You will need to have read the “Sagan and Hawking” reading, available on Blackboard under the Readings/Videos tab. After you have completed the reading, answer the following questions. Label your answers so I know which questions you are responding to.

Part 1: Sagan

  1. What is Sagan’s argument or claim in “The Pale Blue Dot” excerpt?
  2. What is the significance of the phrase “pale blue dot”? Why might Sagan describe the Earth this way?
  3. What is Sagan asking us to consider in this excerpt? Why should we consider what he has to say?
  4. Sagan was an astronomer, and this excerpt, ultimately, deals with astronomy. How does Sagan’s “subject position” as an astronomer influence this piece?
  5. What caught your attention in the Sagan excerpt?

Part 2: Hawking 


    1. What scientific concepts does Hawking mention in this piece? Choose at least two of these concepts. Briefly explain them and discuss how knowing what they are makes a difference in understanding Hawking’s essay.
    2. What questions does Hawking ask in this essay? Are these questions “appropriate” for a scientist to ask? Explain.
    3. What is Hawking’s main claim in this article?
    4. What is the relationship between science and philosophy according to Hawking? Is there room for philosophy in science? For science in philosophy? Where does language fit in? (Consider Postman and Goldbort here, too.)
    5. How would we “come to know the mind of God” according to Hawking? Why might it matter that we do come to know this?

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