Carl Sagan, in his literature, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, provides that there is a need by the society to practice critical or skeptical thinking towards issues. This according to the author would enable individuals to differentiate between ideas that are valid in science and those which are simply pseudoscience. Hence, when new claims or ideas are brought forth, they should be subject to rigorous questioning and testing through skeptical thinking.
Skepticism is defined as an attitude developed towards known ideas, knowledge, beliefs and opinions that are termed as facts. The author uses a philosophical approach to provide that facts, and material ones, should be provided with adequate evidence to illustrate their authenticity. However, due to the need for evidence to authenticate claims, new evidence towards known facts could overrule such facts as mere assumptions. Hence, evidence on new facts could overrule claims and facts about an issue (Sagan 23).
Thus, it is easily inferable that skepticism is a means of terming facts as material based on evidence. According to the author, “Science arouses a soaring sense of wonder. But so does pseudoscience” (Sagan 9). He provides that the presence of pseudoscience is as a result of the lack of knowledge that facts should be provided and supported by evidence. The author defines this as the heart of science that claims of knowledge require adequate knowledge for support. The author uses science as the only means of explaining events and existence of elements.
Pseudoscience, on the other hand, is a claim that is based on reason and is classified as a means of providing facts and knowledge based on norms. It is termed as an insufficient means of providing facts because of the lack of plausibility and support in terms of evidence. The author provides that pseudoscience is vague and contradictory because of its support of unproven claims. The author also claims that the irrelevance of pseudoscience is due to its need to affirm and confirm facts rather than refute such claims as science does. In essence, this form of facts is contradictory in that, it is inclined to one side rather than to openness.
I disagree with the author’s view that pseudoscience is inadequate and inappropriate in the society. This is because some claims and facts in society are beyond scientific explanations. In essence science seeks to explain everything based on evidence rather than rationality. For instance, religion is impossible to explain on the grounds of science. This is because religion is formed based on the use of rationality. People believe in the presence of a supernatural being, not because of sighting of such a being but because of belief (Sagan 25).
Hence, the author seems to nullify claims on religion and spirituality. Science aims at explaining events and occurrences based on the presence of evidence. Science is a means of providing claims based on the physical nature of facts and knowledge. Hence, it bases facts on the physicality of evidence. Claims assumed in pseudoscience such as spiritual events, religion and revelation, are highly refuted in science, yet a substantial number of the world’s population believe in one or another religion or a supernatural aspect. Hence, the author, in his view that pseudoscience does not have a place in the modern world, assumes an inadequate and inappropriate view.
This is because science seeks to provide an explanation for natural phenomena without consideration of other aspects such as pseudoscience. In addition, the author claims that Pseudoscience is a mere means of affirming to facts and knowledge without openness. Science lacks openness since it fails to acknowledge the possibilities of occurrences such as natural events, religious beliefs and cultural beliefs. Hence, science fails to accommodate pseudoscience as a means of attaining evidence and providing confirmation of facts and knowledge in society (Sagan 37).
Pseudoscience beliefs are assumed by a large part of society in aspects such as cultural and religious beliefs. For instance, the belief in a supernatural being is impossible to provide or disapprove in either the field of science or pseudoscience. On the other hand, pseudoscience uses norms as means of verification of facts. Furthermore, philosophers claim that the differentiation between science and pseudoscience results in undesirable effects. This is because of the aspects of evolution and alteration of facts as a result of new evidence.
Hence, it is inferable that science is also reliant on pseudoscience because claims are based on mere assumptions that the presumed evidence supports such claims. This is because science is evolving and new facts are brought about by new evidence. However, pseudoscience has been based on norms which have been consistent over long periods such as evidenced in religion and cultural beliefs and practices.
In addition, pseudoscience could be termed as a means of humans to express their emotions and belief in the presence of superiority in the belief in a supernatural being. This is an express illustration that society is based on pseudoscience and science. It is also evident that the two are inseparable as both have individual relevance in out society (Sagan 67).
Conclusively, pseudoscience has been a part of human societies. This is because it provides the human race with the ability to express their emotions in beliefs for which science is unable to provide evidence. Such include spiritual beliefs, religious and cultural beliefs that give definition to individual human communities or societies. Moreover, the society is unable to provide evidence of numerous aspects. Science seeks to provide evidence based on the physical aspects facts and knowledge. It does not provide an explanation for spiritual events and occurrences in society. Hence pseudoscience provides evidence for such beliefs and norms in society.
Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark. New York: Random House, 1996. Print.