The demon-haunted world: science as a candle in the dark

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Ballantine Books, 1996 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 457 pages
2064 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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Reviewed Aug - Sept 2001
The must read book 0voted in the Top 20 skeptic books, Sagan writes to be read by many. Many chapters are essays of their own only linked together for the book. Bits tell
Sagan's own story, all are from his experiences. He tells us about his parents and how they taught him to love science even through they new nothing about it themselves. He has broken the book down into in the Moon, Face on Mars, Aliens, Therapy, Visions, Witchcraft in medieval times and modern, hallucinations, scientists and nerds as well as several chapters telling us why science is exciting and how to get others to think critically.
Four chapters are more political and written with wife Ann Druyan. I loved the chapter with the dragon in the garage and found his stories about witchcraft very creepy. Not lunch time reading material.
Tons of quotable material lies between pages, this is surly a great reference book for us all.

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

User Review  - Azura Victoria - Goodreads

Never did I expect a scientific non-fiction book to be so well crafted and easy to read. Carl Sagan is perhaps my favourite author of all time. On finishing this book I was inspired with a whole new ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

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.