This quote has been going around recently as Sagan’s “prediction” of “2017’s events” and obviously he “somehow read today’s papers.” No. Sagan was not a fortune teller; he was an astronomer* who thought about what things might mean, and how they might develop. It’s certainly not a stretch to “predict” the dumbing down of America when you’re an educator. It does, however, take a real sage to think about what it might mean given the conditions around him, and that’s what it meant for him: a “foreboding.”
So: are we there yet? Maybe, maybe not. But clearly it’s something to think about.
* Sagan was a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the Hugo Award.
In May 1997, Smithsonian magazine wrote that the late astronomer wrote The Demon-Haunted World “in defense of science and reason in a world he sees as darkened by ignorance, superstition, pseudoscience, deceitful advertising and mindless television.”
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