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Sagan's Relevance

Smacholdt's picture

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I think that this was great book to read for this class because it covers a lot of what we’ve discussed about how you can truly prove something. As Sagan points out on page 137, everyone’s senses are fallible. However, this is difficult because it begs the question, how are we supposed to prove things about the world? Sagan also mentions that the truth is really all in how you portray it. I thought his example of the witness being coached by his or her lawyer to say get the testimony “right” was another good commentary on how there isn’t a “right” truth.

Sagan also includes convincing evidence for why science is a more effective way to explain things than superstition, he also admits that he too is human and therefore is prone to superstitious wishes and beliefs, like wanting to see his parents again. On page 203 he says, “Plainly there is something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death. And it’s not the least bit interested in whether there’s any sober evidence for it.”

I was also interested in the tools that Sagan presented to construct a logical argument, as well as the tools to recognize an illogical argument. After reading both, I thought about how often I hear arguments that do not stand up to logical standards. It’s much easier to build an unsound argument than it is to create a sound one.


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