(Tribute to Carl Sagan)
- - -
Posts - Science - 072309)
The Carl Sagan Portal
- - -
- - -
Carl Sagan Lives (061700)
- - -
"Excerpts from 'Billions and Billions: Thoughts
On Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium',
the last book by Carl Sagan"
From the Epilogue (by Carl's wife, Ann Druyan)
"Contrary to the fantasies of the fundamentalists, there was no
deathbed conversion, no last minute refuge taken in a comforting
vision of a heaven or an afterlife. For Carl, what mattered most
was what was true, not merely what would make us feel better.
Even at this moment when anyone would be forgiven for turning
away from the reality of our situation, Carl was unflinching. As
we looked deeply into each other's eyes, it was with a shared
conviction that our wondrous life together was ending forever."
... later (end) of Epilogue ...
"As I make the changes in proof that Carl feared might be
necessary, his son Jeremy is upstairs giving Sam his nightly
computer lesson. Sasha is in her room doing homework. The
Voyager spacecraft, with their revelations of a tiny world
graced by music and love, are beyond the outermost planets,
making for the open sea of interstellar space. They are hurtling
at a speed of forty thousand miles per hour toward the stars
and a destiny about which we can only dream.
I sit surrounded by cartons of mail from people all over the
planet who mourn Carl's loss. Many of them credit him with
their awakenings. Some of them say that Carl's example has
inspired them to work for science and reason against the forces
of superstition and fundamentalism. These thoughts comfort
me and lift me up out of my heartache. They allow me to feel,
without resorting to the supernatural, that Carl lives."
February 14, 1997
Ithaca, New York
- - -
- - -
Ann Druyan Talks About Science, Religion,
Wonder, Awe . . . and Carl Sagan
- - -
I think the roots of this antagonism to science
run very deep. They're ancient. We see them
in Genesis, this first story, this founding myth
of ours, in which the first humans are doomed
and cursed eternally for asking a question, for
partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
It's puzzling that Eden is synonymous with para-
dise when, if you think about it at all, it's more
like a maximum-security prison with twenty-four
God threatens to kill Adam and Eve if they dis-
obey his wishes. God tells them that the worst
crime, a capital offense, is to ask a question; to
partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
What kind of father is this?
This imperative not to be curious is probably the
most self-hating aspect of all, because what is
our selective advantage as a species? We're not
the fastest. We're not the strongest. We're not
the biggest. However, we do have one selective
advantage that has enabled us to survive and
prosper and endure:
A fairly large brain
relative to our
body size. This has made it possible
for us to ask questions and to recog-
nize patterns. And slowly over the
generations we've turned this aptitude
into an ability to reconstruct our dis-
tant past, to question the very origins
of the universe and life itself. It's
only advantage, and yet this is the
one thing that God does not want us
Science is nothing more than a never-ending
search for truth. What could be more profoundly
sacred than that?
Here's science, just working like a tireless machine.
It's a phenomenally successful one, but its work
will never be finished.
In four hundred years, we evolved from a planet
of people who are absolutely convinced that the
universe revolves around us. No inkling that the
Sun doesn't revolve around us, let alone that we
are but a minuscule part of a galaxy that contains
roughly a hundred billion stars.
If scientists are correct, if recent findings of planets
that revolve around other stars are correct, there
are perhaps five hundred billion worlds in this gal-
axy, in a universe of perhaps another hundred
a man named Giordano Bruno was burned alive for
one reason: he would not utter the phrase, "There
are no other worlds."
Is the notion that we are tiny and the universe is vast
too much of a blow to our shaky self-esteem?
It has only been through science that we have been
able to pierce this infantile, dysfunctional need to be
the center of the universe, the only love object of
Science has made it possible to reconstruct our dis-
tant past without the need to idealize it ... We've
been able to view our tiny little home as it is.
Science has brought us to the threshold of accept-
ance of the vastness.
It has carried us to the gateway of the universe.
That we even do science is hopeful evidence for our
mental health. It's a breakthrough. However, it's not
enough to allow these insights; we must take them
The Bible says that the Earth is flat. The Bible says
that we were created separately from the rest of life.
If you look at it honestly, you have to give up these
basic ideas, you have to admit that the Bible is not
infallible, it's not the gospel truth of the creator of
To me, faith is antithetical to the values of science.
Not hope, which is very different from faith. I have
a lot of hope.
When my husband died, because he was so famous
and known for not being a believer, many people
would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-
and ask me if Carl changed at the end and con-
verted to a belief in an afterlife.
They also frequently ask me if I think I will see
him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging
courage and never sought refuge in illusions.
I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But,
the great thing is that when we were together,
for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid
appreciation of how brief and precious life is.
We never trivialized the meaning of death by
pretending it was anything other than a final
I don't think I'll ever see Carl again. But I saw
him. We saw each other. We found each other
in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
Copyright (c)2003 Ann Druyan
Here is the dedication Carl Sagan wrote
in his best-selling book Cosmos:
For Ann Druyan
In the vastness of space and the immensity of time,
it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - -
- - -
(Top Posts - Science - 110905)
- - -
"... Inspiring, provocative, enlightening, enrich-
ing, these are but a few of the many accolades
describing Carl Sagan's greatest work in a life
cut far too short by the naturalistic forces Carl
went to great lengths to explain in this series. ..."
- - -
Cosmos (Carl Sagan)
- - -
best-selling science book ever published in the
English language, Cosmos is a magnificent overview
of the past, present, and future of science. Brilliant
and provocative, it traces today's knowledge and
scientific methods to their historical roots, blending
science and philosophy in a wholly energetic and
- - -
All of Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' Videos
Note that at the end of some of these videos,
Carl Sagan made an update 10 to 12 years
after the original air date of the series in 1980.
Dare I say, this series (along with all of Carl's
other contributions to logic, reason, responsi-
bility, scientific & historical knowledge) remains
the most influential and inspiring that I have
experienced in all my (now) close to 54 years
on planet Earth.
Thanks to Carl Sagan for this magnificent work
of a scientific master of combining compelling
science with powerful and convincing persuasion.
In writing this post, I re-viewed 'Cosmos', and
it remains as enrapturing and exciting and causal
in tears-of-joy as it was when it originally aired.
(closed captioning is available on these videos)
- - -
Cosmos (1 of 13) -- The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
|At the beginning of this
cosmic journey across
space and time, Dr. Carl Sagan takes us to the edge of the universe
aboard a spaceship of the imagination.
In the 3rd century B.C.E., Eratos - thenes, the third chief librarian
the Great Library of Alexandria, the center of science and learning in
the ancient world, computed the circumference of the Earth with amazing
accuracy, based on little more than sticks & shadows &
his reasoning skills as a scientist.
The Library of Alexandria, at its
height 2,000 years ago, all the knowledge of the ancient world was
there, the first true research institute in the history of the world.
|The library was destroyed 7
centuries after it
was founded. At its peak it contained nearly one million papyrus
manuscript scrolls, the first time the knowledge of the world was
collected in one place.
The surviving manuscripts helped to spur the
European Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Cosmic calendar (based on compressing an estimated 15 billion years
down to a year) -- since Cosmos was made, WMAP has recently discovered
that the actual age of the expansion of the space-time continuum we
exist in is 13.7
Cosmos (2 of 13) -- One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
|Dr. Sagan's cosmic calendar
makes the history of
the universe understandable and frames the origin and
evolution of life.
Some Japanese history and how selection led to a crab
eventually having a carapace which resembles the face of a Samurai
How natural selection eventually led to the diversity present in the
natural world, including a plausible explanation of the origin and
evolution of life. Evolution is a fact, not a theory -- it really
Cambrian explosion -- enormous explosion of new multicellular life
forms (540 million years ago).
Dinosaurs thrived for 160 million years, but perished around the time
of the appearance of the first flower.
|Compressing 4 billion years
of evolution into 40
The same 50 organic molecules are used in the essential machinery of
Earth life in every living thing.
The biological holy of holies -- the DNA double helix, a machine with
about a 100 billion moving parts (atoms) -- there are as many atoms in
one molecule of DNA as there are stars in a typical galaxy.
Cosmos update (10 years later) -- RNA can reproduce itself. Scientists
wonder if first molecule of life was an RNA molecule. Feasible that key
building blocks for life origins came from comets, which have a lot of
organic molecules in them. Chicxulub impact now known to be primarily
responsible for dinosaur extinction.
Cosmos (3 of 13) -- The Harmony of the Worlds
|This episode includes a
of observing the
night-time sky, a debunking of astrology, the Earth - centered model of
Ptolemy, and a historical recap of
Also included, the 15th & 16th century life of
Johannes Kepler, the last scientific
astrologer, the first modern astronomer and the author of the
science fiction novel, Somnium (The Dream), which described a journey
to the moon in which the space travellers stood on the surface, and
gazed up to see rotating slowly above them, the lovely planet Earth.
Exiled for refusing to convert from Protestantism to Catholicism,
Kepler collaborated with Tycho Brahe to arrive at the laws of planetary
|Kepler discovered planets
move in elliptical
faster the closer they got to the sun, moving slower the further away
they were from the sun.
Kepler was the first person to fully understand how the planets moved
and how the solar system works. 8 days after his discovery of the 3rd
law of planetary motion, the Thirty Year's War began.
Initially the war was fought largely as a religious conflict between
Protestants and Catholics in the Roman Empire, although other
disputes played a significant part. The Thirty Years' War marked the
last major religious war in mainland Europe, ending the large-scale
religious bloodshed accompanying the Reformation, in 1648.
Cosmos (4 of 13) -- Heaven and Hell
|Tunguska blast which
occurred in Russia in 1908.
Comets, throughout history, oft-times viewed as harbingers of doom.
In 1178, 5 men witnessed what has been interpreted as a collision of an
object with the moon A discussion of that report, along with theories
regarding its nature, appear at Historic lunar impact questioned,
a story written on May 1, 2001.
A descent through the hellish atmosphere of Venus to explore its
broiling surface serves as a warning to our world about the possible
consequences of the increasing greenhouse effect.
Humans evolved to see in visible light, a spectrum of colors from
violet to blue to green to yellow to orange to red.
However, light consists of much outside of visible light. Beyond
visible light, is ultraviolet light. Beyond that are X-rays. Beyond
that are gamma rays.
On the other side is the infrared, and beyond that are radio waves. All
of these are different kinds of light, differing only in their
In the cosmos, there is no refuge from change. If you wait long enough,
everything changes. Both the insignificant and the extraordinary are
the architects of the natural world.
If we ruin the Earth, there is no place else to go. The Earth need not
resemble Venus very closely for it to become barren and lifeless. It
may not take much to destabilize the Earth's climate, to convert this
heaven, our only home in the cosmos, into a kind of hell.
Cosmos (5 of 13) -- Blues for a Red Planet
|Is there life on Mars? Dr.
Sagan takes viewers on a tour of the red planet first through the eyes
of science fiction authors, and then through the unblinking
eyes of two Viking spacecraft.
Recap of the impact of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds (written in 1897;
broadcast via radio 40 years later, frightening many who listened to
the broadcast in a day & age in which radio was the dominant
form of both news & entertainment).
Percival Lowell, in 1908, proposed that canals on Mars supported the
idea that intelligent beings existed there.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (famous for his creation of the Tarzan character)
wrote sci-fi and fantasy stories which included travel to various
planets (including Mars).
Robert Goddard, spurred on
by the writings of Wells, Lowell, and Burroughs, was a pioneer of
liquid - fueled rocketry in the 1920s and 1930s.
Viking spacecraft search for Mars life yielded tantalizing but
inconclusive results. In the future, Mars rovers will be utilized. In
the distant future, will
humans transform Mars to become Earthlike?
Cosmos (6 of 13) -- Travellers' Tales
|Dr. Sagan compares
explorers who ventured in sailing ships halfway around our planet in
their quest for wealth and knowledge to the excitement around Voyager's
expeditions to Jupiter and Saturn, and beyond.
in its inclusion of a golden message from Earth, for any intelligent
beings that might some day meet up with the spacecraft as it travels
beyond our solar system.
The Dutch, in the 17th century, pursued vigorous planetary
exploration, embracing (more than any country of the time) the spirit
of the Enlightenment (when the age of reason and science began to
overturn ancient notions of authority / tradition oft -
times controlled by religion). Holland prospered in its
(1596-1687): "The world is my country, science is my religion." A
friend of Huygens, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, is considered the world's
first microbiologist, and is the first to observe & describe
- celled organisms. He also is the first to record microscopic
observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatazoa, and blood flow in
Constantijn Huygens' son, Christiaan Huygens,
advanced the idea that light was a kind of wave, and was the first to
see a surface feature on Mars, the first to speculate
Venus completely covered with clouds, the discoverer of Titan, and the inventor of the pendulum clock.
First detailed exploration of Europa and Io, in 1979 by Voyager, shown.
Cosmos (7 of 13) -- The Backbone of Night
|Carl Sagan visits a
6th-grade class in a school
he once attended in Brooklyn.
once thought the stars were campfires in the sky and the Milky Way "the
backbone of night." Some of the causality in the origins of human
stories regarding gods, rituals, myths.
In Ionia, in the 6th century
B.C.E., it was argued that the universe was knowable, that universe
order was cosmos, and that nature could be
explained without the gods -- this is the place where science was born,
between 600 & 400 B.C.E.
Thales, an Ionian (per Bertrand Russell, he was the "father of western
philosophy"). A student of Thales,
that life had originated in water and mud, and then
dry land, and
|that humans must have
evolved from simpler
forms (an insight that waited 24 centuries before being confirmed by
everything to be composed of atoms (confirmed by modern-day
scientists), that nothing happened at random, that everything has a
He perceived the prevailing religions of the
time as evil, neither souls or immortal gods
was round, every world had a beginning and an end,
world could be destroyed by a collision with another world.
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.
Cosmos (8 of 13) -- Travels in Space and Time
handful of sand contains about 10,000 grains, more than the total
number of stars you can see with the naked eye on a clear night. The
total number of stars in the universe is larger than the number of all
the grains of sand on all the beaches of planet Earth.
Albert Einstein's discovery of the speed of light, and his development
of the theory of special relativity. Strange things happen
approach the speed of light, such as time slowing down.
Discussion of possible designs for spacecraft which
approach the speed
of light. Carl believes that if we do not destroy ourselves, we will
one day travel to the stars.
|Detailed discussion of the
possibilities regarding time travel.
For example, what if the first scientists, the Ionians, had 'won'?
History would've likely dramatically changed, and we might, by now, be
going to the stars (not to mention having cured 'disease' and solving a
much greater array of mysteries than we've solved to-date).
Discussion of the possible adventures humans will experience when we
set sail for journeys to distant stars.
Recap of the evolutionary history of all life on Earth. We are star
stuff which has taken destiny into its own hands.
Cosmos (9 of 13) -- The Lives of the Stars
|A typical atom is surrounded
by a cloud of electrons. Atoms are very small. Atoms are mainly empty
space. Matter is composed chiefly of nothing.
An infinity of the very small (when considering cutting an atom in
half, and cutting that in half, etc.) and an infinity of the very large
(when considering the cosmos and going beyond the edge of all that is
known), these infinities are among the most awesome of human
ideas, an unending progression which goes on forever.
Atoms are made in the inside of stars.
Using computer animation and
amazing astronomical art, Dr. Sagan shows how stars are born, live, die
and sometimes collapse to form neutron stars or black holes.
|Included, the projected end
of the sun and the end of the Earth.
Supernova explosions described.
Our planet, our society, and we ourselves are built of star stuff.
On July 4, 1054, the Chinese recorded the appearance of a new star, a
result of a supernova explosion resulting in the Crab nebula.
Postulations on possibilities of black holes being gateways to other
areas of space / time / other universes.
It makes good sense to revere the sun and the stars because we are
their children. Our matter and our form are determined by the cosmos of
which we are a part.
Cosmos (10 of 13) -- The Edge of Forever
|How did the universe arise?
What was around before that? Might there have been no beginning? Is the
universe infinitely old?
We are a universe of galaxies. We've been investigating galaxies for
less than a century.
The universe, sometimes violent, sometimes benign, is indifferent to
the concerns of creatures such as we.
Doppler effect explained.
In 1929, Milton Humason & Edwin Hubble discovered evidence for
big bang (the big bang had first been proposed by Georges Lemaitre in
The nature of
What happened before the big bang?
In many cultures, the customary
answer is that a god or gods did it.
|Cosmology brings us face to
with the deepest mysteries, with questions that were once treated only
with religions and myths.
Hinduism and its notions of creation and nature are explored. Among its
ideas, some of which resemble modern ideas of science &
the cosmos itself undergoes an infinite number of
deaths & rebirths
a day and night of Brahma is 8.64
billion years long
the universe is but a dream of a god
there are an infinite number of other universes,
each with its own god
humans may not be a dream of the gods, but
rather, the gods may be a dream of humans
Every human generation has asked about the origin & fate of the
cosmos. Ours is the first generation with a real chance of finding some
of the answers. One way or another, we are poised at the edge of
Cosmos (11 of 13) -- The Persistence of Memory
Whales, intelligent graceful masters of the deep
oceans, the largest creatures to ever
evolve, larger by far than the dinosaurs. Whale songs
Gene libraries made of DNA,
books whose function is to store &
transfer information. Every organism contains a portable library of DNA
A virus? 10,000
A bacterium? 1 million bits.
An amoeba? 400 million bits.
A whale or a human? 5 billion bits.
The brain has evolved from the inside out. The brain stem evolved
first, handling basic biological functions, such as heartbeat &
respiration. The higher functions of the
brain evolved in three successive stages:
1) Reptile brain atop the
brain stem, evolved hundreds of millions of
years ago; the seat of aggression, ritual, territoriality, &
system surrounding the reptile brain, evolved tens of millions
of years ago, a
major source of our moods & emotions & concern for the
3) Cerebral cortex surrounding the
limbic system, evolved millions of
years ago, 2/3rds of human brain mass, where matter is transformed into
consciousness, the realm of intuition & critical analysis; it
regulates our conscious lives.
Neurons, tiny switching elements, humans have 100 billion of them, with
something like 100 trillion inter - connections. The human brain
library has 10,000 times more information in it than the human gene
No longer at the mercy of the reptile brain, we can change ourselves.
Think of the possibilities.
Writing is perhaps the greatest human invention, the repository of our
long evolutionary journey, from genes to brains to books.
Cosmos (12 of 13) -- Encyclopedia Galactica
|Extraordinary claims require
Have we been visited by aliens?
All the claims of extraterrestrial visits / contacts / abductions /
sightings, none of them have been supported by extraordinary evidence.
Remembrance of the work of linguist Jean - François Champollion, who
decoded the Rosetta Stone, enabling ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic
scripts to be deciphered.
We are currently searching for a message from the stars, using radio
|Using the Drake equation,
Carl guesses at the likely number of advanced civilizations in the
Milky Way galaxy.
A guess on the low side based on few civilizations, 1/100
millionth of those that ever developed technological capabilities
lasting past their technological adolescence, only 10.
A guess on the high side, with 1/100th of civilizations that ever
developed technological capabilities lasting past their technological
Thoughts on what an Encyclopedia Galactica, containing vast information
on planets and living beings throughout the Milky Way galaxy, might
Cosmos (13 of 13) -- Who Speaks for Earth?
Remembrances of the first contacts between European & Native
American cultures. In some, the contact was peaceful. Far too often,
however, the contact was hostile & deleterious to the survival
of the Native Americans.
Dr. Sagan's ominous warnings against nuclear war. In all of World War
II, a total of -2- megatons of bombs were dropped.
Now, one nuclear bomb can deliever that level of destruction.
The world impoverishes itself by spending a trillion dollars per year
on preparations for war, & by employing perhaps half the
scientists on the planet in military endeavors.
Recap of the advances present in the ancient world when the Library of
Alexandria existed. Hypatia, Greek
scholar, scientist, first notable woman in
mathematics, teacher of philosophy & astronomy, a
pagan, a member of the Library of Alexandria, in 415 C.E., on her
way to work, was brutally killed by a Christian mob.
| Per wikipedia:
"Christian monks stripped her naked & dragged her though the
streets to the newly Christianised Caesareum church, where she was
brutally killed. Some reports suggest she was flayed with ostraca
(potshards) and set ablaze while still alive, though other accounts
suggest those actions happened after her death". The Library
of Alexandria was destroyed within a year of her death.
Recap of the evolution of the space - time continuum we exist within,
and of Earth life, from the big bang 'til now. We are a way for the
cosmos to know itself. We are star stuff.
Science connects us with our origins. Science's only sacred truth is
that there are no sacred truths.
Our obligation to survive & flourish is owed not just to
ourselves, but also to that cosmos, ancient & vast, from which
- - -
Recent posts with helpful references:
"The Universe - Parallel Universes History
Channel, 2008 ... Parallel Universes ... BBC
Documentary, 2001 ... Observable universe
... WMAP Content of the Universe ... Multi-
verse ... Not just a staple of science fiction,
other universes are a direct implication of
cosmological observations, by Max Tegmark ..."
Tree of All Earth Life (061509)
"... scientists and nonscientists now have
access to information about when living species
and their ancestors originated, information that
previously was difficult to find or inaccessible ..."
to become masters of their
own evolution? (060909)
"Bioengineers will likely control the future of
humans as a species ..."
'Missing Link' in Human Family
"Scientists find the 'missing link': A
old lemur that could revolutionise how we see
human evolution ... 'Ida is a link between the apes,
monkeys and us with the rest of the mammals and
ultimately the whole animal kingdom. I think Darwin
would have been thrilled.' ..."
leading scientists (overwhelming
majority) disbelieve in a personal God
1998, 72.2% of National Academy of Sciences
members have disbelief in a personal God. ... 20.8%
have doubt or agnosticism in a personal God. ... So,
to sum it up, 93.0% of National Academy of Sciences
members have disbelief, doubt, or agnosticism regard-
ing a personal God. ... Evidence pointing to a negative
relationship between intelligence and religious belief
within nations comes from four sources. ... in only 17%
of the countries (23 out of 137) does the proportion
of the population who disbelieve in god rise above
20%. These are virtually all the higher IQ countries. ..."
Richard Dawkins -- Growing Up
in the Universe
"Growing Up to a Proper Scientific
of the Universe Based Upon Evidence-Public
Argument rather than Authority or Tradition or
Private Revelation / Trying to Understand How
the Universe Works - Not Copping Out With
Supernatural Ideas that only Seem to Explain
Things -but- Actually Explain Nothing"
Large Hadron Collider
"... Are there undiscovered principles of
What is the origin of mass? Do extra dimensions
exist? What is dark matter? How can we solve
the mystery of dark energy? And how did the
universe come to be? ..."
When the universe turns bad
(Apophis is near-term threat)
"In the face of disaster, optimists tend to
grateful because they easily imagine how much
worse things could have been. Count astro-
physicists among them. When we hear about
earthly problems, many of us think to ourselves,
'You have no idea ...' In 2029 [Friday, April 13,
2009] , it [Apophis] will pass within about
18,000 miles of Earth ... If Apophis passes at
18,893 miles above Earth, it will pass through
a gravitational 'keyhole' about half a mile wide,
which would nudge it just enough to send it
on a course for collision with Earth seven years
later, on April 13, 2036 [Easter Sunday].' ..."
What triggers mass extinctions?
"... the Big Five - the five greatest mass
extinctions over the past 500 million years,
each of which is thought to have annihilated
anywhere from 50 to 95 percent of all species
on the planet. ... main suspects behind these
catastrophes seem to come either from above,
in the form of deadly asteroids or comets,
or from below, in the form of extraordinarily
massive volcanism. Occasionally, however,
unexpected culprits arise - for instance, other-
wise innocuous forests. ..."
The Root of All Evil?
of Evidence for
The following videos, well-produced, both
visually and in content, describe some of the
dangers of indoctrinating children into religious
faith from a very young age, with Richard
Dawkins the featured speaker, and with
Dawkins' interviews with religious proponents
also featured. ..."
Naturalistic Origins and Evolution
(073102, expanded to 4 of 4 on 031909 )
"Intelligent Design advocates (i.e., the
latest phase in the evolution of creationists/
goddidditists) seem to be steadfastly com-
mitted to dismissing out-of-hand the prepon-
derance of evidence for evolution against
the extreme lack of evidence for 'goddiddit'
or 'aliensdiddit' ..."
Future Search for Earthlike
& Life (022709)
"... links to Hubble photos ... Kepler Mission:
search for habitable planets ... James Webb Space
Telescope ... The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT),
Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and European
Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)-all expected
to see first light by 2020-will dwarf the biggest
observatories in use today. ... Are You Out There,
Dawkins : Religious Faith,
Evolution, Science (022509)
"... Are people ready to jettison, or at
question, religious faith as a way to explain
and manage the world? 'I'm starting to think
the answer to that may be yes, and very
encouraging it is, too,' Dawkins said ..."
about origin of life solved? (022009)
"... a new theory to show how a universal
molecular machine, called ribosome, self-
assembled or self-organized itself to become
a critical step in generating all life on earth ...
Thanks to the research ... scientists now have
a glimpse of one key event that emerged
spontaneously out of the primordial chemical
soup of the early earth. ..."
"Monkeys Can Subtract ... Chimp Memory
Humans' ... The more we study dolphins, the brighter
they turn out to be ... Crows Have Human-Like
Intelligence ... Is Rollie an exception, or are all
gorillas as clever? ... Primate Intelligence ... Why
Elephants Might Be as Smart as Humans ... The
Intelligence of Animals ... Parrots 'as intelligent'
as young children ..."
Evolution? 'It's not only a theory.
It is a
historical fact, evident and provable.' (2 of 2)
"Charles Darwin ... Sir David Attenborough
discusses how Darwin helped shape his career
... What evidence supports evolution through
natural selection? ... Why Evolution Is True ..."
Known Universe (021509)
"... examining the fabric of space and time
the vastness of the universe is discussed ...
deconstructing the biggest explosions in the
universe, including asteroid impacts, super-
novas, and the big bang ... Galaxy has billions
of planets that support life forms, says leading
Intelligent Design versus
"... 'Intelligent design is just a way for
to put a new face on their beliefs and agenda and
to try and get around legislation on the separation
of church and state.' ... 'Why Evolution is True' ..."
Evolution? 'It's not only a theory.
It is a
historical fact, evident and provable.' (1 of 2)
"... 'The proof comes from fossils,
distribution, genetics' ... Links/excerpts to some
helful information regarding evolution's past/
present/future, science, and how the scientific
method is a superior methodology when it
comes to open-minded search for verity ..."
Charles Darwin, a Hero of Humankind,
born 200 years ago (012009)
"February 12, 1809, a monumental day in
the evolution of humankind from ignorance
and myth -to- a much deeper understanding
of the place of homo sapiens and all life in
a naturalistic world. ..."
An Ethanol and/or Solar and/or
and/or Fusion Future? (100908)
Into Ethanol -- Forget about corn-future
biofuels will be made of wood chips and trash ...
Powering the Planet With Sun-Harnessing Balloons
... High-Flying Windmills Blow Away Their Ground-
Based Cousins ... Can Engineers Achieve the Holy
Grail of Energy: Infinite and Clean? ..."
Evolution, Dogs (100708)
"... Based on DNA evidence, the wolf
of modern dogs diverged from other wolves
about 100,000 years ago ... You would have
to admit, in a moment of logic and reason, that
Darwin's theory of evolution is one of humankind's
greatest accomplishments. ..."
NASA Identifies Carbon-rich Molecules
in Meteors as the 'Origin of Life'
"... These molecules, called quinones, are poten-
tially significant for the "origin of life" or the habit-
ability of planets. ..."
Water, Water, Everywhere, So
Let's All Have a Drink (061808)
"... Offshore desalination could turn
into an inexhaustible water supply. ..."
Life Elsewhere in a 'Crowded'
"... as for stars with planets, the term 'crowded'
is used in the following to describe the latest
discoveries of planets which a couple of scientists
view as increasing the likelihood that life and
planets are likely widespread in the particular
universe we happen to inhabit an itsy-bitsy tiny
part of, relatively speaking ..."
Future Think (June 6, 2008) (060608)
"... Why Men Have Breasts ... IBM
cool chips with water ... New Way To Think
About Earth's First Cells ... Plan for quake
'warning system' ... Discovery Channel Bets
on Planet Green ..."
The Neuroscience of Illusion (060208)
"How tricking the eye reveals the inner workings
of the brain -- Brightness and Color Illusions ...
Shape Distortion Illusion ... Illusory Motion ...
Ambiguous Figures ..."
All That Is, All That Was, All That Ever
"... Immortality? ... Immortal Suffering? ...
... Pleasant Immortality Hope? ... Totality of Reality?
... Cosmological Calendar ... The Universe - Cosmic
Nature the Tinkerer (020808)
"... Remember the old
story about modern science:
knowing more and more about less and less? It's not
true any more. We are living in the age of the great
biological synthesis. Both Neil Shubin and Sean B
Carroll thrillingly show us how, in the last 10 years,
work on fossils, on DNA sequencing and on embry-
ological development have combined to piece together
the story of how we got here. ..."
Epigenetics, more than genes inherited/
passed on (101907)
"... with the impact of
environment on genetic switches,
the Nature + Nurture equation includes the impact of
Nurture, not only on the child, directly, but also on the
child's ancestors and their ancestors' gene switches
which have been passed down to the child."
Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of
scientists claim (082707)
"Recent probes inside
comets show it is over-
whelmingly likely that life began in space,
according to a new paper by Cardiff Univer-
sity scientists. ..."
Astronomers Find a Billion Light-Years
Without Matter (082407)
"How big is your sandbox? Well, no matter
how big you imagine it to be, scientists have
discovered a billion light-years of no matter
within it. What is it, why is it, how did it get
there? Science is stumped. Philosophers? Yet
to weigh in. ..."
"... The bad news? At ~65 million years, earth
gone longer without a major extinction event than
it has for almost the entire history since complex
life developed on earth, increasing the risk that a
major extinction event is due (as it's just a matter
of time). ..."
What did the 'big bang' bang
standard presumption is that there was
nothing, a bang, and then everything. More re-
cently, scientists have theorized about a before
the big bang realm, and of many dimensions pos-
sibly existing beyond the -4- we're familiar with.
Multiple universes, also part of the possible realm
of the 'all'. Cyclic universes, also part of the pos-
sible realm of the all. Infinite universes, infinite
time, also part of the possible realm of the all. As
for what the totality of 'all' that is natural is, exactly,
actualized human knowledge is profoundly sparse,
thus far, even though theories abound. ..."
NASA Turns to the Dark Side (070407)
- - - - - - - - - -
- - - -
- - - - - - -
"... NASA has
announced five new space missions
to track mysteries that go "beyond Einstein"
- where the universe came from,
- what it's made of, and
- whether space has edges. ..."