Carl Sagan's fears continue to be true

Not many people from the general public know who Carl Sagan is. He was an astronomer, astrophysicist and cosmologist. Professor of astronomy and space science and director for the laboratory for planetary studies at Cornell University when he passed away.

He also was a consultant for the American Space Program and was an advisor of NASA. He briefed Apollo astronauts before their flights. Many may know him for his bestseller Cosmos.

One concern he had about the world concerning science and technology, “If the general public doesn’t understand science and technology, then who is making all the decisions about science and technology that are going to determine what kind of future our children live in, some member of congress? There are only a handful who have any background in science at all, and some of them don’t even want to know about it.”

Recently whistleblower for National Security Agency (NSA) Edward Snowden released leaks about the “Black Budget”. A budget that contains millions of dollars aimed for projects that the whole human race knows little about, and these include science and technology. And apparently according to the leaks, there are strategic reasons for powerful interests to keep much of the knowledge and technology being developed and research classified and hidden from the public.

“We’ve arranged a society on science and technology in which nobody understands anything about science and technology, and this combustible mixture of 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?” Carl Sagan said.

For Sagan, science was more than knowledge; it was a way of thinking, a way of seeing the world.

The challenge for humanity is that the truth given to us from science is something we do not want to hear. The truth suffers from being unlikeable, challenging, boring, unimaginative and many other things. Science has to provide proofs for everything, and even when it does, people have a hard time believing it. Progress in acceptance has been gained, mostly due to innovation in daily products; this has created the perception that science improves life. So at least now, we can continue the argument of defending the need for science, but still there are barriers to be taken down.

“We knew the world is flat, we knew that we were the centre of the universe, we knew that a man-made piece of machinery could not fly. Throughout human history, intellectual authorities have pronounced their supremacy by ridiculing or suppressing elements of reality that simply didn’t fit within the framework of accepted knowledge,” Terje Toftenes, a film producer said.

We are the masses, we act like sheep, we are entertained, we are fed what they want to feed us, we believe what they want us to believe and they make it taste nice so that we won’t complain. It’s come to a point in which if one of us rises to challenge the norm, they don’t even have to supress us anymore; the masses will do it for them.

One example is, “We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity… Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do,” said Ben Rich, former director of Lockheed’s Skunk Works.

Consider that we do indeed have lots of research and development available that can solve many of the problems of current humanity, what is really stopping us from actually doing so?

Sagan’s concern for humanity is that the people in power are more concerned with other matters, matters that make people have fear, fear of others, fear of themselves, fear of the truth. Clearly since his passing, the objective of current governing powers hasn’t changed, and it is still not the solution of the world’s problems.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.