Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark by Carl Sagan (Book Report)

              Never have I been influenced by a book or felt some relief about my own personal life before. Carl Sagan demonstrates his true love for science throughout each chapter. He explains why pseudoscience exists and how it’s most often confused with actual science. He discusses aliens, witches, demons, religion, and so forth. Society is fooled by news and reports on social media into thinking such things exist, when in reality, there hasn’t been true evidence to justify such claims.
               Carl shows how skeptical thinking is essential in these times and that the scientific method should be used more frequently. It’s better to know the truth than to ignore it. It’s not that Carl is against anything of the topics that lie in pseudoscience; he just wants society to understand that happiness can be found in something realistic than in something unrealistic. He also explains how believing in such topics has ruined humanity. Reading this book has made me appreciate science even more, and the more information that is absorbed from it, the more it is understood how science truly is “a candle in the dark.”
               The topic that has impacted me the most from this book is religion. Being raised into a Catholic family has always blinded me into accepting God, however, as I grew up, I started becoming more skeptical. This hasn’t led me to fully denying Him either, but I knew I didn’t have faith anymore. Sometimes I get scared of the dark, and when I experience sleep paralysis, I think of demons. Carl has made me realize that I’m allowing myself to be afraid for nothing. Instead of believing in God to feel safe, it’s been doing the opposite. Carl explains in the book that demons exist in our lives if we believe God exists. After all, there is no good without evil. Evidence of religion is still absent though, even if people claim they’ve experienced miracles. He also says that religious people probably never even consider that The Bible could be simply made-up. Believing in what people say rather than looking out for evidence is related to an important characteristic in pseudoscience, discussed in the class textbook, which is, “overreliance on testimonials and personal experience.”

Think of how many religions attempt to validate themselves with prophecy. Think of how many people rely on these prophecies, however vague, however unfulfilled, to support or prop up their beliefs. Yet has there ever been a religion with the prophetic accuracy and reliability of science?”
-Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark
               Overall, I think this book is important because it reevaluates your beliefs and uncertainties. I feel that it can help bring peace in the world if we all learn to be open-minded. There are so many controversial issues and misconceptions regarding science. Here’s a video of me going a little more in depth about my opinion on religion and a song that I believe ties in with what the author is saying about the subject:

*What I also wanted to add to video: Proving the existence of God or an afterlife or anything based on religion is indeed hard, but just because evidence is absent now, doesn't mean it won't show up later. That being said, I can be very well wrong, and so could Carl. Many mysteries still need to be resolved. Science is just a way of understanding the world.

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