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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle…
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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (original 1995; edition 1997)

by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan

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5,208761,274 (4.27)93
Member:leandrosansilva
Title:The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Authors:Carl Sagan
Other authors:Ann Druyan
Info:Ballantine Books (1997), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan (1995)

  1. 20
    Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Carl Sagan references this book several times in "Demon-Haunted World"; its full title is "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds", and it was authored by Charles Mackay in 1841.
  2. 00
    The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs: fundamentalism and the fear of truth by Solomon Schimmel (bertilak)
  3. 00
    A History of the Warfare of Science With Theology in Christendom by Andrew Dickson White (myshelves)
  4. 00
    Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End . . . by Philip Ph.D. Plait (foxjwill)
  5. 00
    The Mask of Nostradamus: The Prophecies of the World's Most Famous Seer by James Randi (sgerbic)
    sgerbic: This book may help you understand how/why people can continue to believe in seerers like Nostradamus even when faced with the facts.
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» See also 93 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Sagan is an inspiration. There were parts of this book that soared. I loved it! ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
An essential course in critical thinking that should be on every bookshelf, and taught in schools. ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
My dad has recommended many books over the years, but this one has to be the most timely - and it was written twenty years ago! I suppose that means reason is timeless. Carl Sagan questions why humanity is so enamored with pseudo-science and the paranormal as opposed to, you know, the truth.

Sagan's writing is warm and funny in a dry way. I liked that here is a guy who would genuinely love to accept the existence of extraterrestrial life and life after death, but needs to see the evidence. His disappointment is touching. Sagan scrutinizes ghosts, witchcraft, alien abductions, Atlantis, telepathy, and other phenomena and runs through the evidence. The evidence just isn't there. Sagan examines why people ignore the genuine discoveries of science for tabloid stories and fantastic claims with nothing backing them up. They are also more widely disseminated. Sagan was convinced that more people are aware of the theory that aliens have been "diddling" us for centuries than the mapping of the human genome. Too much credulity leaves us open to superstition, and we've all seen the results of that.

The book can be a little dry, but its refreshing reading and I would like to see an updated edition come out. ( )
2 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 19, 2019 |
For someone that was a strong advocate of scientific integrity and consistently slammed superstitious beliefs and blind faith, Sagan still believed in extra-terrestrials his entire life (unseen entities in the sky). He held this belief strong enough that he got NASA to send a gold record on Voyager to commune with ET (his god) and even had the SETI institute named after him. His understanding of proper scientific methodology is impeccable but his lack of self-awareness regarding his own religious instincts contained in his UFO sky-god fantasies makes him look like a bit of a crack pot from a purely scientific standpoint. Surprisingly, this book has good advice on thinking scientifically and critically particularly Sagan's "Baloney detector" which I just used to call baloney on his ET god. ( )
  Chickenman | Sep 12, 2018 |
Honestly, I'm embarrassed to admit that I bailed on this about two thirds of the way through. Normally I love Sagan and I was thrilled to find this book on sale at Audible because I'd been wanting to read it, but listening to it was -- through no fault of the narrator, Cary Elwes -- like riding a merry-go-round. After the first chapters it was all territory he'd covered. The redundancy of his argument became tedious; every chapter had the same message: Science is the most reliable way of understanding the world. Pseudo-science is foolishness. And yet Sagan drew this out into nearly 500 pages. If he'd done a book half that size it would have been a trim, compelling argument. He could have done it in an essay!

Each chapter holds some kind of pseudo-science up for inspection and finds it wanting. Sagan spends a good deal of time with UFO-ology, as we might expect, and much of it is taken up with accounts of abductions, discussions about sleep paralysis and dreams. Sagan belabors his points. His quotes from pseudo-science proponents seem endless, and his argument is always the same: These things aren't provable. Science is the most reliable way of knowing. The chapters also often seem poorly thought out and rambling, as if no one had edited the work and said, "Carl, you need to stick to your point in this chapter."

In fairness, Sagan is surprisingly respectful of the things that motivate people to believe in the unprovable. He makes the point a number of times that science and religion could be effective partners in bringing people to a greater understanding of our universe. He understands that the desire to hang on to the people we love drives belief in gods and the afterlife. His account of waking to hear his dead father calling to him made me weep because that happens to me as well, and it's not only heartbreaking, but it makes understandable the wholly emotional desire to believe that there's more to it than a hallucination.

I was disappointed to have quit before the end, but it seemed to me that by chapter 18 I was wasting my time. I know that pseudo-science, the occult, and the paranormal are not reliable disciplines. I know that the scientific method is the best way we have to understand our world. I didn't need to be told as much over and over for 400+ pages. ( )
1 vote Tracy_Rowan | Dec 6, 2017 |
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To Tonio, my grandson. I wish you a world free of demons and full of light.
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As I got off the plane, he was waiting for me, holding up a scrap of cardboard with my name scribbled on it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345409469, Paperback)

Carl Sagan muses on the current state of scientific thought, which offers him marvelous opportunities to entertain us with his own childhood experiences, the newspaper morgues, UFO stories, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of pseudoscience. Along the way he debunks alien abduction, faith-healing, and channeling; refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality, and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political, social, religious, and other issues.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Are we on the brink of a new Dark Age of irrationality and superstition? In this stirring, brilliantly argued book, internationally respected scientist Carl Sagan shows how scientific thinking is necessary to safeguard our democratic institutions and our technical civilization." "The Demon-Haunted World is more personal and richer in moving and revealing human stories than anything Sagan has previously written. With illustrations from his own childhood experience as well as engrossing tales of discovery, Sagan shows how the method of scientific thought can cut through prejudice and hysteria to uncover the often surprising truth." "He convincingly debunks "alien abduction, " "channelers, " faith-healer fraud, the "face" on Mars, and much else. Along the way , he refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality or is just another arbitrary belief system, asks why scientific study is often stigmatized, discusses the dangers of the misuse of science, and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political, social, religious, and other issues."--Back cover.… (more)

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