Carl Sagan Talks About Star Wars A New Hope Mistakes

Carl Sagan talks about the scientific mistakes made by the original Star Wars film. His level of awareness is deeply inspiring.


I know what I think. I think it’s all comedy years. I don’t know some time or Newsweek, somebody to ask you about the pictures that are out now there’s Star Wars, close encounters and so forth. And they asked you what you thought. Then you thought that they should be? Not She didn’t say they were entertaining, which you thought maybe they should deal a little closer with scientific facts.

Carl Sagan: Yeah, my sense of that sort of the 11-year-old in me loves them. But they could have made a better effort to do things right. A lot, a lot of different aspects of things. There’s Star Wars starts out saying it’s on some other galaxy, right? And then you see people, and the scene starts in scene one. There’s a problem because human beings result from a unique evolutionary sequence based upon so many individually unlikely random events on the earth.

In fact, I think most evolutionary biologists would agree that if you started the earth out again and just let those random factors operate, you might wind up with beings that are as smart as us and were ethical and artistic, and all the rest. Still, they would not be human beings that are for the earth. So another planet, different environment, very likely human being. Are you sitting in another galaxy? It’s not possible that there could be it’s extremely unlikely that there would be creatures as similar to us as, as the dominant ones in Star Wars and a whole bunch of other things.

They’re all white, the skin of all the humans in Star Wars, oddly enough, is sort of like this fine. And not even the other colors represented on the earth are present; much fewer greens and blues and purples and oranges didn’t have the scene in Star Wars with a lot of strange characters. Yeah, but none of them seem to be in charge of the galaxy. Everybody in charge of the galaxy seemed to look like us.

I thought there was a large amount of human chauvinism. And also, I felt very bad that he didn’t get a medal at the end of the week. Also, all the people got medals in the wiki. You’d been in there fighting all the time. He didn’t get any metal. And I thought that was an example of anti wiki discrimination.

Here are you dissecting this scientifically, Carl; take it out of it for me?

Carl Sagan: Well, that’s it. I mean, you can view these pictures entirely uncritically. That’s really what it was. It was a shootout. Wasn’t it a Western outer space sort of good guys versus the bad guys? And
I sense that every picture with touches on science could do that. And at the same time, just a little more effort to get the science right.

I remember one comment you made was about the allusion to speed when it really had to do with distance.

Carl Sagan: That’s right, talked about getting to a certain place and only so many parsecs of time, or speed of distance is like saying that, from here to San Diego is 30 miles an hour. It just doesn’t mean anything. Yeah.

How many people were sitting there that figured that out during the picture that we got to hire one impoverished graduate student? Reed Bradbury was on here last night. And I think I’ve asked you this question before, because if I remember in Star Wars, they got up, and they got in the spaceship, and they were beyond the speed of light right. As far as I guess science knows, that is supposed to be the finite limit of velocity is the speed of light, and nothing can go faster than that. Can you get in this picture? They were going faster than that. And I asked Ray, I said, What would happen? I think I ask you the same question. If they found something that was beyond the speed of light, how Wouldn’t that change all of the whole your legal conception of what’s going on?

Carl Sagan: A lot of people are sort of annoyed that physicists should lay any constraints on what we do in the future. But I think the way to look at it is something like this is all dude Einstein. I mean, as Ryan laid in his lap, all the people who are annoyed and not being able to travel faster than the speed of light. It’s simply this if no material object can travel at or beyond the speed of light, then many things in the world are understandable quantitatively in detail. The universe makes sense.

If it were possible to travel faster than the speed of light, then all of that, that comprehensibility breaks down. And there are a lot of awkward things that can happen, such as effects preceding causes. If you see what I mean, the light goes on, and then you walk to the switch to turn it.

There is a famous poem about that. After Einstein, a young lady from bright named bright couldn’t travel much faster than light.

Carl Sagan: She led it up one way one day in a relative way and returned the preceding. Right.

That was little Carl Sagan. Now let’s hear our next dude.

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