Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World as Social Commentary Essay

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Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World as Social Commentary

Carl Sagan sums up his view of the basic flaw of man in one phrase: "history reveals that we humans have a sad tendency to make the same mistakes again and again" (Sagan 424). Humans today have an understanding of the world around them that is vastly superior to that of their ancestors. In spite of this, a growing number of people perpetually fail to scrutinize to the degree necessary for the evolution of the self. According to Sagan, failure to think scientifically seems to be the reason why most people get caught up in investing all their faith in as-yet-unproved phenomena such as UFOs and even religion. By investigating globally relevant topics like these, Sagan
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It may seem that Sagan is unwilling to accept the possibility of extraterrestrial life. On the contrary, as an astronomer with a vast, working knowledge of the universe, Sagan says he would find it astonishing if there weren't extraterrestrial intelligence (Sagan 180). But he, and everyone else, needs proof.

According to the author, the trend with UFOlogists appears to indicate that the desire to believe supersedes the inclination to question. The same holds true with many religions, says Sagan. While Judaism states the Universe is less than 6,000 years old and the literal word of both the Bible and the Qu'ran insists the Earth must be flat, evolution, the central finding of modern biology, clashes with these organized ideologies and is, therefore, disavowed by some people (Sagan 325). Although what Sagan terms the "God hypothesis" has not yet been scientifically proved or disproved, various features of the texts which upon which millions of people base the foundation of their theological beliefs have been disproved. Sagan observes that scientific reasoning suggests that theists recognize the flaws in their religions in order to improve upon them. However such acknowledgments would break down the basic precepts of faith. The deep-seated, personal need to believe in a higher power overwhelms the quest for the "instant gratification of knowledge" (Sagan 325).

Sagan provides some startling figures which

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