Ann Druyan’s advice: Use “subnatural” instead of “supernatural”

| November 12, 2007 | 3 Replies

Words have great power to frame thoughts. Here’s a good example reported by Ebonmuse of Daylight Atheism, reporting on the recent Secular Society Conference in NY:

The conference organizers next played a rare audio recording of [Carl] Sagan reading the famous passage, Reflections on a Mote of Dust, from his book Pale Blue Dot. Afterward, Ann Druyan (who was more than a little choked-up herself, and who could blame her?) took the stand to speak of Sagan’s legacy. She said, in a speech I hope always to remember, that the word “supernatural” is a terrible misnomer. Instead, she said passionately, we should call it the “subnatural”, because even the most elaborate imaginings of humans pale beside the majestic glory of the cosmos as it is revealed to us, and that communicating that sense of awe and wonder was what Carl Sagan did so well. Even today, over ten years after his death and over twenty years after Cosmos was first broadcast, it’s never gone off the air, and it’s still one of the most beautiful and compelling scientific documentaries of all time.

Yes, and I’m a bit jealous that Ebonmuse took advantage of his opportunity to mingle with so many of those freethinkers I admire (his photos are proof).  

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Category: Religion, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. Ebonmuse says:

    You should come to the next one then. :) This was my first real conference, and I really enjoyed it. Next time I'm going to go farther afield – maybe the FFRF's annual convention in Madison.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Ebonmuse: it looks that FFRF will be in Chicago for its next national convention: October 10-12, 2008 http://ffrf.org/events/

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