Book review: “The Demon-Haunted World” by Carl Sagan

The full title is “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” and it’s about the differences between science and superstition.

This is one of the best philosophy books I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend reading it. In fact, I like it so much I picked up a second copy to loan to people because I think it’s an important book to read.

Sagan covers such seemingly diverse topics as witch hunts, UFO madness, hallucinations and prophecy and demonstrates in an engaging way how powerfully they can sway people, yet how easily they crumble before healthy skepticism armed with understanding of the scientific method.

There is a nice variety of topics with enlightening discussion of all, but the overall theme is the importance of the general populace understanding the scientific method and of being skeptical of the claims of those who would have them believe something. Later on he (and co-author Ann Druyan) talk for a few chapters about the decline of science education in the USA, the incorrect but damaging popular perception of science following WWII, the way politics in the USA is trending toward the opposite of that nation’s own core values, and how those things bode ill for the future.

This book is definitely one of my top recommendations for non-fiction reading.

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