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

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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 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.

Praise for The Demon-Haunted World

“Powerful . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing.”The Washington Post Book World

“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
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More by Carl Sagan

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the final book of his astonishing career, Carl Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us.

These luminous, entertaining essays travel both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the human mind, posing such fascinating questions as how did the universe originate and how will it end, and how can we meld science and compassion to meet the challenges of the coming century? Here, too, is a rare, private glimpse of Sagan’s thoughts about love, death, and God as he struggled with fatal disease.

Ever forward-looking and vibrant with the sparkle of his unquenchable curiosity, Billions & Billions is a testament to one of the great scientific minds of our day.

Praise for Billions & Billions

“[Sagan’s] writing brims with optimism, clarity and compassion.”—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Sagan used the spotlight of his fame to illuminate the abyss into which stupidity, greed, and the lust for power may yet dump us. All of those interests and causes are handsomely represented in Billions & Billions.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Astronomer Carl Sagan didn’t live to see the millennium, but he probably has done more than any other popular scientist to prepare us for its arrival.”—Atlanta Journal & Constitution

“Billions & Billions can be interpreted as the Silent Spring for the current generation. . . . Human history includes a number of leaders with great minds who gave us theories about our universe and origins that ran contrary to religious dogma. Galileo determined that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. Darwin challenged Creationism with his Evolution of Species. And now, Sagan has given the world its latest challenge: Billions & Billions.”—San Antonio Express-News

“[Sagan’s] inspiration and boundless curiosity live on in the gift of his work.”—Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer

“Couldn’t stay awake in your high school science classes? This book can help fill in the holes. Acclaimed scientist Carl Sagan combines his logic and knowledge with wit and humor to make a potentially dry subject enjoyable to read.”—The Dallas Morning News
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
Jul 6, 2011
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780307801043
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Science / Reference
Science / Research & Methodology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the final book of his astonishing career, Carl Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us.

These luminous, entertaining essays travel both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the human mind, posing such fascinating questions as how did the universe originate and how will it end, and how can we meld science and compassion to meet the challenges of the coming century? Here, too, is a rare, private glimpse of Sagan’s thoughts about love, death, and God as he struggled with fatal disease.

Ever forward-looking and vibrant with the sparkle of his unquenchable curiosity, Billions & Billions is a testament to one of the great scientific minds of our day.

Praise for Billions & Billions

“[Sagan’s] writing brims with optimism, clarity and compassion.”—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Sagan used the spotlight of his fame to illuminate the abyss into which stupidity, greed, and the lust for power may yet dump us. All of those interests and causes are handsomely represented in Billions & Billions.”—The Washington Post Book World

“Astronomer Carl Sagan didn’t live to see the millennium, but he probably has done more than any other popular scientist to prepare us for its arrival.”—Atlanta Journal & Constitution

“Billions & Billions can be interpreted as the Silent Spring for the current generation. . . . Human history includes a number of leaders with great minds who gave us theories about our universe and origins that ran contrary to religious dogma. Galileo determined that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. Darwin challenged Creationism with his Evolution of Species. And now, Sagan has given the world its latest challenge: Billions & Billions.”—San Antonio Express-News

“[Sagan’s] inspiration and boundless curiosity live on in the gift of his work.”—Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer

“Couldn’t stay awake in your high school science classes? This book can help fill in the holes. Acclaimed scientist Carl Sagan combines his logic and knowledge with wit and humor to make a potentially dry subject enjoyable to read.”—The Dallas Morning News
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