applicable to everything. With this tool we vanquish the impossible; with the methods of science we have begun to explore the cosmos. For the first time scientific discoveries are widely accessible. Our machines — the products of our science — are now beyond the orbit of Saturn. A preliminary spacecraft reconnaissance has been made of 20 new worlds. We have learned to value careful observation, to respect the facts even when they are disquieting, when they seem to contradict “conventional wisdom.” —Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan’s Genius: Science Through Storytelling

Carl Sagan, the scientist who worked on NASA’s Voyager probe missions, was a powerful science communicator who literally seduced the minds of millions of viewers through his charismatic storytelling. Carl Sagan understood the power of media and the power of storytelling. He synthesized both to deliver the beauty of the cosmos and science to millions of viewers through standard television desktops.

One of Carl’s most powerful examples of science through storytelling is his use of the ancient Japanese Battle of Dan-no-ura and the Heiki warriors. He used this story to demonstrate the process of artificial selection:

Storytelling is a powerful tool to communicate scientific concepts and ideas.