Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Jul 6, 2011 - Science - 480 pages
795 Reviews
"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
  

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A wonderful introduction to skepticism. - Goodreads
a bit preachy, but Sagan is a good writer. - Goodreads
The prose is conversational too. - Goodreads
Do your own research! - Goodreads
An introduction to critical thinking. - Goodreads
I really enjoy his style of writing. - Goodreads

Review: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

User Review  - Brian - Goodreads

Series of short essays about a scientific approach to various phenomena. Clear and cogent, but I didn't come away with much, although the manual for detecting witches was shocking. Spoiler alert: you're going down Broom Hilda. Your innocence confirms your trickery. Read full review

Review: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

User Review  - Winston O'Toole - Goodreads

Carl Sagan offers very accessible and instructive arguments for how and why to think rationally. Personally, I did not enjoy this as much as his other novels, as it covers a lot of ground I was ... Read full review

All 5 reviews »

Contents

My Teachers xi
1
The Dragon in My Garage
169
The City of Grief
189
I2 The Fine An of Baloney Detection 201
Z-19
I4 Antiscience 245
Z-45
I5 Newtons Sleep 265
Z-65
The Marriage of Skepticism and Wonder 293
Z-93
I8 The Wind Makes Dust
307
Z0 House on Fire
337
Z1 The Path to F reedom
353
ZZ Significance Iunkies
373
Maxwell andithe Nerds
379
Z4 Science and Witchcraft
401
Z5 Real Patriots Ask Questions
421
Acknowledgments
435
Index
449

No Such Thing as a Dumb Question
323

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About the author (2011)

A respected planetary scientist best known outside the field for his popularizations of astronomy, Carl Sagan was born in New York City on November 9, 1934. He attended the University of Chicago, where he received a B.A. in 1954, a B.S. in 1955, and a M.S. in 1956 in physics as well as a Ph.D. in 1960 in astronomy and astrophysics. He has several early scholarly achievements including the experimental demonstration of the synthesis of the energy-carrying molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in primitive-earth experiments. Another was the proposal that the greenhouse effect explained the high temperature of the surface of Venus. He was also one of the driving forces behind the mission of the U.S. satellite Viking to the surface of Mars. He was part of a team that investigated the effects of nuclear war on the earth's climate - the "nuclear winter" scenario. Sagan's role in developing the "Cosmos" series, one of the most successful series of any kind to be broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System, and his book The Dragons of Eden (1977) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978. He also wrote the novel Contact, which was made into a movie starring Jodie Foster. He died from pneumonia on December 20, 1996.

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