As most of you probably already know, astronomer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and skeptic Carl Sagan has died after a two-year battle with a rare blood disorder and leukemia. He will be missed by the entire skeptics community.
Editor's Note: I want to share with you James Randi's eloquent remembrance of Sagan:
Randi: We've lost Carl Sagan, and I can't quite adjust to the fact. When Asimov went, it was bad enough, but now that both these bright lights have gone out, I'm desolated.
Up until the end, he was confident, cheery, optimistic. Despite the ravages of his illness and the obvious, visible effects of the therapy he was undergoing, he made every public appearance he could. He was brave in the face of his demise, and went like the warrior he was.
I urge you, if you have not yet read The Demon-Haunted World, his last book, please do so.
Many months ago, I received a bound galley of that book, with a cautionary note not to prepare a review based closely upon it, since there were many planned changes due. When I eventually received the final version, I noted many instances where Carl had strengthened his languaged, upgraded and fortified his adjectives, and in general hardened his language. I had the chilling thought that perhaps he felt this might be his last statement about the pseudoscience, crackpots, frauds, and quacks that he so resented. I feel his loss acutely. He had the ability to captivate with his words, spoken or written. His students at Cornell worshiped him, and though his colleagues were often pedantically annoyed at his high public profile and expressed opinions that he should return to astronomy, he ignored that pressure -- happily for us -- and continued to be the great teacher of critical thinking that the world came to know and respect. A giant has fallen. We can only celebrate his life and continue to listen to him through his writings.