Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
The Dragon in My Garage (archive.org)
29 points by markessien 2936 days ago | hide | past | web | 9 comments | favorite

"The 'Dragon' is a metaphor for God." should have been omitted from the preamble. if the reader cannot figure out that the dragon = god the rest of the argument is in more trouble than explicitly asserting that can fix. and for the rest of us, it's a lousy spoiler.

It's been a while since I read Demon Haunted World, but I'm pretty sure that the Dragon wasn't even supposed to specifically be a metaphor for God. Instead, it was supposed to be a metaphor for all supernatural claims. In particular, Sagan had previously spent a large amount of time in the earlier parts of the book discussing claims of alien abductions, and relating them to historical cases of "demonic possession". While this story can certainly be used as a metaphor for God, I believe that focusing on that misses the overall point of the story.

Ugh. Reddit has an atheism subreddit for this kind of stuff.

Now all the article needs is a manual that is purportedly written two thousand years ago that rules "dragons exist in garages." And then all peoples with garages and dragons need to have a special purpose for existence (making people aware of the reptilian friends in the garages), and he'd have modern religion in a nutshell.

In Defence Of The Dragon

The Dragon is a metaphor for hope and justice in a world where there is no hope and never will.

It is easy to disregard the Dragon if suffering is not a part of your daily life.

It is an entirely other assertion that The Invisible Dragon alleviates suffering, beyond existing.

Let's imagine those who say there is a dragon living in their garage contend that the dragon is a required salve for the harms of living in a hostile world. Though I can not prove (though still approaching with an open mind) the physical existence of a dragon in anyone's garage, I can not argue against the proclaimed effect on those who find their suffering abated. That is, the effect is real if you say it is; the dragon is not.

I was assigned to read this book in AP Psychology in high school. Discovering Carl Sagen alone made that class worth it. I now own quite a few of his works and would highly recomend all of them to anyone. The Demon-Haunted World should be required reading, regardless of whether you agree with his viewpoints. Each chapter is a starting point for a powerful, exciting intellectual discussion.

What is the Demon-Haunted World about? I've always loved this essay, but I don't know anything else about Carl Sagan.

I'm not sure where to begin.

Demon-Haunted World is about skepticism, and how to use science and rational inquiry to avoid scams, pseudoscience, hoaxes, and possibly religion. It is not a strictly atheist book, although you could read it as one if you tilt your head properly.

But how can you not know anything else about Carl Sagan?

He wrote many books popularizing science, including Contact, The Dragons of Eden, Broca's Brain, and Cosmos. He also co-wrote and hosted the series Cosmos on PBS, which is the most-watched PBS show in history, and well worth watching on DVD.

He was founder and first President of The Planetary Society (http://www.planetary.org/). He was an avid supporter of SETI. He assembled the gold plaque that went into space on Pioneer 10, and the golden records that went out on the Voyager probes.

As an astronomer, he made several important hypotheses about the structure of other planets, particularly Venus, and drew connections between Venus and Earth-based global warming and greenhouse emissions.

He was active in investigating UFO claims, including serving on the Ad Hoc Committee that reviewed the Air Force's Project Blue Book. He was convinced of the probability of extra-terrestrial intelligence, but equally convinced that we had not encountered it yet.

Most importantly, he brought us the phrase "billions and billions", even though he never said it himself until long after it was a joke.

Here's a collection of quotations: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

And one for the road: "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact