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Carl Sagan — The Varieties of Scientific Experience (2006)

I would say that purpose is not imposed from the outside; it is generated from the inside. We make our purpose. And there is a kind of dereliction of duty of us humans when we say that the purpose is to be imposed on the outside or found in some book written thousands of years ago. We live in a very different world than we lived in thousands of years ago. There is no question that we have many obligations to guarantee our purposes, one of which is to survive. And that we have to work out for ourselves.

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Carl Sagan — The Varieties of Scientific Experience (2006)

That’s a vivid image. It’s also a very useful image, because, of course, the Boeing 747 did not spring full-blown into the world of aviation; it is the end product of a long evolutionary sequence, which, as you know, goes back to the DC-3 and so on until you get to the Wright biplane. Now, the Wright biplane does look as if it were spontaneously assembled by a whirlwind in a junkyard.