I have always been a fan of Carl Sagan, reading the first chapter I was taken in awe as he wrote about his experiences as a child, teenager, and college student. His references to his college teachings I found enlightening. Later he spoke of his ride with a cab driver and although comical at first I found it very pertinent to the course material (to the point of quoting references). Carl tore apart the driver’s beliefs of Area 51, Atlantis, Nostradamus, and Biblical Phenomena. “Scientific Illiterate” he called him. I found myself baffled, I study and believe in all the scientific examples Sagan brought up but also have an open mind to the unknown and obscured (like the ancient alien theory ). I think general main stream science is essential and Sagan gives many significant examples of this throughout the book. Anything that contraries his examples he labels as “Abandoning Science”. So where does this leave me I don’t feel as if I abandoned science?
I don’t just run with the first idea that “takes my fancy”. Later in the book he writes about the 9 rules of creating a true hypothesis. It think there is a lot of truth to many of his writings, but he leaves out in my opinion one of the most important rules, open minded scrutiny. Many obscure and wild ideas will find skeptics easily; however, in my opinion you can’t be a plausible skeptic unless you can at least conceive that the idea is possible to begin with. Most of the time skeptics have a completely closed minded biases to begin with so how could they be reliable to form a judgment? Unfortunately these are usually the strongest voices against obscure and wild theories.
Ultimately it was a good read and everything I would expect from Ol’Carl. But in the end science is not an absolute. In the 1400's science told everyone that the world is flat, then an unseen breakthrough changed science to be more accurate and perceptive. Who knows what changes are in for the science of the future? Perhaps “Esp, UFO’s, Levitation, Souls, Bermuda Triangle, and Ghosts” could become science fact someday though a scientific breakthrough instead of "Bamboozling". Sagan touches on this point lightly in the later chapters but falls short of the basis's of the standard scientific thinker.There is defiantly a median that needs to be reached with scientific ideologies and the obscure ideals.