Sagan on Scientific Inquiry

Looking back through my margin notes in Sagan’s The Demon Haunted WorldI found this:

There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths.

He couldn’t say that honestly today.

Indeed, there are many such observations in the book that don’t hold up 25 years later, or even as well as they did a year ago when I first read it. So much so that I question whether they were accurate when he wrote it, or whether his entire stated conception of science was even at that time aspirational rather than descriptive.

He does indeed present an idealized conception of the culture and philosophy and conduct science, what these could and should be. The catch is he’s describing these things as if they already are that way, rather than increasingly diverging from the vision he articulates.