More Carl Sagan Wisdom

If you’re only sceptical, then no new ideas make it through to you.

You never learn anything.

You become a crotchety misanthrope convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.)

Since major discoveries in the borderlines of science are rare, experience will tend to confirm your grumpiness. But every now and then a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful.

If you’re too resolutely and uncompromisingly sceptical, you’re going to miss (or resent) the transforming discoveries in science, and either way you will be obstructing understanding and progress. Mere scepticism is not enough.

At the same time, science requires the most vigorous and uncompromising scepticism, because the vast majority of ideas are simply wrong, and the only way to winnow the wheat from the chaff is by critical experiment and analysis.

If you’re open to the point of gullibility and have not a microgram of sceptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the promising ideas from the worthless ones. Uncritically accepting every proffered notion, idea and hypothesis is tantamount to knowing nothing.

Ideas contradict one another; only through sceptical scrutiny can we decide among them.

Some ideas really are better than others.

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About bensagan

Co-founder of the West Cumbrian Skeptics

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