"Congress cut off federal funding for SETI years ago. I was with Carl when he went into Senator William Proxmire’s office after Proxmire had given the Golden Fleece Award to the SETI program. Carl sat down with him. I didn’t say a word. I was just a witness. And I just watched Carl. I was inspired by him, by not only the breadth of his knowledge, but his patience, his lack of arrogance, his willingness to hear the other person out. Senator Proxmire did a complete turnabout as a result of that meeting.
And there were other instances of Carl’s remarkable persuasiveness. One was a great story of a so-called “creation scientist” who watched Carl testify at a hearing about creationism in schools. Carl testified for about four hours. It was somewhere in the South, I can’t remember where. And six months later a letter came from the “creation scientist” expert who had also testified that day, saying that he had given up his daytime job and realized the error of what he was doing. It was only because Carl was so patient and so willing to hear the other person out. He did it with such kindness and then, very gently but without compromising, laid out all of the things that were wrong with what this guy thought was true. That is a lesson that I wish that all of us in our effort to promote skepticism could learn, because I know that very often the anger I feel when confronting this kind of thinking makes me want to start cutting off the other person. But to do so is to abandon all hope of changing minds.”
- Ann Druyan, Producer of Cosmos Studios, Author, Speaker, and Carl Sagan’s wife, in an article from 2003 via the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
some new stuff I’m working on, I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.
We lost Carl Sagan on this day in 1996.
I drew this a year ago, but I’ve decided I’m going to post this picture every year, as a reminder: Sagan showed us that understanding the universe is within everyone’s grasp, that we are all scientists, and that in a vast cosmic arena, this Pale Blue Dot holds all the beauty, pain, love and knowledge that make us what we are. This universe is worth understanding, and we all have our part to play.
(Made with Paper)