Throughout his career, Carl worked as a science popularizer and as a professor of astronomy and critical thinking. He stayed true to his understanding of the world even in tough times—like when his little girl asked him if he would ever get to see his dead parents again:
He considered his answer carefully. Finally, he said that there was nothing he would like more in the world than to see his mother and father again, but that he had no reason—and no evidence—to support the idea of an afterlife, so he couldn’t give in to the temptation.
Then he told me, very tenderly, that it can be dangerous to believe things just because you want them to be true. You can get tricked if you don’t question yourself and others, especially people in a position of authority. He told me that anything that’s truly real can stand up to scrutiny.