Carl Sagan
The World Learned Much from Him

Carl Sagan has been a mentor of mine for forty years, which amounts to more than half my journey down the yellow brick road of life. He assisted me, even though I was trained in the humanities, to grasp astrophysics. My classes were not on a campus but were on TV in his Cosmos series in 1980. He was able to explain scientific concepts that a layperson could understand.

Carl Sagan

While I benefited from his teaching, Sagan, in particular and science in general, created chaos among religious true believers. Therefore, like any good professor, he seized the moment…a teaching moment. He showed how religions have been dominant for nearly all of our human history of a couple hundred thousand years. When science arrived and became a new player, religions went after science with the same zeal that a religion had when threatened by another religion that claimed truth over the first religion.

Therefore, Sagan’s teaching moment was not to discuss astrophysics to the religious true believers but to discuss religious ideas about the reason for our being. He talked about the ancient creation stories like the cosmic egg, which emerged in many cultures and societies throughout the world.

For example, Hindu mythology coined the term, Brahmanda, which came from two words that were morphed together: Brahma, the Hindu god and anda, which means egg. That primitive story was tweaked over time in the Upanishads and the Rig Veda.

In a half a dozen other myths from around the world, the cosmic egg emerged. In ancient Greek mythology, storytellers created the Orphic Egg.

The Orphic Egg

Planes (Φάνης), in Greek mythology, was a primordial god who was hatched from the Orphic Egg. The Orphic Egg always had a snake around it related to its hatching. In Egyptian mythology, the Cosmic Egg bore Ra, the sun god. The early accounts of what the Cosmic Egg created is based upon what the ancients knew of the universe, which was essentially very little. Therefore, the religious truths about the universe were meaningless, but they became enshrined as divine edits.

We aren’t the reason for the universe. The Big Bang occurred 13.77 billion years ago. Humans have been around for a couple hundred thousand years.

From the Big Bang until today.

Look at the Cosmic Calendar. Across the top of the graph is the history of the universe divided into twelve of our months. The middle section is December. Look at December 31st. At 11:52pm on the last day of the year, humans arrived in the universe. The bottom section is the last minute of the last day of the Cosmic Calendar.

The Cosmic Calendar

Sagan, in his closing comments to the religious true believers, did use a story in the Genesis to prove his point. The tree of knowledge was forbidden to us. However, humans wanted knowledge. As a result of that carving for understanding, science entered the picture.

This video is Carl Sagan discussing the reason for the universe and for us.