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

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

4.4 75
by Carl Sagan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"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… See more details below

Overview

"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

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eminent Cornell astronomer and bestselling author Sagan debunks the paranormal and the unexplained in a study that will reassure hardcore skeptics but may leave others unsatisfied. To him, purported UFO encounters and alien abductions are products of gullibility, hallucination, misidentification, hoax and therapists' pressure; some alleged encounters, he suggests, may screen memories of sexual abuse. He labels as hoaxes the crop circles, complex pictograms that appear in southern England's wheat and barley fields, and he dismisses as a natural formation the Sphinx-like humanoid face incised on a mesa on Mars, first photographed by a Viking orbiter spacecraft in 1976 and considered by some scientists to be the engineered artifact of an alien civilization. In a passionate plea for scientific literacy, Sagan deftly debunks the myth of Atlantis, Filipino psychic surgeons and mediums such as J.Z. Knight, who claims to be in touch with a 35,000-year-old entity called Ramtha. He also brands as superstition ghosts, angels, fairies, demons, astrology, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and religious apparitions. (Feb.)
Library Journal
A Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer argues that scientific illiteracy and our new-found suspicion of the rational threatens democratic institutions.
Donna Seaman
Sagan has devoted himself to the noble mission of rousing us from our stuporous neglect of science. His accessible and passionate books about the cosmos, our origins, and space exploration ("Pale Blue Dot" ) open doors of perception into exciting realms many nonscientists simply avoid. In his newest book, Sagan conducts a vigorous inquiry into why science is so "hard to learn and hard to teach" and asks why so many people embrace the sort of "pseudoscience" associated with New Age beliefs or served up in the pages of tabloids. Widespread scientific illiteracy and a dearth of critical thinking are "perilous and foolhardy," Sagan tells us, and that's obviously true. To show us just how deluded we can be, Sagan tackles the popular belief in extraterrestrials and alien abduction stories, debunking a number of half-baked but commonly held assumptions simply by asking commonsensical questions. He moves on to the whole "recovered memory" debacle, then segues into a very convincing discussion of hallucinations. Ultimately, he links today's aliens with yesterday's demons in this lithe, well-supported, sometimes quite wry, and altogether refreshing performance. Stick to the facts, Sagan tells us, "There are wonders enough out there without our inventing any." There are wonders within, too, all we need to do is learn to use them.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307801043
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/06/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
48,598
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Carl Sagan, perhaps the best known scientist of our time, is the author of Cosmos, the bestselling science book ever and the basis for his award winning television series. A Pulitzer Prize winner, he received the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences. Pale Blue Dot and The Demon-Haunted World are available from Brilliance Audio.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >