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Carl Sagan Rhetorical Analysis

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The Truth Behind the Rhetoric of Carl Sagan One of the largest debates known to modern man is that between creationists and evolutionists. Is human existence evidence of a divine power? Did humankind reach its current state on the reliance of genetic mistakes? Is it of any concern to know one way or another? In his insightful essay, “Do we care what’s true? Does it matter?,” Carl Sagan beautifully and respectfully asserts the importance of favoring science over pseudoscience, and makes clear his argument as to why not the other way around. Sagan believes in the rhetorical connection between author and audience, which is why he maintains understanding throughout the essay. Sagan’s compassionate tone informs his polite authority, which in turn…show more content…
It is after two paragraphs exploring notions of man’s cosmic connection that Sagan asserts his first claim in the essay, “plainly there is no way back… we are stuck with science” (1). The compassionate tone persists even in assertions, as seen through the use of first person. More compassionate is the gentle acknowledgement of the pseudoscience appeal. “Yes, the world would be a more interesting place if there were UFOs lurking in the deep waters off Bermuda… or if our dreams could, more often than can be explained by chance and our knowledge of the world, accurately foretell the future” (1). This series of sentences ends the introduction. There is no rebuttal, or defense as to why science is more worthwhile. Sagan plainly acknowledges the appeal to pseudosciences, thereby strengthening the rhetorical bond between author and audience. Furthermore, the lack of a rebuttal somewhat puzzles the reader, and places an emphasis on the following text. The fourth paragraph returns the reader back to a shared appreciation for the cosmos, “the cumulative worldwide buildup of knowledge over time converts science into something only a little short of a transnational, transgenerational metamind” (2). Later on in that section, Sagan discusses the roots of our excitement for scientific
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