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Non-Fictional Prose Course

jaranda's picture



veritatemdilexi's picture

Is Fiction the Only way to Understand Nonfiction?

 This does not directly pertain to "Demon Haunted World", but it is pertinent to what I think we as a class are trying to reach in our understanding of what nonfiction is.  In my research for the paper that is upcoming, dealing with children's literature and imagination and their relationship, I came across a quote from Brunno Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment"-"He can achieve... understanding, and with it the ability to cope, not through rational comprehension of the nature and content of his unconscious, but by becoming familiar with it through spinning out daydreams-ruminating, rearranging, and fantasizing about suitable story elements in response to unconscious pressures.

ckosarek's picture

Who wants to participate in my third paper?

 Hi everyone, 

Going along with my semester-long quest to understand copyright law, I've decided to examine our own conceptions of "fair use" in copyright law. I want to open these questions to all of you on Serendip. Responses would be much appreciated!

Smacholdt's picture

Sagan's Relevance

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maht91's picture

On science and religion with Sagan

In the chapter titled Obsessed with Reality, it was interesting that horoscopes were brought up. I have never believed in horoscopes or fortune cookies but I have always been looking forward to reading what my horoscope says for instance. On page 243, it says towards the end “We are all human,” suggesting that horoscopes tell something about what humans have in common. The truth in the end is that we are all humans. We have our differences which also makes us humans. There is nothing concrete or strong evidence that horoscopes are true.

EVD's picture

The Demon Haunted World

I'm really enjoying reading The Demon Haunted World and I'm not sure if it is just because I agree with his ideas....but what I know for sure is that if I had come up with these ideas myself, I never would have found a way to convey them so well without offending the religious or the uneducated as Sagan does. I am impressed with how Sagan is able to discuss peoples' beliefs about the supernatural, for example, without insulting those who believe in things a scientist might deem outrageous. For example, on p. 30 Sagan writes "If you want to know when the next eclipse of the sun will be, you might try magicians or mystics, but you'll do much better with scientists.

Anne Dalke's picture

Towards Day 24: Doubting and Believing



maht91's picture

What Carl Sagan has to say about science and truth

 When I started reading The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, I did not really know what to expect. Sagan invites the reader to be critical and skeptical of things we read, see, or hear about. He wants us to distinguish between what is "valid science" and "pseudoscience." As a science major, I have always accepted science as factual information that is true until proven otherwise since I was young. In my current biology class, we are studying about paleontology which involves looking at fossil records of animals to infer relationships between extinct and living species.

FatCatRex's picture

Performance of false truths

After reading through Sagan's chapter, "Obsessed with Reality," which spends many pages discussing the sudden fame of Carlos / Jose Alvarez, I can't help but think of an experiment (ha, what a charged word 'experiment' is to me after reading Sagan...) by two anthropologists. A man and woman each dressed as "exotic" indigenous individuals, claiming to be from a ridiculously remote place that had never been discovered. They were put on display, and made themselves a traveling show about 10 or 12 years ago. We watched a documentary (mocumentary? I can't even remember now, interestingly enough) about their show, which featured these two actor/anthropologists dressed in fur and loincloths, parading around a CAGE putting on a show of being non-western foreigners.

rachelr's picture

Ownership of the body

 Some of the continuation of our discussion on Tuesday of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brought me back to an exercise that we did in my bio 110 course when reading the book. Our assignment was to create an informed consent for for Henrietta, attempting to explain the basic concepts behind her cancer and cells, and leave room for the potential of further research on them should her cells in fact grow in culture. So I just thought that I would share what I came up with as an informed consent for that perhaps could have been given to Henrietta Lacks:


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