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Reading and Understanding Carl Sagan's "Textbook"

tgarber's picture

 Though I do not typically enjoy science or anything related to it, I enjoyed Sagan's description of how science impacts our lives through the years:  improving our means of communication, entertainment, health, etc. I could appreciate the "textbook-like" information that he provides, but that same information that once kept me interested in the book also made me dislike the book so far. He also disregards those who do not praise science as he does, and that left me indifferent about the book.


rachelr's picture

Would Naess and Sagan be best friends or archenemies?

 As a science major who is taking may different sciences classes I have found that I do enjoy some science reading, but as tgarber does, I found issue with how centrally he placed science. While I appreciate science, enjoy it, and look to it in order to solve many aspects of the world, I like to maintain more of a balance between the more analytical aspect of science and the mere acceptance of things that I have found from life experience to be true or that I have come to believe. Scientific practices can be immensely helpful and valuable, however I feel that living life completely or primarily through the practice of analyzing and proving everything in life as Sagan seems to suggest. 

Sagan's writing and life principles make me think back to Naess and his ecological ideas. In some ways they are so different and in others they are so similar; so my question is, would they be best friends or archenemies? I'm thinking that if they really got talking they would be at each other's throats over things like Naess' logic behind jumping jacks vs. heating a room and then Sagan analyzing the actual productivity of Naess' basic living, and Naess tearing apart Sagan's analytical view of life. I can just imagine him telling Sagan to go take a hike over a mountain or something and take some time to smell the flowers.

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