Carl Sagan November 9, —December 20, was many things — a cosmic sage , voracious reader , hopeless romantic , and brilliant philosopher. The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, acceptance. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation. Sagan shares nine of these tools:.
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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is a book by the astrophysicist Carl Sagan , in which the author aims to explain the scientific method to laypeople , and to encourage people to learn critical and skeptical thinking.
He explains methods to help distinguish between ideas that are considered valid science and those that can be considered pseudoscience. Sagan states that when new ideas are offered for consideration, they should be tested by means of skeptical thinking and should stand up to rigorous questioning. Sagan explains that science is not just a body of knowledge but is a way of thinking.
Sagan shows how scientific thinking is both imaginative and disciplined, bringing humans to an understanding of how the universe is, rather than how they wish to perceive it.
He says that science works much better than any other system because it has a "built-in error-correcting machine". Skeptical thinking allows people to construct , understand , reason , and recognize valid and invalid arguments. Wherever possible, there must be independent validation of the concepts whose truth should be proved.
He states that reason and logic would succeed once the truth were known. Conclusions emerge from premises , and the acceptability of the premises should not be discounted or accepted because of bias. As an example of skeptical thinking, Sagan offers a story concerning a fire-breathing dragon that lives in his garage. When he persuades a rational, open-minded visitor to meet the dragon, the visitor remarks that they are unable to see the creature.
Sagan replies that he "neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon". The visitor suggests spreading flour on the floor so that the creature's footprints might be seen, which Sagan says is a good idea, "but this dragon floats in the air". When the visitor considers using an infra-red camera to view the creature's invisible fire , Sagan explains that the fire is heatless. He continues to counter every proposed physical test with a reason why the test will not work.
Sagan concludes by asking: "Now what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Sagan presents a set of tools for skeptical thinking which he calls the "baloney detection kit".
In order to identify a fallacious argument , Sagan suggests employing such tools as independent confirmation of facts, debate, development of different hypotheses, quantification, the use of Occam's razor , and the possibility of falsification. Sagan's "baloney detection kit" also provides tools for detecting "the most common fallacies of logic and rhetoric", such as argument from authority and statistics of small numbers.
Through these tools, Sagan argues the benefits of a critical mind and the self-correcting nature of science can take place.
Sagan provides a skeptical analysis of several examples of what he refers to as superstition , fraud , and pseudoscience such as witches , UFOs , ESP , and faith healing.
He is critical of organized religion. In a interview for Skeptical Inquirer , when Sagan's wife Ann Druyan was asked about the origin of the phrase "baloney detection kit", she said that.
It actually came from a friend of mine named Arthur Felberbaum who died about forty years ago. He and Carl and I once sat down for dinner together. His politics were very left wing, so Carl and Arthur and I were trying to find common ground so that we could have a really good dinner together. Sagan indicates that science can be misused. Thus, he is highly critical of Edward Teller , the "father of the hydrogen bomb ", and Teller's influence on politics, and contrasts his stance to that of Linus Pauling and other scientists who took moral positions.
The book was a New York Times bestseller  and is considered to be a very important book by the contemporary skeptical movement. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Book on the scientific method by Carl Sagan. Dewey Decimal. See also: Falsifiability. This section needs expansion.
You can help by adding to it. August Ballantine Books. Random House. Archived from the original on 1 April Retrieved 17 April The New York Times. Retrieved 17 February The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. New England Skeptical Society.
Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism. Retrieved 17 February — via YouTube. Carl Sagan. Contact Book Category. Categories : non-fiction books American non-fiction books Books critical of religion English-language books Random House books Science books Scientific skepticism mass media Works by Carl Sagan. Hidden categories: Articles with short description All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from July Articles to be expanded from August All articles to be expanded Articles using small message boxes.
Print Hardcover and Paperback. Pale Blue Dot. Billions and Billions.
Lie-proof your life with Carl Sagan’s “baloney detection” checklist
In the essay, he gives advice for devising conclusions, as well as advice for avoiding rhetorical and logical fallacies. Together, the set of warning signs for common fallacies constitutes what Sagan very politely calls a "Baloney Detection Kit". Sagan categorizes the logical and rhetorical fallacies as below. Here is given the type of fallacy, a definition of each, and an example from the current internet. Sagan makes a few suggestions about the "tools" a skeptic should keep ready in their Baloney Detection Kit. These are not merely measures to identify bad arguments, but constructive ideas about how to come up with better alternatives:. Jump to: navigation , search.
Facts exist as stubbornly as they did before. Levitin does. Or you can call them what the late astronomer Carl Sagan might have: baloney. These are all cases of proved or presumptive baloney. A deception arises, sometimes innocently but collaboratively, sometimes with cynical premeditation.
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