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

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Ballantine Books, 1997 - Science - 457 pages
2024 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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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

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

User Review  - Nathan Reinauer - Goodreads

Absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in science and/or skepticism. Fascinating and inspiring. Read full review

Contents

Science and Hope
23
The Man in the Moon and the Face on Mars
41
Aliens
61
Spoofing and Secrecy
79
Hallucinations
97
The DemonHaunted World
100
On the Distinction Between True and False Visions
135
Therapy
151
When Scientists Know Sin
281
The Marriage of Skepticism and Wonder
293
The Wind Makes Dust
311
No Such Thing as a Dumb Question
319
House on Fire
337
The Path to Freedom
353
Significance Junkies
367
Maxwell and the Nerds
379

The Dragon in My Garage
169
The City of Grief
189
The Fine Art of Baloney Detection
201
Obsessed with Reality
219
Antiscience
245
Newtons Sleep
265
Science and Witchcraft
401
Real Patriots Ask Questions
421
Acknowledgments
435
Index
449
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Carl Sagan served as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo spacecraft expeditions, for which he received the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service.
 
His Emmy- and Peabody-winning television series, Cosmos, became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The accompanying book, also called Cosmos, is one of the bestselling science books ever published in the English language. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize, the Oersted Medal, and many other awards--including twenty honorary degrees from American colleges and universities--for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his "research transformed planetary science . . . his gifts to mankind were infinite." Dr. Sagan died on December 20, 1996.

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