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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 (Author), Ann Druyan (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,088881,273 (4.27)98
"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."--Jacket.… (more)
Member:jdoshna
Title:The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Authors:Carl Sagan (Author)
Other authors:Ann Druyan (Author)
Info:Ballantine Books (1997), Edition: Reprint, 457 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work Information

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
    Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World by Carl T. Bergstrom (thebookpile)
  3. 00
    The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs: fundamentalism and the fear of truth by Solomon Schimmel (bertilak)
  4. 00
    A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by Andrew Dickson White (myshelves)
  5. 00
    Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End . . . by Philip Plait (foxjwill)
  6. 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 98 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Too much talk about religion, not enough talk about science. ( )
  RebeccaBooks | Sep 16, 2021 |
Very quotable and, in the final chapters, extremely apropos the current political situation in America. ( )
  Enno23 | Aug 15, 2021 |
A good and relatively comprehensive look at the late 20th century‘s approach to science and the development of interest in science. This was wide-ranging, looking at issues such as witchcraft, aliens, and science education in the America of the 1990s. Inevitably such a book has aged somewhat with no references to social media, much reference to the Internet, and the further structural and societal change that has happened over the last 20 to 25 years. However, a lot of the references to earlier and in particular mid century American politics, collective delusion, and alien misinformation is still relevant and still pertinent. It is engaging and worthy of a listen. ( )
  aadyer | Jul 11, 2021 |
Second reading done on 12.11.19 - Because of the current political climate, especially in America, this book is more important now than ever. The relevancy of some passages about the dangers of not thinking critically during political theatrics was striking. The fact that this was written in 1997 and some issues that Sagan brings to light are still current means that the darkness of ignorance is ever enveloping around us, and so we must do our best to keep the candles lit.

It has been almost a year since I've read this wonderful book and whenever I hear false or misleading information being spread on television or online, I refer back to this gem. This was my first jump into the superb works of Carl Sagan and it was one I will never forget. This book opened my eyes to the amazing world of science and has helped me stop and think about how things work and why things are before believing something to be truthful. It has helped me analyze situations differently and has made me a more critical person.

The main theme is the importance of critical thinking. Sagan explains that asking questions leads down the wonderful path of knowledge. Simply accepting a statement at face value can be dangerous and can lead down slippery slope. Science is about experimentation and making observations, recording the results of those tests, coming to a theory or hypothesis and then releasing the information of the research so that other scientists can analyze your work and come to their own conclusions.

Nothing is ever definite in science and the results of one test can be overturned completely by another. The learning process is constant. That is what I find wonderful about the sciences; it is an expansive field that is constantly changing and flipping theories upside down or straight out the window!

Sagan warns about the dangers of religion and pseudo-science and their inability to accept any type of scrutinizing or examination. That leads to blind acceptance. Society should be constantly on its collective toes and be wary of the information being spread. We should all be asking more questions. Question your government. Question your religious institutions.

The chapter titled The Dragon in My Garage was one of my favorites. Definitely eye-opening.

I highly recommend this great book to EVERYONE. ( )
2 vote ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
While I understand the value of this book in general I just felt that a lot of it was slightly outdated. ( )
  Andorion | Feb 6, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sagan, Carlprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elwes, CaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacFarlane, SethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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"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."--Jacket.

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