“We must not fail in this obligation …”

A list that I am on featured this quote from Wernher von Braun, whom older readers will remember as one of the Nazi scientists who developed the V2 rocket to bombard London during World War II, then went on to lead the postwar US space program. Without going into his politics, I found this statement laughably silly.

 “Here on Earth we live on a planet that is in orbit around the Sun.  The Sun itself is a star that is on fire and will someday burn up, leaving our solar system uninhabitable.  Therefore we must build a bridge to the stars, because as far as we know, we are the only sentient creatures in the entire universe. When do we start building that bridge to the stars?  We begin as soon as we are able, and that is that time.  We must not fail in this obligation we have to keep alive the only meaningful life we know of.”

Wernher von Braun

 

Therefore we must build a bridge to the stars, because as far as we know, we are the only sentient creatures in the entire universe. What a silly statement this is ! The “therefore” follows a fact that is not likely to happen for thousands of millions of years (!) and the idea that only we are sentient, in a universe consisting entirely of sentience (be it animate or what we think inanimate) is worse than laughable, it is pathetic. Yet this kind of thought still passes for scientific realism in some parts of academia.

 

 

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