Posts tagged carl sagan.
Of this we should be constantly reminded. Thank the universe for Carl and the clarity he had.
If you’ve seen these pictures with clever quotes from atheists floating around tumblr then you may be tempted to think that there’s some intellectual substance behind them. Don’t be fooled, they’re catchy, but most of them show a ridiculous ignorance of history, theology and philosophy.
Exhibit A: Established religions rarely confront civil governments about their injustices?
Carl Sagan clearly needs to open up a history book. Just off the top of my head the following people from only the last 100 years come to mind:
Then, you know, the REVEREND Martin Luther King. “Rationalhub” is being terribly irrational.
That not so awkward moment when whycatholicism misses the point. Carl did say rarely; he didn’t say never. Rationalhub isn’t being terribly irrational; you’re being terribly irrational and you clearly lack basic reading comprehension. Mr.Sagan is dead by the way, but I’m sure he opened up plenty of history books. He was one of the brightest minds of our time. Have some respect. Also, I don’t like your religiocentrism. You used all Catholic examples; the only exception is Martin Luther King. Who cares if he was a “REVEREND”? You can’t make a point without bold capital letters? Next time read carefully rather than attempting to debase a quote because it was featured on some atheism blogs. You’re either desperate for content or angry at Mr.Sagan for making a good point.
“An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed.”
To my surprise, Carl Sagan was wrong. An atheist isn’t someone who is certain that god doesn’t exist. A gnostic atheist is someone who has that certainty; agnostic atheists, like myself, do not have that certainty when concerning the overall god concept. I may have absolute certainty given certain concepts (i.e. Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Zeus, etc.), but I am not certain that no deity exists—especially one entirely unknown to us. You can refer to my discussion on the probability method to understand the distinction (read here). However, if there is compelling evidence to conclude that there is no god at all, I offer two items that Carl Sagan knew very well: naturalism and uniformitarianism. Naturalism states that nothing exists beyond the natural universe; in other words, supernaturalism doesn’t exist. Uniformitarianism states that the laws which operate now have always operated in our universe. Given these two items, one has the right to conclude that there is no god whatsoever. Walking on water, for instance, doesn’t happen today; therefore, it is safe to conclude that it never happened. Miracles do not happen today; thus, it is safe to infer that they never occurred. In the previous examples, I applied uniformitarianism. However, how do we address miracle claims? We apply the assumption of naturalism. Every phenomenon explained has been explained naturally; therefore, it is safe to conclude that every unexplained phenomenon will be explained naturally. However, even when given those two items, I can’t be certain; the deity(ies) that exists could be the raison d’être, which means ‘the reason for existence’. If that’s the case, we will never know and thus, we can’t be too certain. However, we have license to be more certain than uncertain. Carl Sagan knew more about religion than your average religious person, but his definition of what an atheist is was inaccurate. I would hope that I made that clear.
“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.”
“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.”
This man was a genius.
I have absolutely no issues with these quotes. He definitely was a genius and I have nothing but admiration and respect for him.
9 Great Nonbelievers In U.S. History
When the Religious Right first rose to prominence in the 1980s, its main opposition came from those who were quick to argue that social conservatives had no monopoly on religion, that liberals and moderates could be religious too. While of course true, this approach proved largely ineffective, as the influence of religious fundamentalists has only seemed to grow with each election cycle.
In recent years, however, a new group of Americans has stepped forward to challenge the Christian Right. A secular movement, fueled by the country’s millions of long-overlooked nonbelievers, represents a powerful and previously unseen opposition to the political agenda of religious conservatives.
“Huygens was delighted that the Copernican view of the Earth as a planet in motion around the Sun was widely accepted even by the ordinary people in Holland. Indeed, he said, Copernicus was acknowledged by all astronomers excepts those who “were a bit slow-witted or under the superstitions imposed by merely human authority.” In the Middle Ages, Christian philosophers were fond of arguing that, since the heavens circle the Earth once every day, they can hardly be infinite in extent; and therefore an infinite number of worlds, or even a large number of them (or even one other of them), is impossible. The discovery that the Earth is turning rather than the sky moving had important implications for the uniqueness of the Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere.”
Carl Sagan (1980. Cosmos, p. 119)
I have little doubt that someone in the future will make a similar observation. Christian philosophers were wrong then and they are wrong now.