The Demon-haunted World


Book Description

Are we on the brink of a new Dark Age of irrationality and superstition? In this book, the writer shows how scientific thinking is necessary to safeguard our democratic institutions and our technical civilization. This book is more personal and richer in moving and revealing human stories than anything the author has previously written. With illustrations from his own childhood experience as well as engrossing tales of discovery, he shows how the method of scientific thought can cut through prejudice and hysteria to uncover the often surprising truth. He convincingly debunks "alien abduction," "channelers," faith-healer fraud, the "face" on Mars, and much else. Along the way, he refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality or is just another arbitrary belief system, asks why scientific study is often stigmatized, discusses the dangers of the misuse of science, and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political, social, religious, and other issues. -- Jacket




The Demon-Haunted World


Book Description

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace “A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times 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. Praise for The Demon-Haunted World “Powerful . . . A stirring defense of informed rationality. . . Rich in surprising information and beautiful writing.”—The Washington Post Book World “Compelling.”—USA Today “A clear vision of what good science means and why it makes a difference. . . . A testimonial to the power of science and a warning of the dangers of unrestrained credulity.”—The Sciences “Passionate.”—San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle




Billions & Billions


Book Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the final book of his astonishing career, Carl Sagan brilliantly examines the burning questions of our lives, our world, and the universe around us. These luminous, entertaining essays travel both the vastness of the cosmos and the intimacy of the human mind, posing such fascinating questions as how did the universe originate and how will it end, and how can we meld science and compassion to meet the challenges of the coming century? Here, too, is a rare, private glimpse of Sagan’s thoughts about love, death, and God as he struggled with fatal disease. Ever forward-looking and vibrant with the sparkle of his unquenchable curiosity, Billions & Billions is a testament to one of the great scientific minds of our day. Praise for Billions & Billions “[Sagan’s] writing brims with optimism, clarity and compassion.”—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel “Sagan used the spotlight of his fame to illuminate the abyss into which stupidity, greed, and the lust for power may yet dump us. All of those interests and causes are handsomely represented in Billions & Billions.”—The Washington Post Book World “Astronomer Carl Sagan didn’t live to see the millennium, but he probably has done more than any other popular scientist to prepare us for its arrival.”—Atlanta Journal & Constitution “Billions & Billions can be interpreted as the Silent Spring for the current generation. . . . Human history includes a number of leaders with great minds who gave us theories about our universe and origins that ran contrary to religious dogma. Galileo determined that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. Darwin challenged Creationism with his Evolution of Species. And now, Sagan has given the world its latest challenge: Billions & Billions.”—San Antonio Express-News “[Sagan’s] inspiration and boundless curiosity live on in the gift of his work.”—Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer “Couldn’t stay awake in your high school science classes? This book can help fill in the holes. Acclaimed scientist Carl Sagan combines his logic and knowledge with wit and humor to make a potentially dry subject enjoyable to read.”—The Dallas Morning News




Dragons of Eden


Book Description

“A history of the human brain from the big bang, fifteen billion years ago, to the day before yesterday . . . It's a delight.”—The New York Times Dr. Carl Sagan takes us on a great reading adventure, offering his vivid and startling insight into the brain of man and beast, the origin of human intelligence, the function of our most haunting legends—and their amazing links to recent discoveries. “How can I persuade every intelligent person to read this important and elegant book? . . . He talks about all kinds of things: the why of the pain of human childbirth . . . the reason for sleeping and dreaming . . . chimpanzees taught to communicate in deaf and dumb language . . . the definition of death . . . cloning . . . computers . . . intelligent life on other planets. . . . Fascinating . . . delightful.”—The Boston Globe “In some lost Eden where dragons ruled, the foundations of our intelligence were laid. . . . Carl Sagan takes us on a guided tour of that lost land. . . . Fascinating . . . entertaining . . . masterful.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch




Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors


Book Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Exciting and provocative . . . A tour de force of a book that begs to be seen as well as to be read.”—The Washington Post Book World World renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann Druyan have written a Roots for the human species, a lucid and riveting account of how humans got to be the way we are. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a thrilling saga that starts with the origin of the Earth. It shows with humor and drama that many of our key traits—self-awareness, technology, family ties, submission to authority, hatred for those a little different from ourselves, reason, and ethics—are rooted in the deep past, and illuminated by our kinship with other animals. Sagan and Druyan conduct a breathtaking journey through space and time, zeroing in on critical turning points in evolutionary history, and tracing the origins of sex, altruism, violence, rape, and dominance. Their book culminates in a stunningly original examination of the connection between primate and human traits. Astonishing in its scope, brilliant in its insights, and an absolutely compelling read, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a triumph of popular science.




Comet


Book Description

What are these graceful visitors to our skies? We now know that they bring both life and death and teach us about our origins. Comet begins with a breathtaking journey through space astride a comet. Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer Carl Sagan, author of Cosmos and Contact, and writer Ann Druyan explore the origin, nature, and future of comets, and the exotic myths and portents attached to them. The authors show how comets have spurred some of the great discoveries in the history of science and raise intriguing questions about these brilliant visitors from the interstellar dark. Were the fates of the dinosaurs and the origins of humans tied to the wanderings of a comet? Are comets the building blocks from which worlds are formed? Lavishly illustrated with photographs and specially commissioned full-color paintings, Comet is an enthralling adventure, indispensable for anyone who has ever gazed up at the heavens and wondered why. Praise for Comet "Simply the best." —The Times of London "Fascinating, evocative, inspiring." —The Washington Post "Comet humanizes science. A beautiful, interesting book." —United Press International "Masterful . . . science, poetry, and imagination." —The Atlanta Journal & Constitution




The Varieties of Scientific Experience


Book Description

“Ann Druyan has unearthed a treasure. It is a treasure of reason, compassion, and scientific awe. It should be the next book you read.” —Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith “A stunningly valuable legacy left to all of us by a great human being. I miss him so.” —Kurt Vonnegut Carl Sagan's prophetic vision of the tragic resurgence of fundamentalism and the hope-filled potential of the next great development in human spirituality The late great astronomer and astrophysicist describes his personal search to understand the nature of the sacred in the vastness of the cosmos. Exhibiting a breadth of intellect nothing short of astounding, Sagan presents his views on a wide range of topics, including the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets, creationism and so-called intelligent design, and a new concept of science as "informed worship." Originally presented at the centennial celebration of the famous Gifford Lectures in Scotland in 1985 but never published, this book offers a unique encounter with one of the most remarkable minds of the twentieth century.




Cosmos


Book Description

RETURNING TO TELEVISION AS AN ALL-NEW MINISERIES ON FOX Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, full color illustrations, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science. Praise for Cosmos “Magnificent . . . With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.”—The Plain Dealer “Sagan is an astronomer with one eye on the stars, another on history, and a third—his mind’s—on the human condition.”—Newsday “Brilliant in its scope and provocative in its suggestions . . . shimmers with a sense of wonder.”—The Miami Herald “Sagan dazzles the mind with the miracle of our survival, framed by the stately galaxies of space.”—Cosmopolitan “Enticing . . . iridescent . . . imaginatively illustrated.”—The New York Times Book Review




The Unpersuadables


Book Description

“A tour de force . . . [Storr’s] dogged approach to nailing many of the most celebrated skeptics in lies and misrepresentations is welcome.” —Salon Why, that is, did the obviously intelligent man beside him sincerely believe in Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden and a six-thousand-year-old Earth, in spite of the evidence against them? It was the start of a journey that would lead Storr all over the world—from Texas to Warsaw to the Outer Hebrides—meeting an extraordinary cast of modern heretics whom he tries his best to understand. Storr tours Holocaust sites with famed denier David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences his own murder during “past life regression” hypnosis, discusses the looming One World Government with an iconic climate skeptic, and investigates the tragic life and death of a woman who believed her parents were high priests in a baby-eating cult. Using a unique mix of highly personal memoir, investigative journalism, and the latest research from neuroscience and experimental psychology, Storr reveals how the stories we tell ourselves about the world invisibly shape our beliefs, and how the neurological “hero maker” inside us all can so easily lead to self-deception, toxic partisanship and science denial. “The subtle brilliance of The Unpersuadables is Mr. Storr’s style of letting his subjects hang themselves with their own words.” —The Wall Street Journal “Throws new and salutary light on all our conceits and beliefs. Very valuable, and a great read to boot, this is investigative journalism of the highest order.” —The Independent, Book of the Week




The Cosmic Connection


Book Description

The question we will always be asking but will never know the answer is the question: Is there life in Outer Space? I think that almost every thinking person believes that life exists out there somewhere? But finding life is almost meaningless unless we can find intelligent life that can communicate with us. And for what purpose? We now know that it is almost certain that chemical spores can be created and if enough of them come together life can form. For life to have meaning, it must be able to reproduce itself and to create more of them.