100 Best Carl Sagan Quotes About Love, Humanity & Earth [2021]

Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan: a great mixture of Astronomy, Cosmology, Space science, Astrophysics, Astrobiology, and Planetary science. He’s also scientifically interested and can state it to people, which gives him opportunities to become planet treasure at the scientific denial. If you’re looking for inspirational words, here would be the best Carl Sagan Quotes gathered by Penn Book.

Carl Sagan founded the Planetary Society in 1980. This international non-profit focuses on space exploration. He also created and hosted Cosmos: A Personal Voyage TV series.

Sagan received numerous medals throughout his career, including NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal (1977-81) and the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal (1994), among many others.

He was not only a well-respected scientist but also an author. His most famous works include The Demon-Haunted World; Science as a Candle In the Dark; Cosmos, Pale Blue Dot; A Vision for Human Future in Space; The Dragons of Eden; Speculations of Human Intelligence Evolution; and Contact.

Best Quotes From Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan Quotes

Quotes about our place in the universe

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

2. “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.”

3. “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 star-stuff.”

4. “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

5. “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.”

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

7. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

8. “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?”

9. “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.”

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

Quotes From Pale Blue Dot

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

12. “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.”

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, and they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

14. “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.”

15. “We are like butterflies that flutter for a day and think it is forever.”

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

17. “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.”

18. “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.”

19. “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.”

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

About life and faith

Quotes About life and faith

21. “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. 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

22. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”

23. “Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.”

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

25. “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.”

26. “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.”

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

28. “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?”

29. “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.”

30. “The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.”

Quotes about humanity

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

32. “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.”

33. “The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.”

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

35. “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”

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

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

38. “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

39. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

About our place in the universe

Quotes about science and space

40. “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

41. “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.”

42. “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.”

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

44. “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.”

45. “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.”

Quotes that will expand your mind

46. “We are fortunate: we are alive; we are powerful; the welfare of our civilization and our species is in our hands. If we do not speak for Earth, who will? If we are not committed to our own survival, who will be?” – Carl Sagan

47. “For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness.”

48. “We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.”

49. “Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.”

50. “We are privileged to live in, and if we are lucky to influence, one of the most critical epochs in the history of the human species.”

51. “I think if we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from, we will have failed.”

52. “The nature of life on Earth and the search for life elsewhere are two sides of the same question—the search for who we are.”

53. “The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

54. “I believe that the extraordinary should certainly be pursued. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

55. “Science is an ongoing process. It never ends. There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved, after which all the scientists can retire.”

56. “Are we willing to tolerate ignorance and complacency in matters that affect the entire human family?”

57. “Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking.”

58. “We tend not to be especially critical when presented with evidence that seems to confirm our prejudices.”

59. “I would rather be a transformed ape than a degenerate son of Adam.”

60. “The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”

61. “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” – Carl Sagan

More Carl Sagan quotes

62. “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.”

63. “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.”

64. “Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

65. “The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”

66. “Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.”

67. “Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.”

68. “Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.”

69. “I know of no area of human endeavor in which science has not had at least one important thing to say.”

70. “It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

71. “The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

72. “The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.”

73. “It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English—up to fifty words used in correct context—no human being has been reported to have learned dolphins.”

74. “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”

75. “The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the search for a generally acceptable cosmic context for the human species. In the deepest sense, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a search for ourselves.”

76. “There is a place with four suns in the sky—red, white, blue, and yellow; two of them are so close together that they touch, and star-stuff flows between them. I know of a world with a million moons. I know of a sun the size of the Earth—and made of diamond. There are atomic nuclei a few miles across which rotate thirty times a second. There are tiny grains between the stars, with the size and atomic composition of bacteria. There are stars leaving the Milky Way and immense gas clouds falling into it. There are turbulent plasmas writhing with X- and gamma-rays and mighty stellar explosions. There are, perhaps, places that are outside our universe. The universe is vast and awesome, and for the first time we are becoming a part of it.”

77. “In general, human societies are not innovative. They are hierarchical and ritualistic. Suggestions for change are greeted with suspicion: they imply an unpleasant future variation in ritual and hierarchy: an exchange of one set of rituals for another, or perhaps for a less structured society with fewer rituals. And yet there are times when societies must change. “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present” was Abraham Lincoln’s description of this truth. Much of the difficulty in attempting to restructure American and other societies arise from this resistance by groups with vested interests in the status quo. Significant change might require those who are now high in the hierarchy to move downward many steps. This seems to them undesirable and is resisted.”

78. “On the scale of worlds — to say nothing of stars or galaxies — humans are inconsequential, a thin film of life on an obscure and solitary lump of rock and metal.”

79. “We can’t just conclude that science puts too much power into the hands of morally feeble technologists or corrupt, power-crazed politicians and decide to get rid of it. Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history. Advances in transportation, communication, and entertainment have transformed the world. ”

80. “At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes—an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.”

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