More than twenty years ago, I took my son to hear a public address by Carl Sagan in Portland Oregon. I was, as ever, amazed by the man' ability to make science so interesting, so exciting, so full of adventure. Even more, I was so entertained by his artful and witty use of words--a talent more common among actors and poets than scientists.
During questions and answers, a man stood to ask what Dr. Sagan thought of some quite flaky theory of alien influences among us. Dr. Sagan very gently and with dignity began with something like, "Well, you have, quite innocently I'm sure, fallen under the influence of some very ignorant people." If only more of us could confront ignorance so firmly while respecting the dignity of those who have lost their way. Oh, how I'd love to hear his response to today's events.
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