By an astounding coincidence — divine intervention? — Carl Sagan's Cosmos debuted on public television exactly one week after my 16th birthday. The series turned out to be a 13-hour, carefully reasoned, gorgeously dramatized argument. The claim this long argument sought to establish precisely addressed the very question with which I'd been grappling.
Cosmos argues that the universe is profoundly beautiful, meaningful, and demands an ethical response, even when it's explained without The Divine. Sagan argued that, faced with the revelations of 20th century science and the dangers of 20th century technology, the only ethical response is to see the world as it is and not how we wish it were.
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Kurt at the Celestial Monochord sent us these thoughts. Please read his whole Sagan statement here.