44 Carl Sagan Quotes About Earth, Love & Humanity

44 Carl Sagan Quotes About Earth, Love & Humanity

Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, author and science communicator, among many other things.

He is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator, and he was also the author of several best selling books, including:

  • Cosmos
  • Billions & Billions
  • Pale Blue Dot
  • The Dragons of Eden
  • Contact

Sagan lived from 1934-1996, and we’ve put together some of our all time favorite Carl Sagan quotes today:

 

44 Carl Sagan Quotes

1. “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan

2. “But I try not to think with my gut. If I’m serious about understanding the world, thinking with anything besides my brain, as tempting as that might be, is likely to get me into trouble.” – Carl Sagan

3. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan

4. “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.” – Carl Sagan

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5. “If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why’s he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there’s one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He’s not good at design, he’s not good at execution. He’d be out of business, if there was any competition.” – Carl Sagan

6. “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” – Carl Sagan

7. “Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.” – Carl Sagan

 

8th of 44 Carl Sagan Quotes

8. “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.” – Carl Sagan

 

9. “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” – Carl Sagan

10. “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” – Carl Sagan

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11. “What a marvelous cooperative arrangement – plants and animals each inhaling each other’s exhalations, a kind of planet-wide mutual mouth-to-stoma resuscitation, the entire elegant cycle powered by a star 150 million kilometers away.” – Carl Sagan

12. “A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.” – Carl Sagan

13. “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan

 

14th of 44 Carl Sagan Quotes

14. “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan

 

15. “I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.” – Carl Sagan

16. “If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?” – Carl Sagan

17. “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan

18. “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” – Carl Sagan

19. “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” – Carl Sagan

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20. “The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.” – Carl Sagan

21. “We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.” – Carl Sagan

 

22nd of 44 Carl Sagan Quotes

22. “When you make the finding yourself – even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light – you’ll never forget it.” – Carl Sagan

 

23. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” – Carl Sagan

24. “Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” – Carl Sagan

25. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan

26. “I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star.” – Carl Sagan

27. “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” – Carl Sagan

28. “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” – Carl Sagan

29. “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” – Carl Sagan

30. “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.” – Carl Sagan

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31st of 44 Carl Sagan Quotes

31. “The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.” – Carl Sagan

 

32. “We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.” – Carl Sagan

33. “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” – Carl Sagan

34. “All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” – Carl Sagan

35. “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” – Carl Sagan

36. “Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.” – Carl Sagan

37. “I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.” – Carl Sagan

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38th of 44 Carl Sagan Quotes

38. “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan

 

39. “Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.” – Carl Sagan

40. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan

41. “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counter-intuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.” – Carl Sagan

42. “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” – Carl Sagan

43. “We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” – Carl Sagan

44. “You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.” – Carl Sagan

 

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