The Burden of Skepticism – Four Levels | Adventures in English Vol II (Two)

skeptismThe Burden of Skepticism
Four Levels | Adventures In English Vol II
Management Notes

Unit : Four (Critical and creative Thinking )
Written By : Carl Edward Sagan (November 9,1934 – December 20,1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences.Sagan always advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

Literal Comprehension:

This is a beautiful essay witten by Carl Sagan. Skepticism is found in every day life. If we have to buy a used car we examining it even if we do not have any ideas about the car. If we buy it without examining, we know that we may have to be sorry for it. In some cases we use skepticism, but in politics and commercials we do not use it. So we cheated a little. But if we do not use it in the case of medicine we have we have to bear a great loss.


The writer through this essay tries to tell us that we must be skeptic only in critical situation. If we start doubting in all the areas then we will gain nothing.If we study the whole history of mankind, we find that they have always accepted some kind of popular belief system. The reason for this is that all human needs are never fulfilled. These unfulfilled needs may be satisfied by these beliefs. It is natural for us to have a desire to take our dead relatives. And we would be happy when we learn that our spirit does not die and our existence will not come to an end forever.

Critical Thinking:

There are many channels who claim that they can contact with the spirit of a person long- long ago. But these spirits do not answer any specific questions and they answer only general and vague (unclear) questions. Their specific answer would have helps us a lot to know about the society of the past.

  • Why does the writer completely neglected the possibility of the existence of spirit /god? Can he prove what he is saying?


Skepticism is dangerous. So it is not taught in school. Skepticism and openness to new ideas are equally necessary for human progress. If we are too open, we will not be in opposition to tell a difference between what is good and what is bad. But, on the other hand, if we are too skeptical, no new ideas will find any place. Scientist forms new ideas in to their minds in the form of hypothesis and examining them closely. If their ideas are proved correct they will be accepted. If they are proved false later on, the scientists will accept that they have made a mistake. But religious and political leaders never accept what is against their principles, however wrong their ideas may be.

Post Your Comment Here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.