Humans are extraordinary. I think humans do sometimes need some humility but Sagan’s message of “we’re not that special” isn’t, imo, the right way to go about it.
Telling people they’re not special invites individuals to continue believing they’re special while giving them the excuse to tell everybody ELSE they’re not special. Socially, a bad idea.
I liked Sagan’s optimism growing up. When I hear it now from other speakers, it does get a little pale and makes me a little blue, just to make a bad joke.
I like his naivete – the romanticism of the whole thing here.
I don’t get the same feeling when I’ve heard other science advocates copying his inspiration. Yet they provide inspiration for people today who don’t know Sagan. So, maybe not so bad.
As for me, this kind of thing is the religious side of science advocacy. It has is place, but I’m a bit more nuts+bolts now.
The reason I admire this (not the entirety of the message but the inspiration it can bring to people) is precisely its religiousness. The hope-bringing. Something that stops us for a moment looking at what bad thing someone did now.