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Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space - by Carl Sagan

The following chat session was quite enjoyable and a complete success. Ann Druyan was a pleasure and we hope to have her back in the future. Enjoy the transcript and feel free to post your thoughts in the discussion forum. Thank you Ann!
September 2, 2004 9:00pm ET


Transcript of live chat session

connected: ezChat version 0.54

Tim OConnor joined

tarav joined

Chris OConnor: Hey

tarav: hello

Chris OConnor: Tara - meet my older brother, Tim

tarav: nice t o meet ya!

booper54 joined

Tim OConnor: Hello. I thought author chats were in the other chat client.

Chris OConnor: Tara - you get that message about the poll? I haven't responded yet to your longer email

tarav: got it!

tarav: i will fix t hat

Chris OConnor: Tim - I'm deleting that chat room - it expires on the 16th anyway. Costs $75 per year and we just don't need it

Chris OConnor: The other chat room complicates things

Chris OConnor: Hey Booper

booper54: hi

tarav: hey Booper

Tim OConnor: Ok. I will be multitasking here ... lots going on.

Chris OConnor: I think Ann and I will be on the phone for this chat session, so that might makes things go smoother than the Michael Shermer chat

tarav: i think the

booper54: how long do they usually last?

misterpessimistic joined

Chris OConnor: Tim - cool

Chris OConnor: Hey Nick

misterpessimistic: hey there all!

tarav: i think the Shermer chat was a one time deal anyway

misterpessimistic: stop talking about me now

Chris OConnor: Booper - depends on what she wants. Usually 1 - 2 hours, but 1 is acceptable

tarav: hey nick!

Chris OConnor: Tara - me too

misterpessimistic: hello

tarav: nick- i missed you!

tarav: lol

misterpessimistic: wow

misterpessimistic: only 3 hours went by

tarav: only 3?!

misterpessimistic: ok 4

Chris OConnor: Did you guys think up any interesting questions for Ann?

booper54: so what is Ann Druyans screen name going to be?...

misterpessimistic: did anyone hear about the false alarm from SETI

Chris OConnor: Don't forget she is responsible for the upcoming launch of the Solar Sail

Chris OConnor: No, tell us Nick

tarav: Chris- I have a few things in mind

booper54: false alarm?

misterpessimistic: Well....

Chris OConnor: She will be Ann Druyan as a screen name

Chris OConnor: Tara - cool

misterpessimistic: it was a reporters fault

Chris OConnor: Nick - is this going to be a joke?

Chris OConnor: Ahh

misterpessimistic: they mentioned that they had some abnormal radio signals

misterpessimistic: no Chris

misterpessimistic: Google for SETI

misterpessimistic: only about a minute long

Chris OConnor: Ahh

misterpessimistic: and they said it was interesting and that they were not ruling anything out

misterpessimistic: and the report took liberties evidently

misterpessimistic: I was SO excited earlier today!

Chris OConnor: The last Ch. in Pale Blue Dot talks about radio signals probably not getting back to us for 300 years

Chris OConnor: Nick - I bet

Chris OConnor: Nick - you wanted to meet your relatives I bet

Chris OConnor: aliens

misterpessimistic: yeah!

Chris OConnor: haha

booper54: haha

misterpessimistic: I am sick of your humans

Chris OConnor: I know...me too

booper54: how would I save this chat session?

booper54: after we're done

Chris OConnor: Excellent question. This is how. You have to click on the "Use Text Mode" link at the very top

Chris OConnor: then copy and paste the text into MS Word, or some word processor

booper54: ooh ok

booper54: thanks

Chris OConnor: I will keep a transcript, but I could use some help

Chris OConnor: Nick, Tara - can you help? I am worried about losing this transcript

misterpessimistic: I will try

misterpessimistic: just cut and paste every so often?

James Totalitarian joined

Chris OConnor: If you could have a word processor up...or Notepad even...and periodically copy and paste the transcript I would really appreciate it

misterpessimistic: http://www.seti-inst.edu/about_us/info_for_media/in_the_news/setiathome_found_signal.php

tarav: Chris- I will try too

misterpessimistic: that's the SETI link

Chris OConnor: Hey James - welcome to BookTalk ;) I have seen you on the site lately

Glory Matthews joined

misterpessimistic: hey James!

James Totalitarian: aye

misterpessimistic: hey!

Chris OConnor: Glory - was that you that just accidentally called me?

tarav: Chris- but don't count on me

James Totalitarian: it's a good site

misterpessimistic: glad you like it!

Chris OConnor: Glory - and had country music playing in the background?

Chris OConnor: James - thanks!

misterpessimistic: your contributions are excellent

James Totalitarian: I got bored or arguing with people who just threw insults in response to reasoned arguments

misterpessimistic: Me too James

Glory Matthews: Chris, nope. I haven't been on the phone. Must have been another girl.

Chris OConnor: James - that does get frustrating

James Totalitarian: if someone calls me a Communist again...

misterpessimistic: I came from a political board

Chris OConnor: Glory - yes, one of my numerous babes

Chris OConnor: lol

James Totalitarian: me too

misterpessimistic: All my republican friends call me a commie

Glory Matthews: Chris, naturally

Chris OConnor: James - hah I understand

James Totalitarian: my girlfriend's dad calls me a pinko liberal commie

James Totalitarian: but when he does it it's cute

misterpessimistic: James: Which site

Chris OConnor: You guys...keep in mind we will keep a transcript of this so nothing nutty

booper54 left

Chris OConnor: Lemme call Ann

James Totalitarian: World Politics

tarav: Chris- I said don't count on me because I've been having computer problems

misterpessimistic: I was on E-The People

Tim OConnor: Define nutty

misterpessimistic: lol

booper54 joined

misterpessimistic: yeah Chris....you know me!

SunSprite86 joined

Chris OConnor: Hey Sun

James Totalitarian: I have to admit to not really knowing the authors work that much

James Totalitarian: but I googled an read up

James Totalitarian: definitely interesting

#Ann Druyan joined

Chris OConnor: Hello Ann!

tarav: Welcome Ann!

Chris OConnor: Ann - I just called your office number and left a message.

James Totalitarian: Hello!

Katala Au joined

#Ann Druyan: Hi, Chris. Good to be with you.

misterpessimistic: Hey Nicole

Chris OConnor: Yes, thank you so much for spending some time with us Ann.

misterpessimistic: Hi Ann!

tarav: hey Nicole- Ann just joined!

Katala Au: Morning :) Hi Ann :)

Glory Matthews: Hi Ann!

Tim OConnor: It is an honor to have you with us tonight, Ms. Druyan.

#Ann Druyan: Hi, everyone!

Chris OConnor: Everyone can change their font colors so that it is easier to see the text if you like. You do NOT need to.

#Ann Druyan: The honor is mine.

Chris OConnor: People will keep filtering in, but that's ok.

#Kostya joined

misterpessimistic: Hi Kostya

#Ann Druyan: I've actually never done this before.

Chris OConnor: Ann - to get the ball rolling I would like to tell you that I'm really excited about the Solar Sail project and have posted the press release on BookTalk

Chris OConnor: Ann - well, you're doing an excellent job

Tim OConnor: We were just discussing the "false alarm" in the media concerning the signal discovery for SETI. Lots of us disappointed

Chris OConnor: Ann - is there an actual date for the launch yet?

#Ann Druyan: Thanks. And thanks for the opening re: Cosmos 1, our gorgeous solar sailing spacecraft.

misterpessimistic: Yeah! I was all aghast today!

#LanDroid joined

ginof joined

#Ann Druyan: We will be announcing an actual launch date very shortly.

misterpessimistic: Ann: It must be exhilarating!

Meme Wars joined

Chris OConnor: Nice crowd tonight

#Ann Druyan: Re; The SETI false alarm--How can we be disappointed in the same week we've discovered new extra-solar planets that are somewhat earth-like?

#LanDroid: Sorry, latecomer - you'll be announcing a launch date for what?

ginof: greetings and sorry for being late. Can you talk about yourself and Dr. Sagan as dreamers and the roll that dreamers play in science?

misterpessimistic: I posted about the planets....very exciting

Tim OConnor: Ann - you are right ... that is very big news

misterpessimistic: But finding a sign of life was great...even though it wasn't

#Ann Druyan: For Cosmos 1- our solar sail spacecraft to be launched from a Russian submarine into Earth orbit.

Tim OConnor: It was just a few months ago we were talking about only finding huge gas giants with very fast near star orbits and talking about how this may mean earth-like planets are very rare

Meme Wars: I haven't heard the news. I do get the Planetary Report from the Planetary Society - started by Carl Sagan?

Chris OConnor: I'm hopeful of life being discovered on Mars or on a moon within our solar system

#Ann Druyan: I'd love to talk about Carl's role. It's easy to forget how much criticism he withstood for being so daring in his interests and so speculative about intriguing possibilities.

misterpessimistic: That's what made him a great person and a superlative mind

Chris OConnor: An amazing person that touched so many lives..

#Ann Druyan: Now, those very subjects are mainstream science. I'm hugely proud of Carl's guts and his vision.

misterpessimistic: Here Here!

Meme Wars: Is this the Russian's second attempt? Have they discovered what went wrong with the first launch of Cosmos 1?

Chris OConnor: The last Ch. of Pale Blue Dot hit on so many different scenarios, opportunities and risks

tarav: Ann- Sagan discussed the possibility of terraforming. He asked, "Can we, who have made such a mess of this world, be trusted with others?". What do you think? Can we be trusted?

#Ann Druyan: There actually was no first launch-only a sub-orbital test flight with a third stage separation failure of the launch vehicle.

Tiarella joined

Tiarella: Hi!!

#Ann Druyan: Make that separation.

Tim OConnor: Carl was a huge inspiration for me when I was younger ... My first "science" book ... was Murmurs of Earth

misterpessimistic: I for one trust humans with pessimism

Chris OConnor: My brother, Tim O'Connor, is the one that turned me on to Carl Sagan long ago. Thanks Tim

Tim OConnor: No problem

#Ann Druyan: Dear Tarav- I just don't know at this point. 5 minutes watching the Republican Convention is enough to make you wonder.

misterpessimistic: LOL

Meme Wars: My run up of favorite authors were Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Carl Sagan.

tarav: It sure is!!

misterpessimistic: Asimov was a genius

Meme Wars: I now add Richard Dawkins.

Chris OConnor: Here is what I can't help but wonder. Should we care so much about preserving other worlds when there is almost an infinite number of them? And if life doesn't already exist on them, what are we really harming by terraforming them?

Tim OConnor: Well, maybe we shouldn't terraform the first couple we find?

Meme Wars: So how were they able to discover small Earth like worlds so far away?

misterpessimistic: Should we use dead worlds for resources?

#LanDroid: We're still finding new forms of life on Earth - extremeophiles and such. How will we know an entire planet is sterile?

Meme Wars: Are they earth-like, is there signs of living chemistry?

Tiarella: Asteroids for resources!

Chris OConnor: The final Ch. of Pale Blue Dot summed up my greatest fear. Currently, all of our "eggs are in one basket"

Katala Au left

Chris OConnor: We find other planets by seeing their effect on their stars

ginof: it seems that our eggs will remain there for quite awhile

Meme Wars: That's true, Chris.

misterpessimistic: Chris: It will be a while until we have the tech to change that....hopefully it will not be too late

ginof: while

Katala Au joined

Meme Wars: That is why we should get settlements in the langrine points of lunar orbit, on the surface of the moon, and on mars.

#Ann Druyan: Chris: I think we must proceed with the utmost humility in the face of our historical errors and crimes.

James Totalitarian: Ann -- You have said that you are see science as source of wonder, rather than a destroyer of it. I just wondered if you knew that there's a lot more science in poetry of late -- poetry being the traditional home of the wondrous and the beautiful...

Meme Wars: And we should have an aggressive program to detect earth killer asteroids in time to give them a gentle nudge to miss Earth.

Chris OConnor: Ann - I see. And probably the right approach. We have a history of destruction.

#Ann Druyan: Meme Wars-That of course is a theme in PBD

Chris OConnor: Meme - I agree! One could destroy all life on our planet

Chris OConnor: Which is what I mean by having all our eggs in one basket.

tarav: While reading about Mars, I couldn't help but wonder if the changes on Mars weren't due to ozone depletion as a result of life on Mars making the same mistakes we are making now.

Meme Wars: We should also continue the Earth II experiments in a sealed glass dome until the human occupants can survive without help.

James Totalitarian: sorry that was a tangent -- I had the question prepared

misterpessimistic: With politics the way they are...money will always be scarce for asteroid defense

Chris OConnor: Ann - do you have any projects other than the Solar Sail that are in the works, or at least on your "to do" list pertaining to astronomy or the SETI?

tarav: Meme- I saw Biosphere II in Arizona

Chris OConnor: James - that's ok!

Meme Wars: What is PBD?

Tiarella: Pale Blue Dot

#LanDroid: If you could pair asteroid defense with missile defense we'd have it in a jiffy! misterpessimistic: YES Lan...so long as it has a military value, anything can get done!

misterpessimistic: sad really

James Totalitarian: and they'd probably call it 'asteroid wars'

Tiarella: So who among us is ready to run for office, pledging to devote resources to putting a human colony on the moon or elsewhere?

tarav: Meme- Sagan discusses Biosphere II and the need for improved versions of it

Meme Wars: That is what I meant to say, Biosphere II.

misterpessimistic: Tia: I will

tarav: Meme- I agree, more research is needed there

Meme Wars: OK, Tiarella. Thank you.

Chris OConnor: Oh, I have to say this. In PBD there is a picture of an "asteroidal habitat" on pg 378 that seems like the ultimate solution to creating a vehicle for deep space exploration

Meme Wars: LanDroid, using gentle nudge through linear motor accelerators on asteroid using its own material would be the most successful.

#Ann Druyan: You know Jules Verne had that same fantasy about 150 years ago.

ginof: it is amazing how ideas repeat themselves

misterpessimistic: It is amazing how one can see so far into the future

#Ann Druyan: The older I get the more I feel that in music, fashion, everything.

Chris OConnor: Ann - using an asteroid?

#LanDroid: Yes, I think Carl mentioned the fact that moving asteroids out of a harmful orbit means they could also be used as weapons, moved into orbit and towards a specific impact zone.

#Ann Druyan: Some can.

Meme Wars: Whom ever runs on that political platform will not get elected. We humans have become way too short sighted for any grand visions.

misterpessimistic: Meme: True

#Ann Druyan: Actually it was a comet.

Chris OConnor: Ahh

Meme Wars: It is a race to consume what resources remain.

James Totalitarian: I suppose it is because society works in patterns; mathematics to a degree

#LanDroid: Pres. Bush advocated going to Mars. For about 10 minutes or so...

misterpessimistic: The anti-intellectualism is meant to keep the masses ignorant, IMHO

misterpessimistic: so we can be duped

ginof: Mr. p. don't get me started on Harris!

Chris OConnor: Gino - not in this chat though

misterpessimistic: Gino...we can save that for his chat!

#Ann Druyan: Exactly. One speech expressing a vague fantasy-but so little respect for science evinced in anything they do.

misterpessimistic: it irritates me to no end the disregard for real science this president has

Tiarella: Ann, do you know any politicians - or likely ones - interested in using their positions to encourage more scientific research & space exploration?

misterpessimistic: it makes me very ill

James Totalitarian: do you think that perhaps the short-sightedness is in part a side-effect of the democratic process, as well as of society itself?

Meme Wars: Ann, what did you mean by "The older I get the more I feel that in music, fashion, everything." ?

James Totalitarian: A government that will only be in power for a short period is likely to only think about that period?

Meme Wars: Yes, steer the comet into Mars to get instant water.

misterpessimistic: Representative Waxman has a site dedicated to exposing the scientific subjugation of this administration

#Ann Druyan: Sadly, Al Gore was one. And you know what happened to him. But, Kerry is at least curious and respectful of science and Ms. Heinz-Kerry was very devoted to Carl.

Tiarella: I'll have to look that up, mp - but it's not quite what I meant.

misterpessimistic: hey...every little bit helps Tiarella

tarav: Ann do you think that as Sagan said, "Earth is about to settle into some rock-stable democratic world government..."?

#Ann Druyan: Henry Waxman has been very good on this issue.

misterpessimistic: yes he has

Tiarella: (I agree, mp! :D)

#Ann Druyan: Tarav: Where did Carl ever say that?

misterpessimistic: Tara: Like the 'end of history' theory

tarav: Ann- well he mentions it on p 318 in PBD

tarav: Actually, he is discussing what others have forecasted

tarav: I am not sure that he meant to agree

Chris OConnor: I'm extremely concerned for our species future. We walk a fine line between production and destruction. The same science that creates increased standards of living and other benefits also can destroy everything just as quickly.

misterpessimistic: It is not the science, but the users

Meme Wars: I see he talks about asteroid impacts on p 318.

#Ann Druyan: We both thought the "End of History" idea was weak And I was delighted to read last week that its author came to the conclusion that the Iraq War and the whole neo-con thing was really nuts.

misterpessimistic: 'we' always tend to make the wrong choices in any situation

tarav: I have soft cover, then again maybe i made a mistake in my note

Meme Wars: Science will not cure the moral dilemma of man.

#LanDroid: It can be the scientists too. The scientists that were so horrified at the atomic bomb rushed to develop the thermonuclear bomb.

misterpessimistic: no it will not...

Meme Wars: Only hard evolution might.

misterpessimistic: but it is all politically driven

Tiarella: Sorry - hard evolution?

#Ann Druyan: Tarav-I'm looking at PBD and Carl makes no such claim about world government.

misterpessimistic: Ann: The 'end of history' seems weak to me too...nice catch phrase though

Chris OConnor: But what will? How do we reduce the chance we will destroy ourselves? We're to the point now where rogue nations and individuals with agendas can cause global damage.

Meme Wars: The hard knocks of life are the only thing our species pays attention to.

misterpessimistic: Chris: It may take a walk to the brink before we learn

Meme Wars: But in some instances, the hard knocks are irreversible.

booper54: misterpessimistic: but haven't we done that before?

Katala Au left

Katala Au joined

misterpessimistic: Meme: And those in power tend to want 'us' to stay within the day to day of hard knocks

Katala Au: And we elect them...

misterpessimistic: Booper: No...Hiroshima and Nagasaki were localized...something needs to happen on a global scale

#Ann Druyan: Chris: To your question-We can only do everything possible to support and improve public education. It is our only hope. That and seeing that every child is loved by someone and taught mercy.

misterpessimistic: not that I wish this mind you

Chris OConnor: If we walk to the brink we may never have the opportunity to not go over the edge.

Meme Wars: Those in power are no more in control than the ones they serve. It is memes and genes, mindless algorithms, which are in control.

Tiarella: Have you noticed how environmentalism is a fairly integral part of public school curriculums? - hah, Ann took the words out of my mouth!

misterpessimistic: Chris: too true

misterpessimistic: Ann: What do you think about the 'No Child Left Behind' act

Chris OConnor: Ann - excellent answer! Yes, it's all about education and teaching empathy and compassion or "humanistic" beliefs. But how do we do this? What's the key to improving education?

Tiarella: Seeing that every child is loved is a really tough order - but imagine if we're ALL asked to volunteer an hour a week in schools, in coaching new parents, etc...

Katala Au: and critical thinking skills...

Meme Wars: Darwin's variations, population, displacement, and change in population of ideas, cultures, and living genes.

Chris OConnor: Katala - true

SunSprite86: Tiarella: Just for the record, I DO teach environmental science. I've noticed the high school doesn't, though. They do aquatic science instead.

#LanDroid: Heh, at some level we're discussing "meme wars". Public education and so forth against fanaticism and the like.

#Ann Druyan: The "NCLBA" is about as true to its name as the Clear Skies" Act. It's a disaster-not about critical thinking but about rote learning .

misterpessimistic: Thank you Ann, I agree whole heartedly

tarav: Ann- very true!

misterpessimistic: It is a farce

tarav: Ann- I am a public school teacher, and I couldn't agree more!

Katala Au: can someone explain that act for those non-Americans among us? (well me ;p)

misterpessimistic: meant to show that something is being done when in actuality, nothing is

ginof: but why do we always seem to fall for this kind of stuff?

tarav: absolutely, nick

misterpessimistic: gino: Because we let them dupe us

SunSprite86: Right now, Texas is changing their assessments to emphasize thought process and problem solving. It's a step in the right direction, anyway.

Katala Au: That's good to hear, Sunsprite...

misterpessimistic: we fall for the ultra patriotic crap and nonsense that is meant to disguise the real problems this world faces

Tiarella: Math education has vastly improved over what I had as a kid

Chris OConnor: After this chat we'll all have some things to look up and research. I'll post what I find in the PBD forum.

#Ann Druyan: There are so many of those who are wide awake. I'm lucky to live in the beautiful small town of Ithaca where people seem so generally enlightened.

tarav: However, due to the emphasis on testing, science is often not taught in states where it is not tested

#Ann Druyan: Excellent point.

misterpessimistic: Ann: So many are awake, but we are outnumbered

tarav: very sad

Katala Au: Tara - it's not a compulsory subject at your school for the younger grades, right...

#Ann Druyan: No we're not.

Chris OConnor: Ann - do you think you'll speak at any future Atheist Alliance International conventions? ...such as the one in LA in April?

tarav: Nicole- on paper it is, but in reality...

misterpessimistic: Science...and don't forget the Creationist nonsense

Tiarella: Yes - in the elementary schools my kid's been in, science has been up to the individual teachers - sorry this post is out of order.

SunSprite86: that's true. Texas has just in the last 2-3 years added both science and social studies assessments that must be passed in order to graduate.

misterpessimistic: In Georgia, there are some schools that will not allow the word evolution to be used!

#Ann Druyan: I don't have any plans at the moment. However, I do feel a sense that the skeptical community is growing.

misterpessimistic: Sun: Now that GWB is gone, it just may get better

Tiarella: Aren't you being a trifle premature? :b

misterpessimistic: Ann: What are your thoughts on the Brights movement

Meme Wars: I hope you are right Ann.

Chris OConnor: misterpessimistic - good question!

Tiarella: (Oh, mp - you meant in Texas! )

misterpessimistic: Tia: Yes!

#Ann Druyan: My fantasy is that we will defeat GWB and that will lead to a sudden spark of confidence and hope.

Katala Au: good question Nick

misterpessimistic: I hope your right....I will do my part to see him gone

Tiarella: Ah, but imagine being Kerry and having to clean up the mess!

Meme Wars: I am editor and treasurer of Humanist of North Puget Sound. Our newsletter is called "Sound Views", for Puget Sound.

SunSprite86: I recently took a certification exam to add another teaching field. The test had heavy emphasis on evolution and genetics. That's probably also a good sign.

James Totalitarian: I read an article recently that said it'll be better in the long run if Bush gets a second term

misterpessimistic: YES!

James Totalitarian: because he'll have to clear up his own mess

#Ann Druyan: I deeply respect Richard Dawkins but I don't think that the "bright" idea is necessarily a good one. I think it makes us seem arrogant.

misterpessimistic: Who wrote that James

misterpessimistic: My thoughts too

James Totalitarian: I can't remember, it was in The Guardian

Chris OConnor: Ann - I totally agree. The word sounds arrogant.

James Totalitarian: an editorial about a week ago

#LanDroid: Life is gonna be a bitch for whoever wins...

misterpessimistic: I have posted on their forums...they are very intelligent, but very exclusive to other modes of thought

James Totalitarian: I'll look it up for you afterwards if you like

Meme Wars: Yes, the mess is so bad for Kerry, that even at his best, he will probably not get re-elected. Then the Republicans can go in and finish killing the Beast called Social Security.

Katala Au: Ann - what do you think about the whole "but the word "gay" being used doesn't imply heteros are "dull" so the word bright will change etc..."

misterpessimistic: The Brights love it though!

misterpessimistic: James: Thanks, yes

James Totalitarian: America needs nationalized heath

Meme Wars: But Rationalist also make us seem arrogant.

James Totalitarian: it's just barbaric now to have it

James Totalitarian: *not

Meme Wars: Because the opposite is irrational.

misterpessimistic: James: I agree

Tiarella: Kat - that's weird, because "dull" is not the opposite of "gay," "gay" meant merry!

#Ann Druyan: I am searching my own soul 24-7 for a way to reach people about what I consider a fundamentally destructive delusion.

James Totalitarian: I guess as a Briton I'm biased -- I've never met a person who'd give it up

Chris OConnor: I prefer "atheist" - The word "Atheist' clearly defines what I am....which is a person that doesn't have a belief in a god or gods. There are no beliefs associated with atheism. My beliefs, on the other hand, are of the secular humanist kind.

Katala Au: Tia - I know...that seems to be the argument though...who knows...

#Ann Druyan: I have, if I understand you correctly.

Tiarella: Which fundamentally destructive delusion?

#Ann Druyan: I believe we know nothing about God-not a thing. We hardly know anything about our tiny corner of the universe.

Meme Wars: I do not prefer "Atheist, because the sub root of the word is theist, which makes theism primary, and atheist a secondary off shoot.

#LanDroid: What's wrong with humanist?

Tiarella: Ann - yes! A study of religion is a study of MAN!

#Ann Druyan: Atheist posits knowledge. I would like us to get to a place where we embrace our newness and lack of knowledge.

Chris OConnor: Ann - so true. Which is why some of us don't make the claim to "know" whether or not a deity exists....that's the epitome of arrogance and ignorance. Some simply lack belief until evidence exists.

Meme Wars: It also creates a non defensible position of trying to prove a universal negative.

James Totalitarian: someone on the forum posited a four tear system for the 'atheist/agnostic' question

tarav: Chris did

misterpessimistic: That was Chris

Chris OConnor: James - that was me - a chart I created

James Totalitarian: with: agnostic atheist, gnostic atheist

James Totalitarian: and so forth

James Totalitarian: well, I liked it immensely

#Ann Druyan: Yes. I think we should call ourselves "clueless."

Tiarella: ROFL!

Chris OConnor: I think most scientists are aware that we know so very little about this universe that claiming any such knowledge is ridiculous

misterpessimistic: I just know what I 'know', it is not belief in god that has me worried, but what 'his' followers do in 'his' name

Chris OConnor: haha

Meme Wars: Yes, the theist cannot place us in a position of defense if we have no opinion. We place the burden of proof on their positive claim.

#Ann Druyan: That's why it makes me so furious when people say science is arrogant. Science doesn't make claims to knowledge it doesn't have.

misterpessimistic: True Ann

Chris OConnor: Ann - I'm not sure if I'd join that organization! ACP = Association of Clueless People

Katala Au: exactly

misterpessimistic: Science attempts to explain based on the available evidence

James Totalitarian: indeed, I think any religion must be at the mercy of what's best for life on earth

misterpessimistic: I am clueless and PROUD!

Chris OConnor: Nick! LOL

Tiarella: I think people confuse the study - science - with the students - scientists - who can be arrogant.

misterpessimistic: There is nothing wrong in admitting you do not know something, so long as you are willing to learn what you do not know

Meme Wars: I think the arrogant self assured are put off by science calm stance of depending on evidence, and always willing to amend current positions with new relevant information.

misterpessimistic: It all comes down to people...some are arrogant and some are not

#Ann Druyan: Clueless and proud! Yes! Because like Socrates knew we know most who know we know nothing.

Meme Wars: They do not know how to respond to the claims of science, so they get emotional and call it arrogant.

tarav: I agree, Meme

misterpessimistic: Me too Meme

Chris OConnor: Ann - Ok, even though we all recognize that we are "clueless," would you agree that science and reason are mans only valid cognitive tools for discovering and understanding our environment. I am not referring to the environment within, such as our emotions and feelings, although this is a science itself.

#Ann Druyan: And science can be so excluding. That's what Carl was trying to change.

Meme Wars: This is only to take the heat off those who make claims they cannot support.

#LanDroid: Gnostic = having knowledge therefore Agnostic=without Knowledge=clueless?

Tiarella: Okay - but haven't y'all noticed a lot of people claiming to be scientists, but not being... very good scientists? Not very skeptical of their own research?

James Totalitarian: I think a lot of people are scared that to accept science is to deny the beliefs that give them hope

misterpessimistic: Chris: If only dissident was here

#Ann Druyan: Tiarella: Yes, scientist are just as screwed up as the rest of us.

Chris OConnor: Ann - as opposed to "intuition"

tarav: there is hope in science!

misterpessimistic: it is the human, not the vocation

Katala Au: There doesn't seem to be a quick easy way to make people feel good about science, in the way they get it from religion...

Chris OConnor: Tara - ROFL

misterpessimistic: Kat: Because science does not tell us what we WANT to hear, just what is

#Ann Druyan: Katala Au-That's where the education part comes in.

misterpessimistic: Education is the key to everything

Katala Au: yes true....

#Ann Druyan: It should be a soaring spiritual experience.

Katala Au: I absolutely agree.

James Totalitarian: apart from the things education is not the key to

James Totalitarian: like doors

Chris OConnor: lol

misterpessimistic: I try to impress on my children the value of education and inquiry...and they all do exceptionally in school and in life

misterpessimistic: James!

Tiarella: Kat - but Sagan's books - and a speech of Ann's I read in a link at Booktalk - do make me feel good about science. Inspirational!

#Ann Druyan: What we want to hear is that we will never die. And when our parents tell us about heaven they are assuring our lifelong infancy.

Chris OConnor: misterpessimistic - oh? and what is the exception?

Katala Au: Ann - yes..and I love that paragraph in Demon Haunted World where Sagan says how science is spiritual ...no one seems to really get that...

misterpessimistic: Ann: Well spoken

Meme Wars: Yes, the Creationist also believe education is the answer; that is why they push to include "Intelligent Design", so their ideas do not die off.

misterpessimistic: Chris: Exception?

misterpessimistic: I'm lost again...darn it

James Totalitarian: Ann -- I wondered if you knew -- has the concept of circular time been debunked?

Chris OConnor: Nick - nm

Tiarella: Why is the thought of not being so scary? We were all not being before we were born - and it wasn't scary.

misterpessimistic: Creationist education is an oxymoron

booper54: I think Carl did a great job showing the spiritual side of science.

James Totalitarian: because that would be a scientific basis for eternal life

Chris OConnor: James - agreed

#Ann Druyan: Forgive me. I'm not familiar with the notion of circular time.

James Totalitarian: that time is essentially a loop

Chris OConnor: I'm not familiar either

James Totalitarian: and we relive our lives forever

misterpessimistic: Time...it boggles my mind...just what is it?

Chris OConnor: James - but what does that mean?? ahh...reincarnation or rebirths.

#Ann Druyan: This need to be the center of the universe is a part of our childhood. We will outgrow it.

Tiarella: MW, mp - it's propaganda. Hmm - is the educational program of one's philosophical opponents always seen as propaganda?

James Totalitarian: reliving the same life

misterpessimistic: Tell that to the Geocentrists

Chris OConnor: Ann - I sure hope so. The image of the "pale blue dot" could help us to outgrow it, but we need to share it with more people.

Meme Wars: It is the nature of evolution that has us fear death. Life forms that did not fear death and not too much into self preservation simply had less surviving offspring to continue that behavior.

Tiarella: James: like the movie, Groundhog Day? ?!

misterpessimistic: Tiarella: Yes...I think it is! Unfortunately

Chris OConnor: Meme - excellent point. Fear of death and pain is selected for naturally.

misterpessimistic: Groundhog Day is a great movie!

tarav: it is!

James Totalitarian: I think there's a difference between an evolutionary, instinctual fear of death and a logical one
Katala Au: I agree James...

#Ann Druyan: Fearing death enough so that you don't do incredibly stupid things is a selective advantage-but being paralyzed by the fear of death is a distinct selective disadvantage.

James Totalitarian: the logical one being the one that leads to depression and suchlike

Tiarella: Ann - because one won't take risks?

Meme Wars: Yes, and extreme fear is also selected out.

Chris OConnor: Pictures are so powerful. The image of our planet from so far away gives me chills. But the best part is when Carl says, "Ann suggests an experiment," and then describes how we should do some imagination exercises

Tiarella: James - I live with someone who suffers from depression, and despite my psych training, I've come to believe it's mostly biochemical.

James Totalitarian: that reminds me of Hitchhiker's Guide

#Ann Druyan: I know I'm going to die and it doesn't prevent from doing anything-In fact, it's probably one of the zillion reasons we're willing to reproduce.

Glory Matthews: Even though I've just been a lurker, I've enjoyed reading the conversation and ideas that were presented in this chat. I must go, but I want to thank Chris for site and work & Ann for visiting and sharing her time and thoughts. Be well.

Chris OConnor: Ann - good points

Katala Au: Bye Glory

Chris OConnor: Thanks Glory

#Ann Druyan: Thank you Glory and Chris.

tarav: bye glory

Meme Wars: I believe self replicating robots will finish the exploration of our galaxy.

James Totalitarian: bye

Tiarella: Bye! Thanks for coming!

Glory Matthews left

James Totalitarian: I think some depression is biochemical, and some is a result of quite lucid and logical fear and hopelessness

misterpessimistic: I fear death because I don't want to leave anyone behind! Is that narcissistic?

Tiarella: Just don't take 'em all with you, mp!

misterpessimistic: LOL

Chris OConnor: Ann - so what did you think of the way "Contact" turned out? ...the movie

Katala Au: Not wanting to leave because you want to live forever is narcisstic ;p

#Ann Druyan: James-I think you're right.

Meme Wars: That consciousness in machines can outlast may human generations and will not die. Memory patterns will simply be transferred into clone minds and branch out.

misterpessimistic: Contact was EXCELLENT Ann

booper54: I've seen that movie at least 20 times, It's my favorite

Tiarella: (I'd certainly be anxious and depressed if I were an Iraqi)

#LanDroid: I'm afraid of death because I figure they'll find signals from a network of alien civilizations about 2 hours after I'm gone.

Chris OConnor: Contact is by FAR my favorite movie of all times. Quite emotional. Booper, you beat me! I've seen it about 7 times.

misterpessimistic: It encompassed everything well

misterpessimistic: Politics, religion science, hope, fear

#Ann Druyan: Thank you. There are parts of it I am very proud of- My favorite part is actually that series of removes that follow the signal back to Earth into little Ellie's eye.

Tiarella: Lan - ROFL! Yes, I don't want to miss anything! Is it okay if I just watch, after I die? I'd be okay with that.

misterpessimistic: I love the ending...the way everything gets turned on Ellie

Meme Wars: I'm surprised by the strong atheistic theme in "Contact", and that it was able to make main stream. There is hope!

Chris OConnor: Ann - yes, that's good stuff. To me the sound of the signal gives me goose bumps, but I'm aware that the real SETI doesn't make such sounds.

misterpessimistic: leaves you thinking

Tiarella: Contact is the only movie I went out and bought for myself.

Chris OConnor: Tiarella - my brother gave it to me, but it is only one of about 5 movies I own.

misterpessimistic: I also love the scenes from the vessel that Ellie see while traveling

James Totalitarian: WARNING -- my cat is getting ready to walk over my keyboard, so ignore any gibberish

#Ann Druyan: I'm delighted you liked it. We were able to get Ellie's atheism into the movie-but not pi.

misterpessimistic: oh....and the part when she frees herself from the harness and the locket is floating

booper54: Why couldn't you get pi?

Tiarella: (James: we won't notice any diff, I'm sure. :b)

Meme Wars: Not pi? What do you mean by that?

Chris OConnor: Ann - thank you very much for spending some time with us. If you can spend more you're welcome to chat all night. We're all having fun. If you need to go watch Bush we understand! LOL

#Ann Druyan: Warner Bros. was adamant that there would be no math in a movie of theirs.

Meme Wars: So the actor herself is Atheist?

Chris OConnor: Jodie is an atheist?

misterpessimistic: Ann: Your joking right!?

misterpessimistic: sheeesh!

James Totalitarian: I'm afraid I'm off to watch Bush too

#LanDroid: AHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!

Tiarella: She said "Ellie", not Jodie...

misterpessimistic: I will not watch crap on TV!

Chris OConnor: Lets limit the goodbyes though....it will not help the transcript.

Katala Au: yes....Ellie....lol ...unfortunately....

misterpessimistic: Bush that is

tarav: I'm with you, nick

#Ann Druyan: I really enjoyed this. It was really nice meeting you and thinking with you.

James Totalitarian: I think it's important to understand your opponent and to know his words backwards and forwards

Meme Wars: Too bad for the math, Ann Druyan!

misterpessimistic: The pleasure is ours!

Katala Au: Thanks so much, Ann. This was really enjoyable.

Chris OConnor: Ann - yes, this is a special treat for us at BookTalk.

tarav: Ann- Thank you for coming!

Tiarella: Yes, thank you! :D

booper54: Thank you so much.

James Totalitarian: It has been fun, definitely

James Totalitarian: Thank you

#LanDroid: Enjoyed it, thanks!

misterpessimistic: Thank you so very much

Chris OConnor: Ann - I have mailed something to you, but should have sent it days earlier. You'll get it tomorrow or Friday.

Chris OConnor: Ann - thank you very much for everything and for being so darn nice too.

Meme Wars: Ann, what in your mind is the most likely future of humanity by 2100?

#Ann Druyan: I'll be looking for it. Good night.

Katala Au: Meme - timing ;p

Meme Wars: Back to stone age with insufficient energy and a depleted planet?

Chris OConnor: Good night Ann!

Tiarella: Great question, though.

Chris OConnor: Thanks again

#Ann Druyan left




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