Broca's Brain Reflections on the Romance of Science

Broca's Brain Reflections on the Romance of Science I've been on a Sagan kick but this was a tough read to get through The book is a little technical but even tedious in sections discussing in depth discoveries of the 1950s and 1960s The best parts of the book reuire a grasping understand of the nature of present day astronomy to compare and contrast with what Sagan thinks will occur Ever the optimist it is a little disappointing to realize that we have not come close to the explorations that Sagan envisioned in the late 1970s Some of his hopes have been achieved and he would have been awed by the discoveries made by the Cassini and Huygens probes making this book bittersweet knowing that he will never have the opportunity to comment on today's discovery A suggestion for future readers would be just to skip the vivisection of Dr Velikovsky unless you want an example of what would happen to the likes of homeopathy or astrology if scientists truly decided to turn their attention to those false disciplines Considering this book was written forty years ago it's a masterpiece In it Carl Sagan covers a range of different topics In one whole chapter which I think is the bulk of this book Sagan makes a critical analysis of Velikovsky's book Worlds in Collision Sometimes the borderline between science and pseudoscience is so thin you have to be a scientist to point it out That being said in most cases we can apply methods and tools of skepticism and critical thinking to come to a sound decision Sagan wisely asserts that skepticism is not denialism or cynicism It's just that you need to ask for sufficient evidence in case of extraordinary claims Miscellaneous writings by Carl Sagan I read it immediately after Cosmos was aired on Doordarshan the national TV channel of India Sagan is a great explainer reading him will automatically engender a love for science A re read after 13 years certainly was worth the effort for at least a few chapters Although a lot of information must be now updated considering this being a 1979 updated edition this book must have been intense at that time An entire section is dedicated to debunking Paradoxers which occupies than a uarter of the book especially on Immanuel Velikovsky's theoriesCertain introductory chapters dealing with Why Science? Albert Einstein and about the lack of public education in science were very nice to readOther chapters that were interesting to read were related to The Solar System and the usage of Nomenclature within it; on life in our Solar System based on their atmospheres; a chapter based on the Surface and Atmosphere of Titan the moon of Saturn; Climates of Earth and Mars; Asteroids and Meteorites; Planetary Exploration; Communication and Transportation Speeds; In defense of Robots and AI; the uest for Extraterrestrial Life; Views on God and Religion our Galaxy and the Universe; and finally a chapter on the usage of psychedelic drugs and its usage to induce Perinatal Memories while relating it to understand the Origins and Nature of Religion and to CosmologyIf only Mr Sagan have had lived today I would have loved to read a revised edition of this book now after nearly four decades of its first publication in 1974 This should be a school textbook The world would be a better place Museums have an inner world that the public never sees In one of these hideaways Carl Sagan was permitted to view the brain of Paul Broca a surgeon who died in 1880 As Dr Sagan looked at the cerebral remains of one of his heroes he had this thought “It was difficult to hold Broca’s brain without wondering whether in some sense Broca was still in there”Sagan wondered at a possible future where technology would allow us to download Broca’s memories And then he wrote something that struck me In considering the opportunity to literally read a mind Sagan posited “It would be the ultimate breach of privacy”I was a bit awed at Sagan’s willingness to troubleshoot the ethics of his own pipedream After all what if we could tap the intelligence of brilliant men and women now deceased? It’s a fascinating thought but also a troubling one I admired Sagan for volunteering the uestionable nature of his own desire for accessThe above is just one of many intriguing reflections offered by Carl Sagan in Broca’s Brain Reflections on the Romance of Science This book is a collection of essays many previously published in magazines With a firm command of both science and humanity Sagan explores a range of issues related to our existence Especially engrossing even haunting are his ruminations on the process of dying Sagan writes with candor about the issues facing our species He does not patronize readers with comfort for comfort’s sake but neither does he gravitate toward sensationalism Sagan’s dialogue style is thoughtful and dignified but with splashes of humor He also throws some pointed jabs at absurd notions that regrettably retain traction in modern society As our world becomes almost wholly dependent on scientific technology works like this will be an essential frame of reference for laypersons The I read Sagan and others the I am convinced that being conversant in science is a matter of civic responsibilityWith some technical exceptions the content of this book is very accessible For those who have already read other works by Carl Sagan I highly recommend it If you have not yet tried Sagan I suggest starting with the novel Contact or getting a hold of his groundbreaking work Cosmos The latter is available on DVD and in book form It took me a lot time than I expected mainly because I kept checking for update information about most of the interesting topics I still love Carl Sagan's writing though I read most of Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain Reflections on the Romance of Science while I was in Guatemala in January I had never read any of Sagan's work before and rather like well written popularizations of science Some of the chapters were however well beyond my own knowledge; but I soldiered through them i'm amazed that i was able to understand three uarters of this book with little or no help at all from any outside source there were times when i had to use the dictionary or find someone on the internet who can explain physics to a near idiot in the domain; even so i can give myself a pat on the back for this one of course sagan writes for the masses and this here is not real science but like an introduction to it a taste even if it's a really small one for an expert for someone like me who struggles to understand the terms and imagine the actions it's a step forward but i am so passionate about this subject i love learning about the outer space and if physics is a part of it then so be it there are few things out there that i consider to be worthy of attention than the mechanics of our universe and i'm sure that throughout the years i'll be able to understand even Pre ISBNCarl Sagan writer and scientist returns from the frontier to tell us about how the world works In his delightfully down to earth style he explores and explains a mind boggling future of intelligent robots extraterrestrial life and its consuences and other provocative fascinating uandries of the future that we want to see today


About the Author: Carl Sagan

Ann Druyan he was co producer of the popular motion picture Contact which featured a feminist atheist protagonist played by


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