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The Demon-Haunted World

Science as a Candle in the Dark
Written by: Carl Sagan
Narrated by: Cary Elwes, Seth MacFarlane
Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (83 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Introductory music from the original score for Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey composed by Alan Silvestri, used with permission from Cosmos Studios, Inc. and Chappers Music. All rights reserved. Special thanks to Fuzzy Planets, Inc.

©1996 Carl Sagan (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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What listeners say about The Demon-Haunted World

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Fantastic work by Carl

Fantastic work by Carl and more true today than ever before. Wonderful book, well done

2 people found this helpful

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This was a good book.

I enjoyed the explanation of logical fallacies. The section on witch burning and how a similar mentality could arise again was interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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A must listen!

This should be compulsory reading/listen for everyone on this planet. It is as much needed and relevant in our time as it was at the time it was written.

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Truly great perspective

A wild journey in the past and present with science, technology, and culture. I recommend for everyone

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it's like it was written today

excellent. modern, even though it was written more than 25 years ago. Makes us understand how people act the way they act till this day.

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sobering, humorous and instructive

listened to it multiple times. each chapter stands on its own. you can pick any chapter and get a refresher or individualized story.

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Carl Sagan a Brilliant man

I love Carl Sagan, his thoughts, his words resonate with me. This book combined philosophical, scientific and even some theological ideas behind society and how it feels about science. You get a good understanding of how he feels about the importance of a well educated society.

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Not as good as I had hoped

I had high hopes going into this audiobook, but was a little disappointed. Found the third reader to sound very pretentious and his cadence irritating - distracted from the book.
Content was god but there was a fair bit of ranting - I suspect that the authors frustration with the world was coming out in his book

Not a waste of time but has to fast forward through some parts

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A fantastic and wondrous ride.

Having read this book many years ago and thoroughly enjoying it then. It was a treat to have it read to me so I could relive the experience hands free.

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desapointing

I was disappointed by this book. the general feeling of the book as if it world was better and now is getting worst is in such a contrast with reality. education, science awareness has never been higher. however the book paint a picture of a world going into darkness. not slowly coming out of dark ages.

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  • Dee Goulet
  • 2017-12-09

Amazing

Simply wonderful! Carl's work still holds up 20 + years later. A must read for students of any age!

13 people found this helpful

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  • CuddyWifter
  • 2019-01-27

Absolutely, one of my favorite books to date!

Wow! Such a revealing book, especially for someone like myself that went through a highly religious and intolerant phase in my life based off my beliefs and the ideologies of the religion I followed. I recommend this book to anyone that is seeking the truth of the origins of humanity, and not in some fantastical way, but in a scientific way that can be and has been proved through modern discovery and time. What I love about this book is the way that Carl Sagan is able to demonstrate that we need that fine balance between openness and skepticism to discover truth. And being a skeptic on any scientific or religious matter is not a cause to rebuke or defame you, as some people would have. In the end, without science we would still be in the Dark Ages. Outstanding book from the great mind of the humble Carl Sagan.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan Porter
  • 2017-08-17

The importance of rational skepticism.

An amazing read, I wasn't sure what to expect coming in and found myself pleasantly surprised. although there is a rather large chunk of the book devoted to UFO'S the message of Sagan comes through very clear. And the narration brings energy to the book that could have just as easily become monotonous.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2017-10-24

Phenomenal

If, 1000 years from now, this book is the only surviving record of human existence, I will not be content. I will be dead. However, if I were paradoxically still alive, I would be content.

84 people found this helpful

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  • Phillip Combest
  • 2017-07-15

A peek into Carl Sagan's thinking ...

Written for everyone this audiobook covers principles of human decency and advancement in general terms easily accessible to the non-scientist. It's timeless - written long ago but so germane to life in 2017. Loved this one.

17 people found this helpful

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  • William Jenks
  • 2019-07-25

Some good points, but not a great book

First, some context. I am a university chemistry professor and I grew up watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos in high school, running around saying "billions and billions" as if it was both funny and profound. Moreover, pseudoscience drives me crazy. I *wanted* to like this book. I was hoping, at least in part, to see what Sagan had said some years ago could be applied in the age of social media, but of course I had no expectation of that being explicitly mentioned.

Unfortunately, I found this book disappointing. Others have dwelt on the seemingly dated UFO issue, but I didn't see that as a major problem. However, it doesn't seem like it is a coherently written book. It feels more like a set of related lecturers that were edited to turn them into a book without enough emphasis on the editing.. It's repetitive in places and not really coherent from one topic to the next in others.

A very good Audible Original of 2-3 hours length could be made from excerpts of this book. There are some very good and very important ideas here, and some good stories too. The book is not without merit. It's just not the level of content I expect from this icon of my youth and one of the great science communicators of his day.

38 people found this helpful

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  • M. Nobles
  • 2017-11-28

Carl Sagan is Astounding!

This was the first book to which I've listened from Carl Sagan and it is amazing! I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Carl Sagan expounds at length on the virtues of skepticism and the scientific method and how it has brought the world out of extreme superstition and greatly elevated the overall status of humanity and implores humanity to maintain a strong dedication to education and learning of science and math in order to better humanity so that we don't fall back into the wretched ways of the past.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Rex Michael Dillon
  • 2018-01-15

An Excellent Reminder to be a Skeptic

if only this book was required reading for students in their junior year of high school. If only more to the extra step to think about why, we would be a better and more informed society.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Patton
  • 2017-07-04

A supremely important work

I love Carl Sagan.
I think this is perhaps his crowning achievement. The importance of sceptical thinking and detection of baloney is critical.

12 people found this helpful

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  • DT
  • 2017-09-05

Cary's new career

I should have known that Cary would be a fantastic reader. Great book and readers.

16 people found this helpful

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  • MEMYSELFANDI
  • 2019-04-29

Mon avis

Contenu intéressant. Milite en faveur de l'ouverture d'esprit, et de l'esprit critique. Performance très agréable