I chose to read The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. This book discusses twenty five different pseudoscience topics, such as aliens, witch craft, demons, and explains how they are not scientifically proven or accurate. He discusses these topics in a way to show the difference between science and pseudoscience. He does not just go into scientific facts about each topic, he makes the reader feel as though he is speaking to them, and even jokes around. He discusses skepticism in a way that is easy to comprehend. This book shows how the universe should be understood, not perceived.
Here is a nice little picture of me reading this interesting book.
My favorite topic in the book was UFO's and extraterrestrials. I wrote my first blog post on crop circles, and have continued to research them since reading this book. I have always had a weird interest in extraterrestrials, but I feel like a lot of people do. I would take out books on UFO's from the library in elementary school, and continued to do research in high school. Sagan's information on extraterestrials was very accurate and related to other books I have read on the topic. I had never read anything on the crop circle phenomenon though, so I really found an interest in that. It blows my mind that even after people confessed to creating the crop circles themselves, they still believed that UFO space ships were landing in crop fields. It really shows that people will believe anything interesting, and the media really does not portray the truth most of the time.
This book is related to class because this class is all about pseudoscience, and so is this book! Both the class lectures and Sagan's book discuss many of the same topics. Two topics that stood out to me were UFO abduction and falsely recalling information. Both the lectures and Sagan discussed that people can believe they were abducted by aliens through suggestive interviews and therapy. Many people who talked about being abducted by aliens used information that was closely related to TV shows and movies about aliens. Sagan discusses that many people who describe how aliens looked were related to TV shows playing at the time. Our class lecture talks about the same type of thing, and says that people began saying they were abducted by aliens around the same time that documentary style movies and TV shows came out. This book is very much related to the topics discussed in this class.
This book does not only relate to this class, but also can relate to the real world. I feel like everyone should read this book, or even just some of the chapters that interest them, so they can realize the difference between science and pseudoscience. Many people are very easily tricked, and should really learn what is true and what is not. One real world problem that this book can assist on is helping people understand scams. I definitely learned so much from this book about what is real, and I hope other people can do the same.