Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ann Druyan & Carl Sagan

On Genesis:

"Their father is a terrifying, disembodied voice who is furious with them from the moment they first awaken. He doesn't say, "Welcome to the planet Earth, my beautiful children! Welcome to this paradise. Billions of years of evolution have shaped you to be happier here than anywhere else in the vast universe. This is your paradise." No, instead God places Adam and Eve in a place where there can be no love; only fear, and fear-based behavior, obedience. God threatens to kill Adam and Eve if they disobey 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? As Diderot observed, the God of Genesis "loved his apples more than he did his children.""


"Perhaps Genesis should be read as an ironic story. Here's a god who does not give us the knowledge of good and evil. He knows we don't know right from wrong. Yet he tells us not to do something anyway. How can someone who doesn't know right from wrong be expected to do the right thing? By disobeying god, we escape from his totalitarian prison where you cannot ask any questions, where you must never question authority. We become our human selves."

Read more here.

This coming December marks the 10 years since Carl Sagan's death. The weird thing is that the time he died was when I first acquired my first telescope (I did not know of his death until after the purchase). The owner of a small Astronomy shop in Phoenix Arizona where we would get our equipment from was surprised that there was suddenly a big boom in the interest in Astronomy and could not keep up with all the new orders he was getting.

So to commemorate this date, a new book is now available written by Carl Sagan. I'm very excited about it and can't wait to read it.

Based on the Gifford Lectures in Scotland, it is called "The Varieties of Scientific Experience - A Personal View of the Search for God." Edited by his longtime companion and collaborator Anne Druyan (pronounced Dreen).

Strangely enough, I *just* got done re-reading COSMOS. I think Carl Sagan's COSMOS ought to be on the required reading list of books in all schools.

Also, if you have cable, check out the Science Channel to see the Emmy award winning show COSMOS which is shown every Tuesday night. I watch it even if I've seen all the episodes. It's more than just "Billions and Billions."


Axinar said...

The new Carl Sagan book is EXCELLENT - have you had the chance to read it yet?

V said...

I haven't had the chance yet, Axinar, but I'm planning on buying this book tomorrow. Thanks for your comment.