NYT letter to the Editor really steams me

triften's picture
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NYT letter to the Editor really steams me

This really got my hackles up in that it was printed to provide "balance" alongside an atheist/agnostic letter.

Reprinted from NYT, Feb 20, 2007:

( http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/science/20letters.html )


To the Editor:

Carl Sagan and his cohorts display a failure of imagination when they limit their consideration of the existence of God to simply the God of the Scriptures. By beckoning us to conceive of “billions of billions,” Sagan advocated the concept of infinity. If you accept the notion of infinity, however, it is not a leap of faith to accept the notion of a God. Qualitatively, is there much difference between Sagan’s search for supra-intelligent extraterrestrial life and a search for God? The hubris of scientists is every bit the folly as the hubris of theologians.

Thomas D. Cramer

Ithaca, N.Y.

I have an issue with his claim of "accepting infinity" == "accepting God" but I can't quite articulate the problem with it.

The biggest thing I have an issue with is misunderstanding where an atheist's accusations of hubris might come in. I don't think Carl Sagan every claimed that there was, unequivocally, life out there, just that we should look for it. On the other hand, many theologians claim that there is a god. They are basically done "searching".

The hubris does not arise in the search, but in the claims made.

I'd like to write a response to this, but it'd probably need to be an editorial. I don't think I've ever seen NYT print letters responding to letters.



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While I agree with what

While I agree with what you're saying, but I also understand where he is coming from. 

But as to his idea that "billions of billions" is nearly the same as infinity as foolish.  A billion is just as far from the infinate as one.

I hope that when the world comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.