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February 7, 2017 / compassioninpolitics

Carl Sagan on Science and Spirituality

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual…The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

Carl Sagan

I would specifically highlight a particular passage:

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual…The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”

Carl Sagan

Some suggest this is out of context, but I think the way in which I’ve called attention to the spiritual experience is incompatible with the worldview of scientific naturalism and scientism which underlies the polarization thesis.  So while the intent of the passage may not be to communicate this message, the overall implication for the science versus spirituality seems to be the same.

The feeling should be totally meaningless in a determinist universe–after all that turns us into “flotsom and jetsom” and we’re basically robots made of just biology, chemistry, and physics according to that theory.  And theoretically the feeling should be irrelevant from a scientific perspective (given that its theoretically subjective).

Sagan’s experience and feeling ultimately is a body blow to those who want to suggest we follow only a naturalistic account of the universe.

 

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