Friday, February 16, 2007

Why not engrave the Ten Commandments on the Moon à la the slab in “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

Will the old Carl Sagan become the new Richard Dawkins? This from an article in the New York Times:

Why not a commandment, for instance, that thou shalt not exceed the speed of light? Or why not engrave the Ten Commandments on the Moon in such a way that they would not be discovered until now, à la the slab in “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

If such an inscription were found, people would ask how it had gotten there, Dr. Sagan writes. “And then there would be various hypotheses, most of which would be very interesting,” he adds dryly.

Of course, the hypothesis that it is evidence of intelligent design would be off limits for scientists.

In reading the article, it sounds like Sagan's widow may want to jump on the traditional religion bashing bandwagon. Will it be with a crowbar, a baseball bat or something else?

And now for some comments from the world's leading expert on religion, Richard Dawkins:

The last word may as well go to Dr. Dawkins himself, who in a 1996 book nominated Dr. Sagan as the ideal spokesman for Earth. In a blurb for the new book, Dr. Dawkins said that the astronomer was more than religious, having left behind the priests and mullahs.

“He left them behind, because he had so much more to be religious about,” Dr. Dawkins wrote. “They have their Bronze Age myths, medieval superstitions and childish wishful thinking. He had the universe.”

I am not sure what "more than religious" means. Sounds like Dawkins thinks Sagan has a better religion that he thinks should win in the marketplace of religions. And it is all oh so scientifically sound!

One final note: What I call the Darwinian Fundamentalist Manifesto came in a review of a Carl Sagan book.