I think there was never a time when scientists have not held poetic imagination.

How true, TFF. Thank you for recasting my proposition so graciously, and so persuasively.

Your point [and Sagan's] explains how we get there, and "method" is the only means, I agree.

But it all starts with imagination.

Lord Francis Bacon (still recognized as "the father of modern science") said:

"To enter the kingdom of knowledge, as into the kingdom of heaven, one must become as a little child."

Little wonder, no thunder.

If "method" is king
Imagination is queen.

We need to get them between the sheets to produce heirs.

Method is the analyst
Imagination the catalyst.