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Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Need some inspiration to get fired up about science?

Listen to this episode of Point of Inquiry. It includes an interview with Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s widow, who cowrote Cosmos and Contact. That’s good enough (although the sound quality of her connection is not so good), but what will really get you fired up is the last half of the podcast contains last public address for CSICOP, from its conference in Seattle in 1994. Entitled “Wonder and Skepticism,” Sagan how he became interested in science and astronomy because of his sheer wonder at science and the stars, argues why science is the best way of looking at the world (his part about the predictive value of science compared to pseudoscience and religion, for instance), and discusses looming assaults on science and critical thinking. Twelve years later, his words sound eerily prescient.

I listened to the podcast on my flight to North Carolina, and, after all the depressing talk about declining NIH funding and decreasing success rates of grant applications, it gave my flagging enthusiasm for science a much needed shot in the arm and helped remind me why I do this in the first place. No wonder Sagan is missed.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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