The Greatest Story Ever Told

55

2006  : WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA? ( - Edge.org)

The confrontation between science and formal religion will come to an end when the role played by science in the lives of all people is the same played by religion today.

And just what is that?

At the heart of every scientific inquiry is a deep spiritual quest — to grasp, to know, to feel connected through an understanding of the secrets of the natural world, to have a sense of one's part in the greater whole. It is this inchoate desire for connection to something greater and immortal, the need for elucidation of the meaning of the 'self', that motivates the religious to belief in a higher 'intelligence'. It is the allure of a bigger agency — outside the self but also involving, protecting, and celebrating the purpose of the self — that is the great attractor. Every culture has religion. It undoubtedly satisfies a manifest human need.

But the same spiritual fulfillment and connection can be found in the revelations of science. From energy to matter, from fundamental particles to DNA, from microbes to Homo sapiens, from the singularity of the Big Bang to the immensity of the universe …. ours is the greatest story ever told. We scientists have the drama, the plot, the icons, the spectacles, the 'miracles', the magnificence, and even the special effects. We inspire awe. We evoke wonder.

And we don't have one god, we have many of them. We find gods in the nucleus of every atom, in the structure of space/time, in the counter-intuitive mechanisms of electromagneticsm. What richness! What consummate beauty!

We even exalt the `self'. Our script requires a broadening of the usual definition, but we too offer hope for everlasting existence. The `self' that is the particular, networked set of connections of the matter comprising our mortal bodies will one day die, of course. But the `self' that is the sum of each separate individual condensate in us of energy-turned-matter is already ancient and will live forever. Each fundamental particle may one day return to energy, or from there revert back to matter. But in one form or another, it will not cease. In this sense, we and all around us are eternal, immortal, and profoundly connected. We don't have one soul; we have trillions upon trillions of them.

These are reasons enough for jubilation … for riotous, unrestrained, exuberant merry-making.

So what are we missing?

Written By: Carolyn Porco
continue to source article at edge.org

55 COMMENTS

  1. The “self” that is the particular, networked set of connections of the matter comprising our mortal bodies will one day die, of course. But the “self” that is the sum of each separate individual condensate in us of energy-turned-matter is already ancient and will live forever. Each fundamental particle may one day return to energy, or from there revert back to matter. But in one form or another, it will not cease. In this sense, we and all around us are eternal, immortal, and profoundly connected.

    Perhaps it’s because I haven’t achieved complete Buddahood but I kind of care about the first of these selves more than the second. I suspect there are others out there like me.

    We don’t have one soul; we have trillions upon trillions of them.

    Sorry that’s a ridiculous use of the word soul.

    So what are we missing?

    Ceremony.

    We lack ceremony. We lack ritual. We lack the initiation of baptism, the brotherhood of communal worship.

    Nope. The warm fuzzy community stuff is not what science and atheism lacks. You can go to Rotary or take up a hobby for that. What we lack is a comfortable answer to the question of personal immortality of self. We’ve got an answer and I don’t doubt it’s correct but it’s not comfortable. Pretending atoms are souls doesn’t help. Neither does pretending that the fact that the atoms I just blew out of my nose will exist forever is somehow just as good.

    Michael

    • In reply to #1 by mmurray:

      Neither does pretending that the fact that the atoms I just blew out of my nose will exist forever is somehow just as good.

      Agreed. I think what the writer of the article seeks is simply “drama”. Like mmurray says,

      You can go to Rotary or take up a hobby for that…

      …or just watch a chick-flick. Although, this article is interesting insomuch as it speaks to the type of mind that seeks drama over being satisfied with just plain grounded common sense and reality; no embellishment required.

  2. “At the heart of every scientific inquiry is a deep spiritual quest (…), to feel connected (…), to have a sense of one’s part in the greater whole”. – WHO SAYS THAT? …who says that at a core of scientific research is a need for belonging to a community?

    “It is this inchoate desire for connection to something greater and immortal” – this kind of thinking is characteristic of religious people. I think that it is very wrong to equalize scientific base for interest with religious.

    I do not like this article! Need to belong to the group is wrong, one loses its individualism and personal freedom, and most important one is offered (by this alliance) to dismiss its own responsibilities. So, it has always been easier to kill in a group without any personal responsibilities (wars), or implant false beliefs (religion). I have not read whole article because it make me sick right in the beginning.

  3. First they gave us “atheist churches” and now they bring us “ritualistic science.” When will this wrongheadedness end?

    Don’t these people realize that the reason why atheisms works is that all you require for it is a disbelief in a god/s and the reason why science works is that there are no sacred cows and holy men?

    These folk are like patients who have lost a limb and yet still think it’s there; **the phantom limb of religion haunts them even though the’ve long ago cut it off.

    Why can’t we savor the tastes of science or atheism on it’s own terms without first retching up that crappy, nutrition-less meal of our infancy — religion?!

    **I apologize to anyone who has lost their limb.

    • Porco’s day job is to create the incredible images we have of Saturn and its moons. She leads the team that has created some of the most awe inspiring images we have. So if this is what she uses to turn all that data into so much beauty, I’m in. I think if you spend all your time looking back at Earth from Saturn you will end up with a different perspective than those of use whose lives are more pedestrian and earth bound. In reply to #3 by RDfan:

      First they gave us “atheist churches” and now they bring us “ritualistic science.” When will this wrongheadedness end?

      Don’t these people realize that the reason why atheisms works is that all you require for it is a disbelief in a god/s and the reason why science works is that there are no sacred…

    • In reply to #3 by RDfan:

      First they gave us “atheist churches” and now they bring us “ritualistic science.” When will this wrongheadedness end?

      Don’t these people realize that the reason why atheisms works is that all you require for it is a disbelief in a god/s and the reason why science works is that there are no sacred…

      love the phantom limb

  4. What a fantastic article.. it summarises my search for “God” , or indeed just an “answer”, superbly. We cannot see, understand or positively identify what “God” is, as we cannot with the most fundamental particle of sub atomic energy. Whose to say they are not one in the same…. imagine the day we could marry science with religion to search for answers… evolutionary wise man is a long way off from that kind of thought leap I fear. Would it be better to find the theory of everything or to find God? Would they be different?

    • Based on a slight misreading of this post I have to say that I would like to marry science, but leave religion jilted to cry into its own delusions in the dark hours of the night until it finds a more worthy purpose than to hobble good scientists into writing this sort of stuff to preserve their hard earned roles in amazing projects by not giving religious people in power reason to undermine them. Bit of a free form rant there, and probably unfair to a host of people, but I feel better now. So that’s alright then.

      In reply to #4 by transient:

      What a fantastic article.. it summarises my search for “God” , or indeed just an “answer”, superbly. We cannot see, understand or positively identify what “God” is, as we cannot with the most fundamental particle of sub atomic energy. Whose to say they are not one in the same…. imagine the day w…

      • In reply to #8 by alf1200:

        In reply to #6 by Romulaner:

        OK, I’m waiting for the first christians to accept the nucleus as their saviour.

        All praise the atom! Behold the nucleus!

        Heresy! The electron is clearly the greatest and the most sacred particle! Kneel before the electron!

        • In reply to #10 by Zeuglodon:

          In reply to #8 by alf1200:

          In reply to #6 by Romulaner:

          OK, I’m waiting for the first christians to accept the nucleus as their saviour.

          All praise the atom! Behold the nucleus!

          Heresy! The electron is clearly the greatest and the most sacred particle! Kneel before the electron!

          Unbeliever’s! Your only chance of salvation is Mass with the Higgs Boson.

          Michael

          • In reply to #15 by mmurray:

            In reply to #10 by Zeuglodon:

            In reply to #8 by alf1200:

            In reply to #6 by Romulaner:

            OK, I’m waiting for the first christians to accept the nucleus as their saviour.

            All praise the atom! Behold the nucleus!

            Heresy! The electron is clearly the greatest and the most sacred particle! Kneel before…

            It has been written that there is only ONE electron, and It is everywhere…

        • In reply to #10 by Zeuglodon:

          In reply to #8 by alf1200:

          In reply to #6 by Romulaner:

          OK, I’m waiting for the first christians to accept the nucleus as their saviour.

          All praise the atom! Behold the nucleus!

          Heresy! The electron is clearly the greatest and the most sacred particle! Kneel before the electron!

          I don’t know what I was thinking…..a false particle. …I feel like a real quark………….so sorry……

  5. Why do people find this kind of writing edifying? The writer seems more interested in trying to make both sides of the fence feel warm and fuzzy rather than in trying to address any real issues either side has, and the result is a terrible analogy trying to equate laboratory experiments with going to church.

    The confrontation between science and formal religion will come to an end when the role played by science in the lives of all people is the same played by religion today.

    Nope. Science is not a substitute for religion; it’s an antagonist to their real-world claims and methods of validating those claims. Rituals and ethics and spirit journeys and so on are hobbies at least, subject to practical concerns and issues in philosophy and ethics at most. Some would argue that religion doesn’t need a replacement: it just needs to go.

  6. C’mon you guys (who are getting all bristly here). Give the woman a break. Her credentials as a scientist and atheist are in order, and she’s not arguing for accommodation. She’s just getting all teary-eyed about the universe and making a case that you don’t need myths to celebrate it.

    “Einsteins Witnesses”. Ha, good one.

    Carry on, Dr. Porco.

    • In reply to #11 by justinesaracen:

      C’mon you guys (who are getting all bristly here). Give the woman a break. Her credentials as a scientist and atheist are in order, and she’s not arguing for accommodation. She’s just getting all teary-eyed about the universe and making a case that you don’t need myths to celebrate it.

      Eh, you have a point. Maybe I’m too unimaginative and picky for my own good at times. It’s not so much her gushing over science that bothers me so much as just how thick she lays on the spiritual angle. I don’t know if I’m just suspicious of anything that seems remotely accommodationist (since I disagree with that position) or if it just isn’t to my tastes, but very romantic language and the use of words like “spiritual quest” seem at odds with how I perceive scientific study and knowledge (as rather clinical and stoic affairs).

      Also, credentials are provisional indicators of authority, not enough in themselves to disregard the meat of an argument. It’s not her credentials that’ll make me change my mind.

      • In reply to #14 by Zeuglodon:

        In reply to #12 by mmurray:

        I just realised that she works in Colorado. THAT state. Now it all makes sense.

        Michael

        Coming as I do from the UK, I feel I’m missing something. What about Colorado?

        If she lived in Amsterdam, would that make more sense to you?

      • In reply to #14 by Zeuglodon:

        In reply to #12 by mmurray:

        I just realised that she works in Colorado. THAT state. Now it all makes sense.

        Michael

        Coming as I do from the UK, I feel I’m missing something. What about Colorado?

        Uh, rocky mountain high? Red state. Republician?

  7. Much as I admire and respect Caroline Porco, I do wish she wouldn’t use such religious language. Einstein did it and Lord knows we ‘ve had the faithful claiming him for their own

    I understand that sheis filled with wonder and awe as she delves deeper and finds out more about our incredible universe but I prefer the way Dawkins expresses himself.

    • In reply to #18 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

      Much as I admire and respect Caroline Porco, I do wish she wouldn’t use such religious language. Einstein did it and Lord knows we ‘ve had the faithful claiming him for their own

      I understand that sheis filled with wonder and awe as she delves deeper and finds out more about our incredible univers…

      Is he a Templeton Prize aspirant?

      • In reply to #33 by quarecuss:

        In reply to #18 by Christiana Magdalene Moodley:

        Much as I admire and respect Caroline Porco, I do wish she wouldn’t use such religious language. Einstein did it and Lord knows we ‘ve had the faithful claiming him for their own

        I understand that sheis filled with wonder and awe as she delves deep…

        sorry, “she”

  8. What an awful, and frankly (to my sensibilities anyway) offensive, article. The last thing I ever want to read about science is something agreeing with the feeble arguments that Xtians throw back at us that “science is just a form of religion anyway”. It isn’t and it couldn’t be further removed from it. I love science and the scientific method and find immense wonder and fulfillment in it but certainly no god never mind many of them. The very essence of the scientific method is that it relies solely on evidence and proof rather than blind faith, invisible sky pixies and “pretending to know things you don’t actually know” which is the stock in trade solely of theists and god botherers.

  9. At the heart of every scientific inquiry is a deep spiritual quest

    WTF?

    We lack ceremony. We lack ritual. We lack the initiation of baptism, the brotherhood of communal worship.

    that is the last fucking thing we need, more meaningless ceremony. I hate pointless action.
    This author really needs religion.

  10. I think mmurray said almost everything that needed to be said.

    I can only add, that sugesting “ritualistic science” is absurd. Because it already is ritualistic. It follows the scientific method, it is published, it is reviewed. All of these are rituals. They just aren’t religious or prejudicial (most times) in nature.

  11. For many generations, my ancestors have been members of the Orthodox Newtonian Church and we have staunchly defended the tenets of the organisation. When Einstein’s Witnesses appear at our doorsteps, we shun them and force them to leave. When we hear of the propositions of the First Quantum Church of Shrodinger, we close our minds and continue to believe in our centuries old dogma. All praise our classical formulae!

    giggity

    • In reply to #25 by giggity:

      For many generations, my ancestors have been members of the Orthodox Newtonian Church and we have staunchly defended the tenets of the organisation. When Einstein’s Witnesses appear at our doorsteps, we shun them and force them to leave. When we hear of the propositions of the First Quantum Church…

      Hmmmmmm
      amen…………..

  12. While i can sympathise with Carolyn’s argument that science could benefit from a more human face, i don’t think the solution is to wrap it up in a quasi religious reverence.

    For me, the wonders of the universe are more than enough taken on their own merits to take my breath away. I think a better approach would be better science education so more people can see for them selves how incredible reality really is. No need to dress it up in neo-mystical fluff.

    Sciences’ appeal is surely about the awe of understanding, this sounds more like the traditional religious awe of ignorance.

  13. I think the author is missing the point of science if they think we should sing songs together to worship the galaxy or whatever ….count me out …..I don’t worship anything …..and will never do….I’m in awe of the galaxy…..but worshipping any thing is obsessive compulsive behaviour and should be controlled by each individual…we are mature enough to work together on essential projects and we don’t need group team building exercises ….we get it….we need to work together…..we know….

    • In reply to #27 by Light Wave:

      I think the author is missing the point of science if they think we should sing songs together to worship the galaxy or whatever ….count me out …..I don’t worship anything …..and will never do….I’m in awe of the galaxy…..but worshipping any thing is obsessive compulsive behaviour and shoul…

      The late George Carlin was a Sun worshipper. His reason was “I can see it”.

  14. It is the allure of a bigger agency

    Post theistic twaddle!

    Prove such allure is not a cultural artifact. Porco’s culture has it in spades. Mine less so. Others less still. I’m drawn to the prospect of alien peers not alien overlords.

    And whats so good about eternity?

    My life is given meaning by being brief, precious and a genetic and cultural stepping stone for our whole meanings-generating adventure. But hey, that’s just me. And that’s the point.

    There are none so prone to solipsism as those who seek to draw us together in one big cuddle of commonality. Icky.

  15. I thought this was an insightful essay. Porco was a student of Carl Sagan, and it shows. I’m reminded of some of Sagan’s best “sermons” (e.g. the first episode of Cosmos – “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be…”, or the “Pale Blue Dot” video).

    I do expect science to increasingly adopt the trappings of religion, for several reasons:

    1) It’s a powerful way of inspiring human beings to pursue long-term, collective enterprises (science itself, space exploration, etc.).

    2) Science, like art, poetry, music and religion, is a “spiritual” enterprise – life did fine without it for billions of years, and can again. Why not acknowledge this and celebrate it?

    3) Science may reach a point of diminishing returns, where the ratio of new knowledge to established knowledge approaches zero, at which point scientists will become more like priests, preserving and passing on their knowledge to future generations. This situation may not be that far off in theoretical physics.

    4) Religious rituals and methods just plain work. If science is out to supplant religion (a radical notion which most scientists of previous centuries would have rejected), it had better learn their techniques for motivating, inspiring and reproducing people. The fact that secular people have lower (indeed, suicidal) birthrates compared to religious people tells me that something fundamental is lacking from their lives in our current scientific civilization.

    • In reply to #35 by Imperius:

      4) Religious rituals and methods just plain work.

      Like phil rimmer says — not anymore. In most western countries outside the US attendance at religious services is dwindling rapidly.

      If science is out to supplant religion (a radical notion which most scientists of previous centuries would have rejected), it had better learn their techniques for motivating, inspiring and reproducing people.

      It isn’t. It is out to understand reality.

      The fact that secular people have lower (indeed, suicidal) birthrates compared to religious people tells me that something fundamental is lacking from their lives in our current scientific civilisation.

      Suicidal ? Global population is currently 7 billion. Projections for 2100 range from 6 – 16 billion. Planetary carrying capacity is maybe 1-2 billion if we all want a sustainable high standard of living. The only thing I can see suicidal is the the growth rate.

      Michael

    • In reply to #35 by Imperius:
      >

      2) Science, like art, poetry, music and religion, is a “spiritual” enterprise – life did fine without it for billions of years, and can again. Why not acknowledge this and celebrate it?

      Nope! Scientists may well get motivation and satisfaction from their work, but that is where a resemblance to “spiritual experiences” end. Rational thought is from different areas of the brain.

      3) Science may reach a point of diminishing returns, where the ratio of new knowledge to established knowledge approaches zero,

      That seems unlikely, given that investigations and answers give rise to a whole collection of new questions.

      at which point scientists will become more like priests, preserving and passing on their knowledge to future generations.

      Priests don’t preserve knowledge, They preserve myths and dogmas!

      This situation may not be that far off in theoretical physics.

      Really????? Ancient dogmas to theoretical physics seems a very strange leap into the unknown!

      4) Religious rituals and methods just plain work.

      Some evolve and replicate themselves, others die out. It is hard to tell what concept or definition of “work” you mean.

      If science is out to supplant religion

      It is already doing so in the more advanced countries.

      (a radical notion which most scientists of previous centuries would have rejected),

      Really??? – * William Whewell was the one who coined the term “scientist”. The Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of the word to 1834*, so there weren’t any “scientists” two centuries ago.

      it had better learn their techniques for motivating, inspiring and reproducing people.

      The scientific record of motivating and inspiring people to make valuable discoveries, develop skills, and use inventions for human benefit, is second to none.

      The fact that secular people have lower (indeed, suicidal) birthrates compared to religious people

      Says that they value standards of life more than breeding like rabbits.

      tells me that something fundamental is lacking from their lives in our current scientific civilization.

      Yep! – Breeding like rabbits, and the consequential poverty and disease, that was (and is) so prevalent in religious pre-scientific cultures, is lacking from civilised secular scientific societies. (Apart from in a few religious ghettos which reject modern medicine and family planning.)

  16. OP:

    Ceremony.

    We lack ceremony. We lack ritual. We lack the initiation of baptism, the brotherhood of communal worship.

    We have no loving ministers, guiding and teaching the flocks in the ways of the ‘gods’. We have no fervent missionaries, no loyal apostles. And we lack the all-inclusive ecumenical embrace, the extended invitation to the unwashed masses. Alienation does not warm the heart; communion does.

    Ah, but we do have the Large Hadron Collidor ! Peace be upon it !

  17. “At the heart of every scientific inquiry is a deep spiritual quest — to grasp, to know, to feel connected through an understanding of the secrets of the natural world, to have a sense of one’s part in the greater whole.”

    Queue the journey music (this nearly borders on “wooism”). Spiritual quest? Umm, no, not really. At the heart of every scientific inquiry is human curiosity, perhaps fired by a sense of awe and wonder. If I wanted a deep spiritual quest I’d break out the incense and some John Tesh albums. Gawd, I hate the word, “spiritual”! I wish that when someone uses the word, they would at least define its meaning.

    • In reply to #42 by fullyladenswallow:

      “At the heart of every scientific inquiry is a deep spiritual quest — to grasp, to know, to feel connected through an understanding of the secrets of the natural world, to have a sense of one’s part in the greater whole.”

      Queue the journey music (this nearly borders on “wooism”). Spiritual quest?…

      Whenever I hear the word ‘spiritual,’ I reach for my Nagan (sic)!

  18. Well friends, Soviet intellectuals also made triumphalist claims about the inevitability of religion’s demise; meanwhile, religion is making a comeback in the old communist lands and major inroads into China, which tells me something important about humanity’s eternal desire for religion.

    Porco’s idea is a compromise — an attempt to satisfy the human need for spirituality in a scientifically viable way. And her suggestion isn’t new. To wit:

    “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity.” —Albert Einstein

    “How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.” —Carl Sagan

    ‘Politics and religion are obsolete; the time has come for science and spirituality.’ —Jawaharlal Nehru (quoted by Arthur C. Clarke)

    As for spirituality, whatever it is, it’s a source of great creativity and inspiration that doesn’t go away. Attempts to suppress it (see the Soviet Union) tend to result in totalitarianism and disaster. Defining spirituality is difficult; I guess it’s something you know when you see and experience. Einstein, Sagan and Feynman were clearly spiritual scientists, motivated by something that isn’t easily rationalized, and so is Carolyn Porco. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to denigrate this unique aspect of human nature as “woo”, let alone try to stamp it out. Insanity!

    • In reply to #50 by Imperius:

      Why all this talk about suppression? I can’t speak for the majority of users on this site, but I’d guess nobody here wants to stop people if they want to “spiritualize” science. We just don’t agree with it, and won’t let it go uncriticized. Disagreement and criticism hardly constitute suppression.

    • In reply to #50 by Imperius:

      …religion is making a comeback in the old communist lands and major inroads into China, which tells me something important about humanity’s eternal desire for religion.

      It tells me two things:

      (1) That the Red Army didn’t do enough to suppress this barbarism;

      (2) That the ‘West’ encouraged religious and political reaction in order to sabotage the “Evil Empire.”

      Humans ’need’ religion to fulfil three goals:

      (1) Explanation, a function superseded by science among the civilized;

      (2) Consolation for the Have-Nots;

      (3) Control for the Haves.

      Its “comeback in the old communist lands and major inroads into China” provide classic, almost textbook, illustrations of this.

      The restoration of capitalism in the old Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe caused catastrophic disruption in the lives of millions – unemployment, rising infant mortality and decreasing life-expectancy, drugs, a horrendous increase in infectious diseases (particularly TB and AIDS, often in cross-infection) and the dismantling of social welfare networks hit the populations of those countries, particularly women, with the force of neutron bombs. No wonder they turned back to the consolations that they clung to for millennia before 1945.

      By the same token, the newly ascendant capitalist rulers embraced the philosophy of “pie in the sky when you die” (and in some cases a resurgent fascism as well) in order to contain the discontent caused by these conditions.

      While China is still nominally a communist state, the “market socialism” ushered in by Deng Xiaoping as a safety valve for the unrest evidenced by the events of 1989 has created vast gulfs of inequality in the social fabric. Hence the (as yet minimal) increase in religiosity – expect to see a lot more, as well as a more ‘permissive’ attitude on the part of the CCP bureaucracy

      • In reply to #55 by Sally:

        …religion is making a comeback in the old communist lands and major inroads into China, which tells me something important about humanity’s eternal desire for religion. It tells me two things:(1) That the Red Army didn’t do enough to suppress this barbarism;

        So let me understand what you are saying. It sounds like you are saying the Red Army should have killed more religious leaders than it did. Because the Red Army did kill religious people quite a bit. Often just because they were killing everybody in sight but sometimes they singled religious people out as enemies of the people. Are you saying they should have done more of that? So you are advocating genocide of theists?

  19. Having read the whole piece by Porco, and all the comments, I started out at first irritated by all the flights of fantasy in a context where they don’t belong (trillions of Gods and souls?)

    In sympathy with the stern materialists at first, now I’ve changed my mind. We can do spiritual as well as factual exposition of science.
    By the way, dictionary.com defines ‘spiritual’ as synonymous with ‘incorporeal’; nothing supernatural necessarily. This writing is an example of a respected brilliant scientist who is inspired by the nature of the revealed wonders of cosmology to break out into artistic expression.

    Her writing is inspired, not by a fake divinity but by factual reality, which exhibits more glory than any number of archangels or holy ghosts. So I say why not accord her all the poetic licence that she truly merits.

    I’m pretty sure Sagan would approve.

    If he’s up there, watching.

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