Re: Chapter 22: Significance junkies
Sagan's seems to be getting carried away with his quixotic ideas about science and the general populace, particularly their television viewing habits.
He mentions in this chapter old tv shows like In Search of, The X Files, and, Star Trek.
His lament about Star Trek's Mr Spock, is particularly,um, interesting:
Refer to page 375 for the context of the paragraph and Sagan's specific lamentation.
Essentially, Sagan's point is that television shows like the aforementioned promote unscientific, mythical ideas and are lost opportunities to educate viewers. (
I've youtube'd Sagan several times now. I respect his concern for the future of humanity, our environment, culture, and his zeal to foster child-like wonder and promote it to adults who've lost theirs.
But Sagan is getting much too stuffy here. Television's existence is and always will be primarily for entertainment. The majority of productions will always be strictly for entertainment purposes with little intellectual content to offer. It's a means for people to pass the time until they get up the next day to work at jobs that are mostly unfulfilling and alienating (if your not the lucky few doing what you love). Not everyone can be, or has the desire to be
Somebody has to serve our food, wash our cars, pick up our trash, mow our lawns (if your'e too damn lazy to do it yourself or genuinely need the help) etc etc. A scientist isn't going to pick up my trash on Weds. Ken Kraus isn't going to wash my car. The fact is the jobs I've mentioned are essential to a functioning society and economy
The wages the trash man, the gardener, and the waiter earn generate taxable income. Some of that money at some point finds its way to funding scientific ventures that scientists can participate in and earn their living.
I might have strayed off course here, but it was intended to defend people who watch TV, are not dumb, are still interested in intellectual matters, and are responsible, dependable participants in society.
It seems like overkill to lament a lost opportunity to promote evolution in a show like Star Trek, so everyone can understand that for species to successfully cross breed they must share genetic similarities.
Give me a break.
The glorification of science (and scientists) gets a bit tiresome.