Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

I keep extra copies of this for gifts

This is absolutely one of the finest works demonstrating the difference between the process of science and the body of knowledge we have gained through its use. Sagan uses the phrase 'baloney detection toolkit' several times in this book, and it applies wonderfully acr...
This is absolutely one of the finest works demonstrating the difference between the process of science and the body of knowledge we have gained through its use. Sagan uses the phrase 'baloney detection toolkit' several times in this book, and it applies wonderfully across the spectrum of experience in our lives. When applied to the claims of various types of cultural environment, the practices he points out can easily help individuals see through the fraudulent claims of those who would pretend to use 'science' to 'prove' their pet theory. As a walk through history, this book also shows how people have been misled terribly by persons whose vested interest lies in such deception. For this reason alone it is worth reading, as the similarities between many of those past situations and those occurring today do show that history certainly does have a habit of repeating itself. This book is a wonderful tool for developing the one thing that will help you throughout your entire life: a skeptical mind. Not a cynical one, a skeptical one. I can't give this book higher ratings - or I would. I try to always keep two extra copies around to give to friends who might appreciate it. Do yourself a favor, and pick it up.

posted by Anonymous on December 17, 2007

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

An absolutely awful brainwashing about ignorance.

I understand that there is a large population of 'Scientifically Illiterate' people in this world, and Sagan does a good job of pointing out who these people and groups are. However, the method used to get his point across goes absolutely against what he preaches is wr...
I understand that there is a large population of 'Scientifically Illiterate' people in this world, and Sagan does a good job of pointing out who these people and groups are. However, the method used to get his point across goes absolutely against what he preaches is wrong in this book. First, he uses blatant fallacies to scare the reader into accepting his claim. For instance, saying that we would be dead without advances in Science. (Not an actual quote, but the message is sent across through 5 pages, even about being dead.) He gives an example of Pseudoscience and bashes it horribly, especially religious beliefs. Second, he often uses statistics of an un-cited origin. One survey he discussed is taken at a dinner table with family and friends. Do you rely on your best friend to explain the universe? Probably not. He criticizes seers and fortunetellers for having no concrete proof of their claims. Where's his? He emphasizes the sharp and meticulous criticism of claims made by pseudo-scientists so that people do not just willingly accept claims of knowledge without rational reasoning. Why should you not also criticize his claims? Especially since he seems to use every trick in the book to make you accept his claims. If you read this book, please do not give in to his claims to knowledge just because he seems to have authority in the matter. This man is not enlightened simply intelligent, crafty and fed up with blind ignorance. Please be skeptic of this book as you trudge through his jargon-filled arguments of grandeur.

posted by Anonymous on January 4, 2006

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 3
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    I keep extra copies of this for gifts

    This is absolutely one of the finest works demonstrating the difference between the process of science and the body of knowledge we have gained through its use. Sagan uses the phrase 'baloney detection toolkit' several times in this book, and it applies wonderfully across the spectrum of experience in our lives. When applied to the claims of various types of cultural environment, the practices he points out can easily help individuals see through the fraudulent claims of those who would pretend to use 'science' to 'prove' their pet theory. As a walk through history, this book also shows how people have been misled terribly by persons whose vested interest lies in such deception. For this reason alone it is worth reading, as the similarities between many of those past situations and those occurring today do show that history certainly does have a habit of repeating itself. This book is a wonderful tool for developing the one thing that will help you throughout your entire life: a skeptical mind. Not a cynical one, a skeptical one. I can't give this book higher ratings - or I would. I try to always keep two extra copies around to give to friends who might appreciate it. Do yourself a favor, and pick it up.

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007

    A must read for everyone!

    One of my favorite books. This is truly a manifesto on clear thinking. A book which clearly explains what science is truly about. Something people are very confused about especially when they are constantly being bombarded by unreliable information through the media and when new age and irrational thinking continue to thrive and even be 'trendy'. As Einstein said (and Sagan quoted): Science as child-like and primitive as it may be, is the most precious thing we have...

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2005

    Wow, read objectively, can transform your perspective

    This is one of the most refreshing and interesting books I've read. Throughout the entire book Sagan eloquently explains away many ideas that run our lives. The massive amount of rhetorical questions are the icing on the cake. Sagan's skepticism and ability to 'detect baloney' are qualities that are greatly needed in our society. Sagan is MY candle in the dark.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2000

    The best book I have ever read

    I must say that this book changed my views more than any other book. There is a noticeable rise in irrationalism and pseudo-science in our times, largely promoted by the media (esp the TV). This phenonmenon, if unchecked will totally destroy the younger generations' ability to solve their problems using a rational, logical and scientific means. Instead, they will view mystical, religious, ritualistic means as effective means to solve human problems. The rise of such irrational views will undo human progress and civilization. Making Carl Sagan's book, esp. the Demon Haunted World a required reading in schools, will counter this current rise of irrationalism. If you are a media personnel and if you care about the human race, you should stop promoting stupidity and instead promote a scientific view and propounded by Carl Sagan in this book.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2000

    A painfully honest insight into the state of our population's collective intelligence

    Whenever I am asked that impossible question 'What is your favorite book?' This is THE book that I have settled upon as my answer. It is a sorely needed dose of medicine for our collective minds. The one unfortunate thing is that those people who might benefit most by its reading, are the ones who will likely be busy reading exactly something else instead. Excellent Job Carl...we miss you.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 20, 2010

    This is, essentially, my Bible

    This was the first book I checked out from my college library. I absolutely devoured it within a few days. The illuminating essays, observations, analogies, and experiences Sagan offered would influence the way I viewed the universe, the preciousness of life, and the importance of being a skeptic and critically thinking.

    To say that Carl Sagan was one of the most important scientists and popularizers of science would be a gross understatement. What you should also know is that he is an excellent writer, able to weave complex science into entertaining and easy to read essays about the natural world, human psychology, and more. The Demon Haunted World offers both education and entertainment, insightful debunkings of pseudoscience, and reflections upon concepts such as faith and nationalism.

    I keep two copies of this book in my library at any time. One for my own re-readings. The second to gift to others that I think could use the illuminating essays to expand their horizons. If you haven't read this book, I suggest that you give it a serious consideration.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 16, 2010

    may never be topped

    Still one of the most important works describing a scientific world view to a general audience ever written. It is fascinating for both the novice and the expert, is never condescending or boring. I would recommend buying a few copies to give out as gifts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2003

    Rational thinking for irrational times

    I just read this book, and was astounded by the level of ignorance out there, and I was also hopeful, because every so often a person like him comes along and can debunk the myths without being insulting. Sould be read by everyone in power, along with billion and billions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Ace

    "Its okeh Rose. I cheated to. Lets just go."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Excellent and well argued

    Occasionally the book goes off on tangents, but it is largely on topic and when it is it is well argued and well researched. Sagan was a smart man and a good author.

    It is easily accessible regardless of the readers foreknowledge.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 23, 2012

    A classic that should be in every skeptic and scientists' librar

    A classic that should be in every skeptic and scientists' library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant!

    My eyes are open and my "baloney detection toolkit" is at the ready.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutely brilliant!

    Carl Sagan is, without a doubt, one of the most accomplished and intelligent men of the entire 20th century. Other things aside, his influence will be drifting through the cosmos long after our Solar System is dead. That's saying a lot! It's difficult to properly describe just how good he was at popularizing science. Not only did he make it approachable for everyone, he kept it interesting while never dumbing down anything for anyone for any reason. For anyone who has watched his hit tv series "Cosmos", you will be delighted to see that his writing style is a good reflection of what you have seen on tv. Like any author should be when approaching such topics, his book is well researched and well cited. He goes deep into human psychology, why people believe the things that they do. He is never disrespectful about it. He goes on, for instance, to mention that some people who think they have been the victims of alien abductions are reluctant to talk about it (that not all such people are simply media whores). He goes into reasons where these perceptions might come about, how unscrupulous psychologists/psychiatrists have abused their power to lead people to false conclusions about their own memories (generally false/implanted memories). He goes on to even the mainstream media can be very easily mislead (either by a charlatan, or someone pretending to be one for the sake of exposing the media's general lack of criticism over supernatural claims). He even discussing the hysteria in the U.S. over the supposed threat of devil worshiping cults back in the '80s (the mass abduction of children and their eventual sacrifices, all of which were claimed and believed without the slightest shred of evidence). I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Helen's AP Lang Review: Carl Sagan

    This book is a fascinating commentary on the nature of superstition and the modern urban legends that pervade our society. Sagan debunks and analyzes well-known and -practiced superstitions such as crop circles, UFOs, and psychics. He analyzes the arguments made in favor of such phenomenae. His insight is (still) fresh and unexpected, the perfect blend of skepticism and critical thinking. Sagan's focus is pseudoscience and why it occurs: people too often mistake myth for intellectual theory or fact. I highly recommend this book to science lovers, intellectuals, skeptics, and especially conspiracy theorists, pseudoscientists, and those who believe too quickly. In today's world, as Sagan says, there is too much information to be an uninformed individual.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    Just Amazing

    One the best books I have read recently.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2004

    Sagan Lights the Way

    For those who value truth above dogma, knowledge over ignorance, and integrity more than hucksterism. This book is more of a laser beam than a candle. Too bad the audio version is only on split track cassette tape. MP3 or CD format would be easier to listen to.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 3