A Warning on Science and Technology

Carl Sagan Issues a Chilling Warning to America in His Last Interview (1996)


Until the end of his life, Carl Sagan (1934-1996) continued doing what he did all along — popularizing science and “enthusiastically conveying the wonders of the universe to millions of people on television and in books.” Whenever Sagan appeared on ”The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson during the 70s and 80s, his goal was to connect with everyday Americans — people who didn’t subscribe to Scientific American — and increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of science.

At the end of his life, Sagan still cared deeply about where science stood in the public imagination. But while losing a battle with myelodysplasia, Sagan also sensed that scientific thinking was losing ground in America, and even more ominously within the chambers of the Newt Gringrich-led Congress.

During his final interview, aired on May 27, 1996, Sagan issued a strong warning, telling Charlie Rose:

"We’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of ignorance and power sooner or later is going to blow up in our faces. I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don’t know anything about it."

2 min. clip:

Carl Sagan Warned Us About This!

SAGAN: It's not that pseudoscience and superstition and new-age so-called "beliefs" and fundamentalist zealotry are something new. They've been with us for as long as we've been human. But we live in an age based on science and technology, with formidable technological powers.

ROSE: Science and technology are propelling us forward at accelerating rates.

SAGAN: That's right. And if we don't understand it, by "we" I mean the general public, if it's something that, oh, I'm not good at that, I don't know anything about it, then who is making all the decisions about science and technology that are going to determine what kind of future our children live in?

ROSE: But what's the danger of all this?

SAGAN: There's two kinds of dangers. One is what I just talked about. That we've arranged a society based on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology. And this combustible mixture of ignorance and power, sooner or later, is going to blow up in our faces! I mean, who is running the science and technology in a democracy if the people don't know anything about it?

And the second reason that I'm worried about this is that science is more than a body of knowledge. It's a way of thinking, a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility.

If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those who tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious, who comes ambling along.

20-minute interview:


Nick Hudson: The cult of “trust the science”

By Rhoda Wilson on September 21, 2023
How do you know that you are not dealing with the facts but with a scam?

Nick Hudson has a really simple answer: “If there are three things happening, then you know you are dealing with a scam. If something is presented as a global crisis, admitting only global solutions and in an environment where dissenting voices are cancelled. If those three things are present – global crisis, global solution, censorship of dissenting voices – then you are definitively dealing with a scam. No exceptions.”
Nick Hudson, an investor and entrepreneur from South Africa, is an actuary by education and profession. He is also a critical thinker with a large network of contacts, a wide readership and a wide range of interests. Hudson is chairman of Pandemics Data & Analytics (“PANDA”) which was established in April 2020 as a fact-based analysis of policies imposed in response to the covid pandemic. PANDA has since grown to become a research think tank that publishes on a broader range of topics – or exposes scams – that require public attention.

Last week he appeared on the Freedom Research Podcast to discuss the similarities between the covid and climate change narratives, and to give his thoughts on modern-day fascism.

When the so-called Covid crisis began, he started to critically assess the related numbers as soon as in 2020. He told Hannes Sarv, host of Freedom Research Podcast, that looking at how national governments were responding to the disease outbreak, he felt something was terribly wrong.

“I was looking at the data and coming to a completely different conclusion from what was being said in the media, by the government and public health circles. And I was battling to sleep. It was weighing on me heavily and then a friend of mine said that as long as you stay silent you won’t be able to sleep. And then I decided to speak out,” he said.

Couldn’t he just “trust the science,” as many others were told to do and did? Hudson said that science has nothing to do with trust. Science is about hypothesising and making a critique of these hypotheses. It is about respecting differences of opinion and debate. If there is none, or if it is suppressed, it is not science, it is religion. Perhaps “trusting the science,” in his words, means something like this – participating in a religious cult.

Methods such as locking down the societies, and later similarly the vaccine and mask mandates used to combat the spread of the virus under the guise of “science” had nothing to do with science, Hudson pointed out.

“It was clear from the start that our public health people and the World Health Organisation and the Bill Gateses of the world were speaking absolute nonsense. They weren’t rooted in science; they weren’t rooted in the scientific method. They were propelling a narrative that suited them for a variety of reasons, both commercial and political,” he said.

On the other hand, most people still agreed with these totally unscientific methods, stripping them of their personal freedoms. Hudson is not very surprised. Propaganda has proved effective throughout our history, he said, and he doesn’t blame people for submitting to it.

“The majority of people just go along with what they’re told. A more interesting question is why did governments adopt a set of policies that were so obviously harmful at a population level. It was their decision to embark on the propaganda exercises and the behavioural science manipulations that they used to put people in this position of supporting lockdowns and mask mandates and injection mandates and all of this nonsense,” he said.

Hudson also discussed misinformation. “Misinformation doesn’t mean you say something false. It means that you say something that contradicts an authority, which is a fundamentally unscientific notion,” he said. In other words, their idea of preventing “misinformation” is censorship. Censorship which Hudson has experienced personally.

Regarding “climate change,” he said that we are being presented with simplistic models of global warming similar to the one used for covid. To take the notion of systems as complex as a society or the global climate being analysed using spreadsheets on rudimentary measurements seriously, and from that, build assumptions to control those systems and save us from some imagined disaster, requires enormous faith. “To me, it is manifestly clear from the structure of the discussion that the climate change crisis is a scam,” he said.

Nick Hudson: The cult of “trust the science”...