Carl Sagan prefaces this book by crediting his parents for teaching him the true essence of science. He recollects that not one of his highly intelligent school teachers were able to teach him then most important aspect of science, it is a mindset to use as a tool throughout life. When he was a child his parents brought him to the 1939, “World’s Fair”, and introduced him simultaneously, to a world of wonder, and skepticism, which launched him into a lifelong journey in search of discovery and truth. Throughout this book, he explains how the scientific method, empowers us as individuals and as a society. He states, “it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” Pseudoscience, is reassuring when we don’t have all the answers, it fills in the gaps of knowledge, with ignorance.
I found Chapter 4, Aliens, to be quite entertaining. In it, Sagan lays out an interesting scenario of how a lucid dream can turn into an alien abduction, he discusses the probability of UFO’s landing on earth an abducting thousands of people who claim to have been abducted, without any, concrete evidence. In great detail, he explains how our minds can play tricks on us, and how we fill in the unknown, with what makes sense at the time, based on things we've seen or read that is stored in our subconscious . For instance, many years ago a movie depicting aliens, as little grey beings with huge dark eyes was released, and shortly after, people reported seeing little gray aliens, with big eyes.
This book, in keeping with this class, has been an eye opening, and educational experience. I have discovered how ridiculously gullible I have been about a wide range of subject matter. This class has taught me to be skeptical, because if you choose to believe everything you hear without question, you will condemn yourself to a life of ineptitude.
In this time of political debate, and world turmoil, it is important that we sharpen our skeptical senses, to question the status quo and discover the truth.