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Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 10:34:04 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS FLASH Reply-To: aanews@listserv.atheists.org from: AMERICAN ATHEISTS subject: AANEWS FLASH for December 20, 1996 A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #218 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 12/20/96 http://www.atheists.org ftp.atheists.org/pub/ e-mail: aanews@atheists.org ASTRONOMER CARL SAGAN DEAD AT 62 Carl Sagan, the gifted story teller, author and astronomer who brought science into the lives of millions of people, died early today at age 62 following a two year battle with bone marrow disease. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he had undergone a marrow-transplant procedure in April of last year. If not an Atheist, Sagan was certainly a rationalist who was highly skeptical of religious claims and explanations about the universe. In addition to his defense of scientific methodology, he was a staunch advocate of evolutionary mechanism as a sensible way of explaining the origins of life, and often came tantalizingly close to dismissing the need for postulating a deity to explain phenomena in the universe. Born in New York in 1934, Sagan had a lifelong passion for knowledge which he directed into his fascination with astronomy. He was Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies and David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University. And he received NASA recognitions for his role in the Mariner, Viking and Voyager expeditions which explored the solar system. Other affiliations included a Division Chair within the American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union. In his lifetime, he published over 400 articles, essays and books. His PBS television series "Cosmos" became one of the most popular programs of its kind, and the book version went on to emerge as a best-seller. Sagan won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Dragons of Eden," and he achieved wide recognition for other works as well including "The Cosmic Connection," "Broca's Brain," and "Intelligent Life in the Universe." For Atheists and rationalists, Sagan was a hero in the front line battle against religious superstition and pseudo-science. He was an outspoken critic and debunker of paranormal, new age faddism and fundamentalist creationism. Yet, he always managed to speak glowingly of the scientific enterprise, and the need for human beings to learn and explore in order to quench the curiosity which he saw as a vital component of our very nature. ** AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. For more information on American Atheists, send mail to info@atheists.org and include your name and postal address. For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org and put "info aanews" (minus the quotation marks, please) in the message body. *

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