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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Paperback – February 25, 1997
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“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
“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
From the Inside Flap
ious 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, di
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Because it was written more than 20 years ago, the book has lost some of the power it had in the mid-90s. Sagan never mentions the internet or social networks. The rise of Islamic terrorism is still a thing of the future. Though apposite in the mid-90s, some of his examples are less relevant today. This is the only reason I can't give this book 5-stars.
He avoids name-calling and strident rhetoric. He focuses more on pseudo-science rather than religion. The book is largely apolitical but the concluding two chapters are, he acknowledges, intentionally more political than the rest of the book. And these last two chapters are just as pertinent today as they were 20 years ago. (In fact, they have a prescient quality to them.) I highly recommend you read them.
Sagan would be 82 were he still alive. It's a pity he's not around to provide commentary. Recommended.
A little preachy in places, and told in a folksy voice so it can take its time getting to the point in places, but the lessons the essays teach are worth reading if only to illuminate the way scientists think.
And it shows people why "it's only a theory" is a crock of something unpleasant, a linguistic trick, used mendaciously in most cases and parroted back by those who could genuinely benefit from reading this book.
Everyone should be taught the lessons in this book on how to approach life's questions. Then they could form their own opinions from an informed perspective without the help of demagogues on either side.
I have both the text and the audiobook. If you are getting the audiobook through Audible, Cary Elwes narration is fantastic.
The way he approaches each topic is funny and graceful, like a very knowledgeable (and not-at-all patronizing) dinner guest presenting both sides of a casual conversation on topics like UFOs, religion, and the myth of atlantis... Plus, homeboy is in some serious LOVE with science. This is the The Notebook of science nonfiction, where Ally is science and Noah is Sagan (I WROTE YOU EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR. IF YOURE A BIRD IM A BIRD.)
BUY IT I PROMISE YOU'LL LIKE IT
This is a book of his thoughts on science, his life, the world, and many, many aspects of it. A fascinating read. I highly recommend it.
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Actually a must read for everyone.