The Demon-haunted World

The Demon-haunted World

Science as A Candle in the Dark

Book - 1997
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"Are we on the brink of a new Dark Age of irrationality and superstition? In this stirring, brilliantly argued book, internationally respected scientist Carl Sagan shows how scientific thinking is necessary to safeguard our democratic institutions and our technical civilization." "The Demon-Haunted World is more personal and richer in moving and revealing human stories than anything Sagan has previously written. With illustrations from his own childhood experience as well as engrossing tales of discovery, Sagan shows how the method of scientific thought can cut through prejudice and hysteria to uncover the often surprising truth." "He convincingly debunks "alien abduction," "channelers," faith-healer fraud, the "face" on Mars, and much else. Along the way, he refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality or is just another arbitrary belief system, asks why scientific study is often stigmatized, discusses the dangers of the misuse of science, and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political, social, religious, and other issues."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1997
Edition: First Ballantine Books edition
ISBN: 9780345409461
Branch Call Number: 001.9 Sa
Description: xviii, 457 pages ; 21 cm


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Aug 24, 2019

Written nearly 25 years ago, so I find it rather dated . Science has not proven to be infallible, as he assumes. Also, I have not the same degree of skepticism as he does!

Sep 15, 2015

I read The Demon-Haunted World back in high school when I was on a Carl Sagan kick after seeing his 13-part Cosmos series (the original one, on VHS tape). It would be several more years before I would reform my own critical thinking skills into what they resemble today, but I have no doubt that this book planted a seed.

Mar 30, 2015

Overall a pretty good over view of reasons to try to incorporate a skeptical outlook into your life. It felt a bit dated with the amount of time devoted to alien encounters (which seem to have fallen off a cliff with wide spread cell phones with cameras). He also seems a bit naive on the purpose of the education system. Our system is meant to teach conformity and respect for authority more than it is to actually learn how to think. I do give him much respect for his acknowledgement that some conspiracies are real (see the quote). Too often skeptics dismiss all conspiracies when some are real.

Oct 24, 2013

This is simply a brilliant piece of work. The range of areas covered is extremely wide. It is rather remarkable that a scientist would be so conversant with such diverse fields of knowledge so extensively. It is amazing that he was able to put all this together to produce such a comprehensive but extremely readable piece of work. Enjoyed reading this work - "The Demon- Haunted World." Seelochan Beharry

Oct 20, 2012

Sagan questions & reveals the differences between pseudo-science & real science, based on facts, evidence, & repeatable experiment. He demonstrates the progress that fact-based science offers while also revealing it's dangers such as nuclear weaponry. The conclusions are stark and reflect his fears that the unquestioned claims of pseudoscience from astrology to creationism will allow anyone to believe what they want to believe with no facts or evidence to support their beliefs - that is not a sound or valid philosophy for gaining real knowledge.

Aug 02, 2012

Not one of his best. Disappointing for a Sagan admirer.

Jul 09, 2012

The combination of a great, sharp mind and good writing skill makes any works by Carl Sagan a pleasure to read. I wish he had lived longer. The world will be a more 'enlightened' world if there are more thinkers like him.

Aug 27, 2011

one of the most influential person in our century a great man and a great book

bigshoe Aug 01, 2011

A great book by a great man. A must read for any thinking person

roaddogg09 Jul 31, 2011

I've been meaning to pick this up for years. Nothing but good things have been said about it. I absolutely loved it and think every person should read it.

Sagan advocates critical thinking and skepticism. With great insight and humor, Sagan shows us how people are duped into accepting dubious claims, and how everything comes down to evidence. If the evidence does not support a claim, why believe it?

The first part of the book deals with science and why we are supposed to questions all beliefs and ask for evidence. The second part deals with particular claims and why they do not warrant our acceptance of their truth. The end of the book deals with stereotypes, the wonders that science brings to light, and why science is a candle in the dark.

"The Demon-Haunted World" is an invaluable tool for the modern citizen.

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Nov 03, 2018

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

Nov 03, 2018

Keeping an open mind is a virtue - but, as the space engineer James Oberg once said, not so open that your brains fall out. Of course we must be willing to change our minds when warranted by new evidence. But the evidence must be strong.

Page 187

Mar 30, 2015

"As government deceit and conspiracies of silence have been exposed in so many other matters, it is hard to argue a cover up on this odd issue is impossible, that the government would never hide information from its subjects". -Carl Sagan in "Demon Haunted World" pg 144 ebook


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