A Warning From Carl Sagan on Scientific Ignorance

ClimateCrocks.com: Just before his death, Carl Sagan warned us about the […]

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Climate State

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January 1, 2014

ClimateCrocks.com: Just before his death, Carl Sagan warned us about the perils of a technological society where fewer and fewer people know, or care, what science says.

Isaac Asimov on the Greenhouse Effect

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  1. MEJ0RVIDⒶ December 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    totally agree… so many warnings and ppl tend to ignore them… science
    became the new god. a nice quote:
    Life would again have to make superhuman efforts, “as in a battle”, to
    break open for himself a path through the truths created by the sciences
    which dream of being but cannot see it in waking reality
    ― Lev Shestov

  2. Mari Thomas December 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Extremely interesting and some of the same things have been concerning me
    for a while :/ .. I feel like we are approaching a tipping point on this
    issue :(
    via upworthy

  3. Muse TD December 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    This is so true. Listen and fully understand it.

  4. Mark Collins December 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Everything we do is linked by technology with science being the backbone.
    Unfortunately few in congress care to support or know much about it.
    Cuts to NASA and the National Science Foundation are part of the problem
    Carl Sagan warned about nearly twenty years ago. Great interview by CBS’s
    Charlie Rose. #twt

  5. Borislav Batchiyski December 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    A giant of human thought predicting 2013 in 1996.

  6. TheCreativeNuisance December 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm - Reply

    What a great man.

  7. Desertphile December 13, 2013 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Four “thumbs down” for this video?! That exactly shows what the problem is.

  8. Ronin Dave December 14, 2013 at 12:21 am - Reply

    industrialist elites will use any technique in order to continue reaping
    profit until they no longer can or are chastise by society and made to
    stop. With the latter they will use and abuse religion, science,
    philosophy, general ignorance to delay and obfuscate society’s ability to
    stop their damaging practices.

  9. Roger Powell December 14, 2013 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Shortly before he died seventeen years ago, Dr Carl Sagan was interviewed
    about the drastic need for science education in a world which depends
    entirely on science but where so many people are scientifically indifferent.

    I do not think the situation has improved, either here in Australia or in
    America. The indifference to science manifests itself as ignorance, often
    leading to opposition and contempt.

    The prophets of religion got it mostly wrong but Carl Sagan was always

  10. Luciano Santos December 14, 2013 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan and government.

  11. Tyler Thrash December 14, 2013 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan on a more scientific government, and society.

  12. The Most Interesting Man in the World December 14, 2013 at 2:25 am - Reply

    Predicted? What’s true now about what he said that wasn’t in 1996 when he
    said it?

  13. Mark Boyer December 14, 2013 at 4:26 am - Reply

    He hit everything right on the head…especially about the skeptical on
    what is told by others

  14. jiberish001 December 14, 2013 at 4:43 am - Reply

    You can see, in the comments here, people affected by the very thing he was
    trying to warn about.
    Those with extreme ignorance of science are easily duped into fearing said
    science and blaming it on problems that don’t exist. And so when someone
    comes along to ensure them that they will fix those problems they gullibly
    accept this ‘help.’

  15. Fringe Elements December 14, 2013 at 6:21 am - Reply

    “The republicans have just abolished their own office of technology

    That’s probably a good thing.

  16. Sam Barnhouse December 14, 2013 at 6:28 am - Reply

    One might say.. Prophetic.

    via +Upworthy

  17. SonikForce December 14, 2013 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Dr. Sagan was absolutely right. And you can see it today – American
    politics, culture, and economies have not been able to keep up the rate of
    scientific and technological advancement. Have we reached a tipping point?
    Perhaps this is the reason why the fervently religious seem crazier than
    ever, why some people are so drawn to the past, and why some are afraid of
    the future.

    I think this can – and will – change. All we need to do is educate.

  18. Gabriele Santilli December 14, 2013 at 10:59 am - Reply

    “… otherwise we don’t run the government, the government runs us.”

  19. spacereject December 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to

  20. Efstratios Filippidis - TheUndogmatic Thinker December 14, 2013 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    In his last interview, CARL SAGAN predicted the DANGEROUS MIX between
    incapability to elect representatives capable of making wise decisions
    about what direction science and technology should advance.

    Carl Sagan and Government_ Charlie Rose.wmv

  21. William Brine December 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Prescient words from wisdom passed too soon. I think the technologies we
    are seeing today would delight and terrify Sagan.

    h/t +Casey McKinnon

  22. Andy Standfield December 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Next week, Carl Sagan will have been dead for 18 years. His last televised
    interview was with Charlie Rose, and it was amazing.

    Throughout his career, Carl consistently had one clear vision and his
    endeavors as a popularizer of science were actually only a means to try to
    make his vision a reality.

    His message was always that knowledge is the most important tool for
    freedom, peace, and fulfillment of humankind’s true potential. That was his
    vision: to see humankind rise above it’s pettiness and become something
    greater than it ever had been, because he believed we could.

    I do too.

    Do you?

    Carl Sagan and Government_ Charlie Rose.wmv

  23. HariVIyer December 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    thankfully I think it’s changing, though not fast enough. Eventually people
    need to realize that if they want to be part of the changing world instead
    of simply watching it from the sidelines, they need to educate themselves
    in the sciences and learn to think critically about how science can be
    responsibly utilized to drive change.

    Do not rely on public education systems to drive knowledge into you. They
    are crippled and will continue to remain crippled by the powers that be.
    You need to explore on your own. In the age of information ignorance is a

  24. steph wanamaker December 15, 2013 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Frighteningly accurate.

  25. loganv0410 December 15, 2013 at 3:12 am - Reply

    And in his autobiography this joker claims he gained his best insights into
    science while toking on weed! Calling others charlatans is the expert pot
    calling the kettle black.

  26. Supra Sovereign December 15, 2013 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Damn straight the government runs us. But which government runs us? It’s
    NOT the United States government. The United States government was
    SURRENDERED by econometric treaty over 60 years ago to a type 1
    civilization. That is the executive branch of the New World Order. Congress
    illegally ratified the treaty making this new world type 1 civilization an
    ILLEGAL entity. HOWEVER, that does not matter as long as they have TOP DOWN
    CONTROL over your lives because, after all, who can make war with a type 1
    civilization? The answer is….enlightened people who are willing to stand
    for righteousness, truth and honor. If that no longer exists then
    march…MARCH toward a new world order. DO IT already and get this over
    with. If not, then FIGHT the friggin tyrants! Fight by lawfully
    revitalizing the powers back into the hands of the people, by State
    statute. Organize your communities and work with your State legislators.
    DO IT! Don’t just sit there like dingalings. lol

  27. Niels Christian Ørgaard December 15, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

    *“We’ve arranged a society based on science and technology, in which nobody
    understands anything about science and technology,”* Sagan said. *“And this
    combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is going to
    blow up in our faces.”*

  28. ak11230 December 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Completely agree with Carl Sagan people without education cannot make
    the right laws about technology :))

  29. Ole Olson December 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    Sagan is totally correct. Pseudoscience is a danger, especially when those
    who believe it are dictating political policy. That’s why belief in science
    is pretty much my only precondition for who I vote for.

  30. bioman123 December 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    It unfortunate that evolution deniers, global warming deniers, and GMO
    deniers actually get elected to office.

  31. God Exists December 16, 2013 at 12:01 am - Reply

    be skeptic about anything about abiogenesis or evolution and bam…. you
    are an idiot. why? because you don’t believe nonlife can be life. even
    though it cannot be repeated.

  32. Publons December 16, 2013 at 3:10 am - Reply

    We couldn’t agree more with Carl Sagan – it’s vital that people understand
    the bases of our civilisation: #science and #technology.

    And our aim is to be a part of that!

    Carl Sagan and Government_ Charlie Rose.wmv

    #government #politics #policy #evidence #skepticism

  33. God Exists December 16, 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

    +Deckard Cain +YogaFire +Yvigny Goncharov abiogenesis and evolution are
    theories trying to explain how we came by. Abiogenesis explains nonlife to
    life, evolution explains non intelligent to intelligent.

    All trying to prove origin of life. Abiogenesis has never been repeated.
    Evolution , because of time needed to observe, has also never been
    observed. And cannot be repeated, even with organisms with very short
    lifespan, like fruitfly.

    So I become a skeptic of the status quo and an automatic idiot.

  34. Brad Snowder December 16, 2013 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    Sagan’s Warning. A prophecy concerning science and society and truer words
    were never spoken.

  35. theunpossiblefile December 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    A Republican Congressman Broun, also an MD rejects Evolution.
    Famous surgeon & Republican speaker Ben Carson MD also rejects “Evilution”.
    Carbon dating was not the 1st social network started 6000 years ago.-(
    All the mind control/ stalking “Paranoid Style” videos on YT by the
    thousand are not
    made by batcrazy paranoids. Most are deliberately made to manufacture doubt
    & confusion across the www. Alex Jones & Glenn Beck are very sane PR ppl in
    the biz of making the real sound like fiction & fictional conspiracy sound
    real. IOW, to create a separate reality that resonates with T-Party
    radically conservative interpretations of same. Separate news, separate
    education, faith based economics, Conservapedia,
    their own “science” financed by Big T, tobacco, Koch etc.

  36. Amy Stier December 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    A PSA, please be skeptical of things.

  37. Chuck-U Farly December 16, 2013 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    The biggest threat to science the that scam called religion. Science is the
    seeking of the truth about our universe while religions is about obscuring
    the truth.

  38. vipmd December 17, 2013 at 2:40 am - Reply

    Old ppl = Danger!

  39. John Riddle December 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm - Reply
  40. God Exists December 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    +NDSPTuba am sorry I do not need flu shots every year. and even to consider
    flu virus turning into new strains they are still flu virus. no one has
    observed a flu virus evolving into something else. they are always viruses,
    and forever will be. no one has billions of years to wait to see what will
    become of the flu virus if given billions of years. so your argument is
    invalid. Darwinian evolution is an assumption. not observable.

    also God isn’t a magical fairy.

  41. Boyd Smith December 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    “Science is…

  42. M. Rochecouste December 18, 2013 at 2:49 am - Reply

    A truly powerful statement from a man who really got me interested in
    science as a kid.

  43. Michael Hraba December 18, 2013 at 7:35 am - Reply

    “If we don’t understand it, then who’s making the decisions about science
    and technology? Just some members of Congress?” – Carl Sagan

    I miss you so much Carl.

    Prescience, powerful, scary words….

  44. mweibleii December 18, 2013 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    The government does now run our lives.

  45. Thomas Maincent December 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    So true. Remember to be skeptical!!!

  46. Tony James December 21, 2013 at 3:31 am - Reply

    What would you tell your 14-year-old self?
    My advice would be really -boring: keep on with science subjects, because
    understanding of science will be so important in your future life. I’ve
    held seminars in No. 10 about graphene and quantum theory, which I love
    doing. But I have to read up a lot before I get started. So: a little more
    on the physics and chemistry, please, David.
    David Cameron ~ Prime Minister

  47. 1955RodHot December 21, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    90% of the people who believe in the Bible have never read the Bible. Go
    ahead and try to prove me wrong on that.

  48. theunpossiblefile December 28, 2013 at 2:25 am - Reply

    Ayn Rand is exactly the kind of charlatan he was talking about.
    Even she would have swallowed a bottle of speed if she had ever
    seen the movies Atlas Shrugged 1 & 2 based on her book.
    Objectivist & Libertarian porn. Sat through 20 minutes of 2.
    Thank goshness I didn’t have to pay for it.

  49. Robert Hersh-geer December 31, 2013 at 10:40 pm - Reply
  50. Emberlea101 January 1, 2014 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Schools are a joke. I was told by a teacher that “Evolution is not
    important” and we didn’t read the chapter. Then when I got to college. The
    Biology professor said “Look, I know how your schools are around here.
    Forget everything” It was a nice change.

  51. theunpossiblefile January 2, 2014 at 5:04 am - Reply

    I was never a fan of Carl Sagan but look at the crap that seeks too replace
    the “Nasa End of Mankind”, Nibiru, Call From Another Galaxy, Ha!

  52. […] Young People, Future Generations and Nature A case for compensation for climate change destruction A Warning From Carl Sagan on Scientific Ignorance Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists […]

  53. Chip Fox January 3, 2014 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    We’ve arranged a society based on science & technology in which nobody
    understands anything about science and technology. Power+Ignorance

    Carl Sagan and Government_ Charlie Rose.wmv

  54. Mez Kitsu January 3, 2014 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    I’m glad I don’t live in a democracy. My government makes decisions based
    upon merit and nobility; not majority rule. ^^;

  55. Ramin Honary January 11, 2014 at 7:46 am - Reply

    *Carl Sagan in 1996 said our society depends on science in every way, yet
    very few of us understand it at all.*
    Money in politics is one major issue, but it is not the only thing
    destroying our society. Technology, and the fact that people who understand
    technology are so few and so specialized, have guaranteed that only the
    wealthy and powerful can take full advantage of it. A corrupt and powerful
    government/corporate ruling class pays knowledgeable people very well to
    harness the power of science, producing technology that is used to control
    people of lower class.
    In this interview, Sagan was more concerned about nuclear
    proliferation — the a military class has the power to destroy the whole
    planet elite, is ostensibly accountable to the people who know nearly
    nothing about it.
    But there is no shortage of examples in our generation. The recent *NSA
    scandal* and the continued persecution of whistleblowers. Out-of-control *costs
    of health care* is another issue resulting from science being controlled
    only by the wealthy elite. *Global warming* is monster that is even more of
    a problem because of socially engineered ignorance.
    I believe even problems like unemployment somehow tie into the
    disgraceful scientific ignorance of our society. The ruling class only
    looks out for themselves, the only work available is the work that exists
    to protect the interests ruling class. If you are not working to that end,
    you will not find employment.
    We may be able to solve the problem of money in politics, we may
    even see a constitutional amendment. But that won’t solve the whole
    problem. Scientific literacy needs to improve, worldwide, but especially in
    the United States, or the problems we face now will persist for
    generations, or destroy us entirely.

  56. Justus McNeal January 14, 2014 at 1:11 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan isn’t as bright of a person as his desire for fame implies.

    What he is using is what we in philosophy call part of the “end of history”
    fallacy. His idea is that we live in an age of the most modern technology,
    implying that we live in it in a way we did not before. This debate of
    religion versus science and technology has been going on for 200 years.
    There is nothing special about the modern day.

    He points to the fact that congressmen don’t have a background in science,
    and there is a good reason for this. Scientists collect and analyze data.
    Scientists do not apply their knowledge, they just try to stream the
    knowledge to those who can apply it. Policymaking and science are
    different disciplines and should be separated. The scientists are welcome
    to present their arguments, and should be given a more intent ear than most
    people, but there are very good reasons for scientists not getting involved
    in decision making because there is a lot of non-science that has to be
    taken into consideration.

    Scientists are specialists. A biologist will never be prepared to comment
    on sociology, etc… Policymakers need to listen to and make sense of
    arguments where they may not necessarily have all the information, but
    where they can get just enough to know the correct course of action.

    It’s not a perfect system, but…

    Keep in mind that the USSR had one of the world’s most extensive scientific
    programs. They spent far more on R&D than any other country on the planet,
    far more than the United States during the Cold War. The USSR is not with
    us today because of their overreliance on science.

  57. Sentience January 18, 2014 at 3:02 am - Reply

    well…. I guess we’re fucked now

  58. Fair Trade Community January 29, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    A Science Icon Died 17 Years Ago. In His Last Interview, He Made A Warning
    That Gives Me Goosebumps. Carl Sagan and Government_ Charlie Rose.wmv

  59. Michael Molash January 31, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Without education, the government runs us.

    Carl Sagan and Government_ Charlie Rose.wmv

  60. Robert Johns February 1, 2014 at 12:33 am - Reply

    And right there is the strongest argument for good education that there is.

  61. Roy Gardnerra February 1, 2014 at 4:18 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan inspired a generation of scientists with his work in and out of
    the classroom. But he didn’t always present science with cheer. In this
    clip, he passionately defends science with a grave warning. It’s something
    we all need to hear.


  62. Michael G. Smith February 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    His last interview. Sage advice as true now as then

  63. munstrumridcully February 6, 2014 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan, my hero! =)

  64. Gord Wait February 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm - Reply


    There seems to be a renewed war on science from many fronts.
    Politicians don’t want people to develop a good skeptical BS detector..

  65. Chuffererd March 16, 2014 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Here’s my home boy.

  66. Chuck Anziulewicz April 6, 2014 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Who could have guessed how utterly prophetic Carl Sagan could have been?

  67. Udo O April 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    He’s right.

  68. Sam Moore April 7, 2014 at 2:04 am - Reply

    You do not need to know everything science has to teach us. But you do need
    to know how to understand what science tells us. Something missing entirely
    too much not only in USA, UK, or first world countries, but the whole of
    the world is far too illiterate when it comes to science. Especially when
    science has such an impact on every person on the planet.
    This is great. First time I’ve seen this clip.

  69. Thomas Jespersen April 8, 2014 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan’s words are very much true today.

  70. IntoTheHeartOfMusic April 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    A fine mind and a true humanitarian.

  71. Peter Eduard April 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Is the public scientific knowledge reaching a level where we, the public,
    loose control?


  72. Phamquest April 11, 2014 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan was, and still is, The Shit.

  73. Ili Free April 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    A great mind with a great #warning about #science and #technology

  74. Willem Oosting April 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    It as been a while, but he was – and still is – right in my opinion; as the
    risks have only increased!

    I’ve been saying the same things in discussions lately, arguing against the
    “You can’t ask me about Technology, I am just not good at that” attitudes.

  75. Richard Kick April 15, 2014 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Carl Sagan is amazingly insightful years before most of us saw it coming.

  76. TheVenusProjectInfo April 24, 2014 at 8:27 am - Reply

    The Venus Project

  77. Christopher Albrizio April 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Carl Sagan: “Its a thing Jefferson lay great stress on: wasn’t enough, he
    said to enshrin some rights and in the constitution or Bill of Rights. The
    people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism in
    their education otherwise we don’t run the government, the government runs

  78. Overdog81 April 27, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Insightful! Unfortunately science and money go hand in hand only when
    science can be lucrative. A brighter scientific future for the human race
    does not interest capitalism

  79. Liz Leadbetter May 12, 2014 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I’m skeptical about whether those words are his.

See also  Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous

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