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The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Sagan, Carl
ISBN: 0345409469     ISBN-13: 9780345409461
Publisher: Ballantine Books
    OUR PRICE: $15.30  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: March 1997
Qty:
Annotation: "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

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Science; Methodology; Popular works.
Science; Study and teaching; Popular works.
Literacy; Popular works.
BISAC Categories:
- Science | Philosophy & Social Aspects
Dewey: 001.9
LCCN: BL 99784230
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 6.00" W x 1.00" (0.85 lbs)
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Publisher Description:
" 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


Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 1995 November #4)
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.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 1996 January)
In a chapter entitled "Science and Hope," Sagan (Pale Blue Dot, Random, 1994) writes: "This book is a personal statement, reflecting my lifelong love affair with science." Accordingly, he deplores pseudoscientific thinking and the credulous beliefs that emerge from it. Today, when science is critical for solving the world's problems, many people, instead, trust astrology and New Age spiritualism. Likewise, surveys reveal that a majority of Americans believe that Earth is regularly visited by space aliens. Using basic tools of science empiricism, rationalism, and experimentation Sagan debunks these and other common fallacies of pseudoscience. In doing so, he speculates as to how such beliefs arise. Some of his explanations are not entirely convincing (are alien-abduction tales really modern versions of medieval myths?), but he handles them with empathy so as to not demean the intelligence of true believers. The best chapters examine the state of science education and technical literacy in America and suggest an agenda for improving both. The book is overlong, occasionally redundant, and parts have been published elsewhere. Still, Sagan's theme is important, and his popularity might lure some readers from the UFO and occult books cluttering so many library and bookstore shelves. For public and undergraduate libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/95.] Gregg Sapp, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, Fla. Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews