The Demon-haunted World

Science as A Candle in the Dark

Sagan, Carl

Book - 1997
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
The Demon-haunted World
"A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought." *Los Angeles Times "POWERFUL . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing." *The Washington Post Book World How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to the very well-being of our democratic institutions. Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms. "COMPELLING." *USA Today "A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity." *The Sciences "PASSIONATE." *San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1997, c1996
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed
ISBN: 0345409469
Branch Call Number: 001.9 S129d 1997
Characteristics: xviii, 457 p. ;,21 cm


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Oct 24, 2013
  • SEELOCHAN BEHARRY rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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
  • uzebdrumz rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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 13, 2012
  • Mysticara7 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Everyone should read this book!

Aug 02, 2012
  • binational rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

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

Jul 09, 2012
  • Ron@Ottawa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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
  • marzseku rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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

Aug 01, 2011
  • bigshoe rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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

Jul 31, 2011
  • roaddogg09 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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.

Jan 03, 2011
  • bushyyate rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The best single introduction to critical thinking ever.

Mandatory reading for all who want to understand how muddy thinking can cause all forms of havoc.

Nov 18, 2010

I very much enjoy Carl Sagan's works.

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