||The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Darkness
||Random House, ©1995
201 E 50th Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10022
In 25 chapters and 457 pages, this famous astronomer and well-known scientist
has written the most blunt attack on magical thinking I have ever read.
Sagan attacks the senseless basis of the belief in UFOs, faith healing,
channeling, psychic phenomena, and many, many more. He denounces psychotherapists
who induce false memories in their clients of satanic ritual abuse and alien abductions and warns of hoaxes and scare tactics. In a chapter called
"The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," he tells us how to think through
The main message of this book is that many people believe almost anything they are told with no evidence, which makes them vulnerable to charlatans and
"spin doctors." Sagan's solution to this hysteria is to use scientific methodology and empirical studies. I found
the portions of the book dealing with Sagan's own life and experiences and his personal love affair with science particularly moving. The only drawback in this excellent book was his frequent use of anecdotes and off-hand opinions, which seemed to
contradict his emphasis on the importance of empirical evidence. I highly
recommend this book.
Reviewed by LeRoy G. Schultz, Emeritus Professor of Social Work, West Virginia University.