Candle in the Dark - Demon Haunted World

Topics: Scientific method, Carl Sagan, Pseudoscience Pages: 4 (1298 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Carl Sagan’s book “The Demon-Haunted World” is a book about science, pseudoscience and the difference between the two. It is clear from the beginning that Mr. Sagan is very passionate about science and frustrated with society’s lack of literacy in this subject. Throughout the book he talks about many different situations where pseudoscience has taken grasp on people, culture and society and tries to explain what happened that caused pseudoscience to win. There are a few techniques and things to watch out for when evaluating an extraordinary clam including understanding the difference between science and pseudoscience, using skepticism as well as your “baloney detection kit” and understanding there is no such thing as a dumb question. Mr. Sagan begins by making it painfully obvious that most of us want to understand the world around us, and to some degree we think that we do. Most people have some sort of belief or explanation for what they see around them. For some its religion, for others is science, or unfortunately pseudoscience. Mr. Sagan refers to it as a cheap imitation of science, one that has a lower standard of proof, if any standard at all. Simply put Mr. Sagan makes the argument that science is repeatable. Science is measurable. The main difference between a cosmic explanation, a pseudoscientific explanation and a scientific one is the fact that science requires adequate evidence before an explanation can be accepted. Also science thrives on accepting error, it actually embraces the fact that there are assumptions, constraints and unknowns in whatever idea is proposed. Science encourages fellow scientists to repeat experiments, prove or disprove an idea and move on to the next one. “Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking”, says the author. It is important to view science objectively. For example right before WWII a gentleman named Lysenko was able to convince Stalin that a “philosophically correct” genetic base would yield...
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