Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Demon-Haunted World

When we passed around the books during the orientation, and this book got to me I immediately knew I would enjoy it. Science has always been my thing, by means of what truly interests me. This books shows how there can be flaws in science, and the thing you must do is always question. You can't just accept what is presented to you, you should test and questions all things. He shows that there is a thin line between science and pseudoscience, to a degree.
It relates questioning to psuedoscience in that if you dont question science that is presented to you, you are no different that a person who, without the blink of an eye, accepts every UFO sighting without question. In my personal opinion, I would find religion to be almost identical. Believing without any factual evidence whatsoever. The books explains, however, nothing is for naught, and even studying people who genuinely believe these things could give a ton of information of how the human brain actually works.
He provides his "baloney detection kit" to help the reader understand how to reject false data and information. Some of the main uses for this determining of questioning and skeptical thinking is to question authority, where we in our society tend to just listen and not question. This is actually a major flaw in society which Sagan points out.
My one possible flaw with the book is that it is a bit outdated, because it was published in 1995. But as a scientist (or soon to be) i understand there are many, and constantly changing, factors and rules to continue science being as accurate as possible. Testing and retesting is the basis of all good science, and nothing is ever truly accepted as fact, but you can use the data to create your own opinions.
Overall this was a great book. Showing you how do dispute things that seem unfathomable, not only because they seem unfathomable, but because you question and think for yourself. Some people may truly believe the things they do, but the truly intelligent get that way from asking the questions they want answers to.

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