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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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4,85270953 (4.27)87
Member:GVassmer
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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Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
Sagan takes on pseudo-science, faith healing, witchcraft and religion, calling for rigorous application of the scientific method to stop us from being sucked in by the "enveloping darkness." Not a terribly well-constructed book, probably because it's made up of essays that were previously published elsewhere, but a must-read, perhaps even more now (2017) than I first read it (1997). ( )
  mritchie56 | Oct 21, 2017 |
Science as a candle in the dark
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Sagan discussed this book in the last interview he did before he died, the video is on YouTube and he was on the Charlie Rose show if you are inclined to watch it. He said at the time that there was a great interest in psychics, ghosts, and in particular, UFO's, within the U.S. population. Of course there still is, but at the time (early/middle 1990's) the popularity of the paranormal was growing at an exponential rate. He pointed out that, historically, whenever there is great uncertainty, unrest, and fear within a population, the interest in the paranormal, almost like clockwork, always rises.

Seances, tarot reading, psychics, etc., are sought out by people who need answers to unanswerable questions that science can't answer. So large numbers of people turn to the paranormal, or para-science, which, over time, can degrade the scientific method and people start to regress intellectually, scoffing at science. This book was written to remove those "demons" of anti-science, made to be read by a large audience in order to encourage people to be skeptical.

I encourage people to both read this book and watch Carl Sagan's final interview. In both, he's trying to teach us to question everything, to be curious, to explore, and to call b.s. on the charlatans who want to bamboozle you. His career of being both a scientist and a educator was to teach us to question, and at the end of his life he was seeing people fall, again, into the allure of the pseudosciences and the charlatans, and this book was written to help people see through it all.

A great book, highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Kronomlo | Jun 14, 2017 |
Not the best book on debunking the paranormal and pseudoscience, but Sagan does okay. Seemed as with most of his writings to want to reach to a majority, which in itself is a good thought, but the majority who might need to read this probably wouldn't. As such, for skeptics it is something to put on the shelf to offer to a fence-sitter that would be scared off by someone like James Randi, Richard Dawkins or David Mills. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
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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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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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