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Dr. Carl Sagan explains science as a methodology because it follows a certain way or pattern or method. By this he means scientific thinking is imaginative (creative and thinking-out-of-the-box) and at the same time discipliined (it is also systematic and rigorous). Science…
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full A Candle in the Dark (a review of a book by Carl Sagan) 28 June Dr. Carl Sagan explains science as a methodology because it follows a certain way or pattern or method. By this he means scientific thinking is imaginative (creative and thinking-out-of-the-box) and at the same time discipliined (it is also systematic and rigorous). Science balances total openness even if it contradicts conventional wisdom but at the same time tries to put everything to a test to prove it is true. Everything is scrutinized in detail.
2. Dr. Sagan was rightly concerned about how no one understands technology and science anymore. It represents a serious threat of being dumbed down. Because of this, there is a real danger of America becoming just a service and information economy. It wil have lost its competitive primacy in key manufacturing industries. This happens when young students are afraid of studying and learning; people who are just content with what feels good.
3. The difference between stupidity and ignorance is that the former is correctable but ignorance cannot be remedied. One can compare ignorance as complete darkness in which there is no light to show the way. Ignorance, especially of ourselves, will cause nations to soon perish. Ignorance is complete lack of knowledge and is therefore more dangerous than of stupidity because by then it allows for superstition and pseudoscience to come back in.
4. The “error-correcting machinery” that Dr. Sagan alludes to refers to how science is always self-checking and self-critizing every time it makes a claim. It never claims certitude or complete correctness but admits to the possibility it might be mistaken. This is unlike most religions which always seem to claim complete certainty over issues and concerns (as faith). Error bars in any scientific research or undertaking is a warning or precaution that no kind of knowledge is ever complete, perfect, or error-free and so these bars are symbols of humility.
5. Michael Faraday was correct in saying most people have a confirmation bias. This is when people “seek for such evidence and appearances as are in the favour of our desires.” It is human nature to crave for acceptance and confirmation but a scientist must try to resist it because it will defeat the very purpose of science which is to examine, question, or scrutinize everything to arrive at the truth. This is why research papers are subjected to a peer-review of anonymous colleagues before these are accepted for publication in a scientific journal.
Work Cited
Sagan, Carl. The Demon-haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. New York, NY, USA: Ballantine Books, 1996. Print.
Due: June 30, 2014 @ 3:15 a.m. Read More
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