FACT CHECK: Did Carl Sagan Say This Quote About Truth?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims that American astronomer Carl Sagan said, “If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Sagan made this statement. It may be a version of an expression written by American fantasy author P.C. Hodgell.

Fact Check:

An award-winning astronomer and popular science writer, Sagan helped establish, among other scientific contributions, that a strong “greenhouse effect” likely caused the high temperatures experienced on Venus today.

Sagan is perhaps best known for writing and hosting the 1980 space documentary series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.” The Emmy Award-winning series explored topics ranging from the origins of the universe to the possibility of extraterrestrial life. In 2014, 21st Century Fox released a follow-up called “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” hosted by astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson(RELATED: Did Einstein Say, ‘Creativity Is Contagious. Pass It On’?)

Though Sagan was a proponent of scientific inquiry throughout his career, there is no evidence he made the statement attributed to him in the Facebook post.

“I never heard of that quote, and it does not look at all like something Carl would have said,” Steven Soter, an astrophysicist and co-writer of “Cosmos,” told The Daily Caller in an email.

The website Quote Investigator suggests that the quote may actually be derived from a line in Hodgell’s fantasy novel “Seeker’s Mask” in which a character states, “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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