Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 10:34:04 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS FLASH subject: AANEWS
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 10:34:04 -0500
Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS FLASH
from: AMERICAN ATHEISTS
subject: AANEWS FLASH for December 20, 1996
A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S
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#218 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 12/20/96
ASTRONOMER CARL SAGAN DEAD AT 62
Carl Sagan, the gifted story teller, author and astronomer who brought
science into the lives of millions of people, died early today at age 62
following a two year battle with bone marrow disease. He had been
hospitalized for pneumonia at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in
Seattle, where he had undergone a marrow-transplant procedure in April of
If not an Atheist, Sagan was certainly a rationalist who was highly
skeptical of religious claims and explanations about the universe. In
addition to his defense of scientific methodology, he was a staunch advocate
of evolutionary mechanism as a sensible way of explaining the origins of
life, and often came tantalizingly close to dismissing the need for
postulating a deity to explain phenomena in the universe.
Born in New York in 1934, Sagan had a lifelong passion for knowledge which
he directed into his fascination with astronomy. He was Director of the
Laboratory for Planetary Studies and David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and
Space Sciences at Cornell University. And he received NASA recognitions for
his role in the Mariner, Viking and Voyager expeditions which explored the
solar system. Other affiliations included a Division Chair within the
American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of
Science, and the American Geophysical Union.
In his lifetime, he published over 400 articles, essays and books. His
PBS television series "Cosmos" became one of the most popular programs of its
kind, and the book version went on to emerge as a best-seller. Sagan won the
Pulitzer Prize for "The Dragons of Eden," and he achieved wide recognition
for other works as well including "The Cosmic Connection," "Broca's Brain,"
and "Intelligent Life in the Universe."
For Atheists and rationalists, Sagan was a hero in the front line battle
against religious superstition and pseudo-science. He was an outspoken
critic and debunker of paranormal, new age faddism and fundamentalist
creationism. Yet, he always managed to speak glowingly of the scientific
enterprise, and the need for human beings to learn and explore in order to
quench the curiosity which he saw as a vital component of our very nature.
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