Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Book Report: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark shows the importance of science and the differences between science and pseudoscience. The book tells the story of how Sagan fell in love with science and how he used it to find answers to many claims throughout the world. While using stories or memories from his life he explains how UFOs and many other fantasies that seem to interest society can be explained or unexplained by science. He talks about his introduction to science and how Atlantis, aliens and even the divine explanation that was used for things before science and medicine improved.
 I enjoyed the chapter about the UFOs and Sagan's work with the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. This chapter talks about how the United States military used high altitude balloons for weather measurements, radar reflectors, and espionage craft. I found this chapter extremely interesting because while I have heard of the Project Bluebook I never knew they had scientists of Carl Sagan’s caliber on board with it. Sagan talks in detail about some of the things that was investigated during his time with the Scientific Advisory Board.
The detail that is in this book shows a lot of critical thinking about many things whether science related or made up fantasy. It also has explanations of other topics throughout the course. The talk about UFOs, ghostly spirits, and other trickery whether it be advertisement or in another field like magic or telepathy is extremely relevant when looking at the slides. Putting the book’s content next to the information covered in the class can help someone grasp the idea of what is being discussed not only in the book but also in the class.
Reading this book can help people really cut through the false information that is spread online or advertised in stores. The way that Carl Sagan breaks things down and talks about the evidence that is or is not present s something that most people could take notes on and use. Being able to detect the “baloney” as Sagan called it is something that society in general would benefit from. Whether it is detecting it from a sales person or from a person giving information about a project at a job.

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