1. In the opening pages of this chapter, Dr. Sagan explains how science is not merely a matter of what to learn, but rather, it is a methodology of how to learn. What does he mean by this? What are the basic principles of this “method”? Are they equally as relevant in a field such as management as they are in the in a field such as chemstiry? Why or why not?
2. In this chapter, Dr. Sagan describes, in a famous quote, how “We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements…depend on secience and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology.” Why do you think Dr. Sagan is concerned about this? Can you think of any examples of this dynamic in play in your life today? Do you think this problem has gotten better or worse in the ~20 years since Dr. Sagan wrote this book? Explain.
3. Dr. Sagan describes that many of the problems that we face today—in business and in every other field—are often caused “…not so much by stupidity as by ignorance…”. What is the difference between these two terms? Why do you think Dr. Sagan places the blame on ignorance and not stupidity?
4. This is the first chapter where Dr. Sagan begins to introduce us to the importance of humility. Dr. Sagan describes the “error-correcting machinery” that science inherently wields. What does he mean by this? In the same section, he describes how “error bars” are a critical part of any scientific undertaking. What are error bars? How do they represent a position of humility with respect to the work with which they are connected? Do psuedosciences utilize error bars?
5. Dr. Sagan quotes Michael Farday in this chapter, in his musings on a concept known as confirmation bias (we will talk about this more later on in the semester). Do you agree with quote concerning the way that people typically behave? Why do you think we are prone to this sort of discourse? Do you think there is a connection between ego and/or security and our disinclination to admit when we’re wrong?
1. In Chapter 1, Dr. Sagan introduces us to some of the lines between religion and pseudoscience. Dr. Sagan presents a concept known as the God of the Gaps Theory. What is the God of the Gaps Theory and what evidence would support it throughout human history? (Note that answering this question does not require that you subscribe to the God of the Gaps Theory. Rather, it only requires you to demonstrate that you understand it).
God of the Gaps is that people want to put the existence of God forward by current unexplained scientific explanation. In other words, it means people try to fill prematurely the empty gap in our knowledge by God. It is easy logical error to mistake while overzealous theists are developing discussion with limited knowledge of science.
2. In this chapter, Dr. Sagan presents a quote from Edmund Way Teale concerning the moral implications???? of indifference??? toward the distinction ?? between truth and fiction. Do you agree with the idea of the quote? Why or why not?
I agree with the idea of the quote. For example, if we know that the government is incompetent and corrupted, we are discouraged and disappointed. But, some people do not care and even do not know about that like it is not my business. But that does not mean being unaware the fact is not necessarily better. Being aware and unaware is very different in our society.
3. Dr. Sagan makes a very important distinction in this chapter between erroneous science and pseudoscience. What are the unique characteristics of pseudoscience that distinguish it from erroneous science (Hint: they are also the reasons why pseudoscience is so worrysome a threat to human reasoning.)
Erroneous science is that science improves and develops from errors. But, pseudo science is imprecise, exaggerated, and unverifiable. It also depends on confirmation instead of rebuttal.
4. Dr. Sagan shares with us the breadth? ?? with which pseudoscience has pervaded ????modern society. To emphasize his point, he shares an example of a US president’s reliance?? ?? on entirely unproven?????? superstitious???? practices to guide in his decision making. Who was the president and what was his vice?? ???? Does this scare you? Why or why not?
If the president depends on unproven superstitious practices, his decision is a lack of accuracy and get lost way what the country want to go forward. The citizens feel anxiety and distrust their president.
5. Dr. Sagan uses this chapter to express the gravity?? of the danger that arises??? ???? in a society that cannot—or will not—distinguish???? fact from fiction. But how does this apply to the business world? What do you think some of the dangers might be if leaders managed companies based on instructions from a “Magic 8? ball, or by flipping a “lucky” coin. Are these examples any less credible??? ?? than some othe others that Sagan discusses in the chapter?
In the business world, the leader makes his or her own understandable and reasonable decision. But, it is dangerous that a leader depend on superstition or pseudoscience for the company’s future. Depending on the superstition or pseudoscience is like a gambling. If a leader’s decision from the gambling, the company can develop forward.
1. In this Chapter, Dr. Sagan shares with us some responses from students about the state of American education described in the preceding chapter. Were the responses a surprise to you? Why or why not?
2. Then, Dr. Sagan shares with us a sampling of some parent opinions and commentary. What (if anything) surprised you about the parental perspectives on this issue? Why?
3. Dr. Sagan alludes to the “coolness” of learning in the preceding chapter, and now we hear from students and parents directly on the issue of how peer pressure and social expectations can make learning “uncool”. What do you think? Did you see a pressure not to be “a nerd” when you were going through grade school? How about now? What do you think causes this? How do we fix it?
4. One of the points that Dr. Sagan makes in this Chapter is the fact that retention in our public schooling is very low. Think back to what your learned in grade school. How much do you remember? How much do you think you have forgotten? In spite of this, Dr. Sagan shares some examples of extremely effective learning models and exercises. What is the common theme? How do we inspire the desire to learn and promote learning retention?
5. Although we can all agree that the education system in America could/should be better than it is, obviously there are a lot of different opinions on what (specifically) is wrong, and how (specifically) we go about correcting it. This is an issue that leaders in business and hospitality face all of the time. How can leaders most effectively address these challenges? Hint: Think about the Sciencenter story. What was special there? How did it end up becoming such a big success? What were the key factors in play?