Science Is a Process, Not a Fixed Body of Truths

(p. 14) Both writers exemplify the humanity of science: Seager and Johnson laugh, grieve, hope, fail, try, fail and try again. “We started from almost nothing,” Johnson writes about Mars, though she could be talking about pretty much every human endeavor. “We’ve gone careening down blind alleys and taken countless wrong turns, yet somehow, miraculously, the passion, ingenuity and persistence we have brought to the enterprise have moved us toward a truer understanding of another world.”

Why keep searching for life elsewhere when we sometimes seem to have a hard time appreciating it in our own backyard? What does it say about us?

“It says we’re curious,” Seager writes. “It says we’re hopeful. It says we’re capable of wonder and wonderful things.”

For the full review, see:

Anthony Doerr. “Galaxies Far, Far Away.” The New York Times Book Review (Saturday, September 6, 2020): 14.

(Note: ellipses added. In both the print and online versions, “WSJ” and “Mr. Mackey” are bolded, as are the questions asked by Jaewon Kang. The bolding is not visible in the theme used for this blog.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date Aug. [sic] 18, 2020, and has the title “These Books Transport You to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.”)

The two books under review are:

Johnson, Sarah Stewart. The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World. New York: Crown, 2020.

Seager, Sara. The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir. New York: Crown, 2020.

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