Dr. Carl Sagan on the Dangers of Dogmatism and the Importance of Scientific Skepticism

Today’s world needs Carl Sagan more than ever

Sunny Labh
4 min readMar 16, 2023
Dr Carl Sagan at the Great Peace March in Washington, D.C., 1986. Image credit and source.

“At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes — an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.”

This quote’s from Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World” and it emphasizes the importance of balancing openness to new ideas with ruthless skepticism in scientific inquiry. Dr. Sagan argues that

science is a deeply creative and imaginative enterprise, driven by a willingness to entertain new and even seemingly bizarre ideas.

However, this creativity must be tempered by rigorous skepticism, as all ideas must be subjected to relentless testing, questioning, and analysis to separate truth from falsehood. This delicate balance allows scientists to pursue knowledge in a way that is both creative and disciplined, challenging assumptions and pushing beyond the limits of conventional wisdom to arrive at a more accurate understanding of reality. This balance between openness and skepticism is a fundamental principle of scientific inquiry, which allows us to…

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Sunny Labh

Science writer and communicator majoring in Quantum Mechanics. Curator of @PhysInHistory on twitter. Twitter: @thePiggsBoson