The Demon-Haunted World

Science as a Candle in the Dark

Audio cassette

English language

Published May 4, 2000 by Media Books Audio Publishing.

ISBN:
978-1-57815-170-7
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4 stars (89 reviews)

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace

“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

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 …

26 editions

Eye opening? Grim? Depressing? Optimistic? Let’s just call it a roller coaster.

5 stars

Context on why I was sent this epub from my friend in the first place:

I was perplexed over people’s obsession with the most bizarre nonsense. Astrology, crystal healing, modern witchcraft, and many more things I see all too often. My friend suggested this book and sent me over an epub as they felt it’d give nice context around the phenomenon.

Well, I have a much deeper understanding of the issue after reading this book. Sagan deeply loves science and has made me view science in a completely new light, it’s truly inspirational. I’m doing so, he covers pseudoscience and the many wonders of why we believe in things we believe in. Little did I know my questions of why people believe crystals cure cancer has a lot to do with our belief in witches (leading to thousands of burned women at the stake just a few centuries ago) and …

Review of 'The Demon-Haunted World' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Oof. I did not have a good time with this one. It's a collection of essays, all of which seem to have been previously published elsewhere. I'm not sure why this book doesn't indicate that it's actually a collection of Sagan's writings, all somewhat on a similar theme.

Fully half of this book (the front half) is about aliens and alien abductions. The second half provides a bit more variety, but is largely about how the US doesn't respect science enough or needs to protect the scientific method.

I think his main point is valid (science matters?), but wow, I did not need 400 pages on it. It felt so repetitive. The book reminds me a little of another book I read called Capitalism & Disability, which is also a collection of essays. However the editor of that book actually cut sections from different essays where the same point would …

Review of 'The Demon-Haunted World; Science As A Candle In The Dark' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

So I picked this up on a strangers claim that it was great. Why do I do this? Anyway, it's great for a sceptic book. But it still has all the stuff I already know from somewhere else, some guilt inducing questions of how do we know the things we know that I don't know the answers to, and I guess one fact I didn't know because it wasn't too interesting which was partially the point It's fun to report mystery crop circles, much less fun to report on how pranksters made those crop circles for 16 years. I didn't know it was pranksters, and if I had heard, I had forgot about it.. Despite all that, it was a pleasant listen (except for the depressing parts on the witch-hunts), and if there's someone doubting science in your life this might be a book to suggest to them.

Review of 'The Demon-Haunted World' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

Once in about the year 2001 previous to the events of 9-11, I was in college and not enjoying the experience. I set foot into a store called On Cue which had an assortment of items such as cds and books and lava lamps. In a section, somewhat to my then irritation, marked metaphysics, was the book The Demon Haunted World I was a psychology major at that juncture, and the emphasis was on science and metaphysics was a naughty word. Surely, Sagan, preeminent among scientists would not have written a metaphysical book?

The book, when I read it then, had a huge impact upon me. It was not so much what it said, but rather that I believed much in an opposite way to what it was saying. The same was true of my psychology major which was part of my misery. What Sagan had to say about science …

Review of 'The Demon-Haunted World; Science As A Candle In The Dark' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I'm not convinced that it's unabridged as advertised :-(; there appeared to be sections missing, but it's an excellent book! I was able to get a PDF copy online, and we'll see whether all parts are complete in this one.
It was written almost 20 years ago, but some of the same problems with government and society regarding science are definitely still applicable!

I was very right! It was definitely not unabridged; I just listened to and unabridged audio copy of it from audible (at least trustworthy!), and it's amazing how much more there was to the book. The amount that was in the original copy was definitely good, but the entire book has so much more. The end of the is vaguely political in that it points out how little our country is paying attention to our obligations and legacy in terms of science and even technology! And this …

Review of 'The Demon-Haunted World' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

If Carl Sagan was alive today I think he would probably cry if he saw the state of the world. He wrote this book as a kind of wake up call to the people and the government, he pointed out how bad the education system is, he tries to get people to understand how important science is, he warns us not to watch so much crap on TV, go out and get some real-life experiences and he warns us about the government abusing the bill of rights.

Well it looks like everybody has ignored him, in fact to me things feel worse, education is still really bad (always with the cutbacks) in the UK the classes can be huge and kids can get ignored. The rubbish that is on TV is so bad that I have read over 100 books this year, the first time this has ever happened to …

Review of 'The Demon-Haunted World' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

There's one thing I don't like about this book: that it took me this long to finally read it.

Carl Sagan is one of my personal heroes (of the "if you could meet any person in history..." variety) who first inspired me at the age of 10 when his Cosmos TV series screened in Australia. Such a knowledgeable, well-read and intelligent man exhibited such a sense of wonder at the universe, whether it be a drop of pond water on a slide under a microscope to stellar nurseries in nebula, taught me that it's possible to discuss, debate or argue with someone with a conflicting viewpoint without making it personal. Even his skepticism (nearly always) had a good-natured, patient, almost paternal quality about it. By his actions he taught me that you don't have to be nasty, dismissive or derogatory - even if receiving that treatment yourself - when wearing …

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Subjects

  • Philosophy & Social Aspects
  • Science
  • Abridged Audio - Misc. Nonfiction
  • Audio Adult: Books On Tape
  • SCI015000
  • SCI
  • SCI075000
  • Cosmology

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