25 November 2009

"We are a way for the universe to know itself."

I recently watched the first episode of Carl Sagan's Cosmos documentary series.  Seriously amazing... beautiful... profound and a great critique of the inherent problems of religion.

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. 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.  - Pale Blue Dot, pp. 8

Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors.  - Pale Blue Dot, pp. 53

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.  - Cosmos, pp 4

Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.  - Cosmos, pp. 333

In the clash between the comforts of unchallenged faith and undermining terrors that science poses to it, I have always held very dear a quote from the great scholar and theologian, Clement of Alexandria. He wrote "All truth, is God's truth." Amen to that.

Let us continue to be courageous and bold, believing and hoping that God will not be harmed by discovery of his own creation.

Pour one for me... and we'll discuss this over a pint...