A Demon Haunted World: Well I can certainly see why this book was rated with five stars. I found Sagan s book, A demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark one of the most eye-opening books that I have read in a very long time. I must admit that when this book was first presented to me I doubted just how great this would be. Here in my head I was thinking Okay I don t want to read a book about engineering I want to do engineering. But the thought process went on and I must admit it was well worth reading this book. Although the book was slow to begin, as most books are, the pace picked up and took me right along for the ride.
The main theme of this book was how much science not only opens are minds but also how much science influences our lives. I liked the example that Sagan uses close to the beginning of this story of how he was at a gathering and asked everyone in the room how many of them had not been helped someway in their lives by science. I thought the fact that only one person raised their hand was a good way of showing just how influential science is in everyone s lives.
I think that there could also be another theme for this book. The other theme I saw to be very present throughout the book was the mere fact that science alone can not necessarily answer questions but can give the flaws to someone s story. I am very interested in and have been a strong believer in the idea of alien abductions. In fact, I even wrote a whole research essay last year explaining why I believed them to be true. After reading Sagan s book I now wish I had read it earlier. The fact that many of the abducted may have had earlier troubles in life that may have influenced the legitimacy of the person s story never came up in any of the books I had read prior.
Do you believe in Ghost s? Well, truth goes to show that ghost s can not be proved by any scientific method. Sagan believes that many of these so-called ghosts are really just your imagination running wild. That was Sagan s attitude in this book. I think that Sagan believes that science does do a lot of good for this world and for the lives of many, but still there are just some things that have no scientific way of being proved. Whether you believe it or not, if you can t scientifically prove it you really don t have any proof it really happened. This attitude works perfectly with the whole alien abduction belief perfectly. Although many say that they have been abducted, what proof do they really have? The fact that some woman says she was abducted by aliens, raped and violated doesn t mean that she really isn t going insane. I mean words are mere words, but real hard pure evidence needs no words at all.
Sagan views science, technology and engineering as positive forces in society. He believes that almost anything can be proved using some form of science, technology and/or engineering. Although there will always be some things that science cannot prove, chances are that science has proof. Stated by Sagan, If science can prove ninety nine percent, what is the other one percent? Does this mean that we are just to disregard that other one percent that cannot be proved as fake? Disregarding that would be closing off our minds to education. There will always be some things in this world that will have no explanation and will take a lot more than science, technology and engineering methods to solve, but chances are that someday those too will be solved. And I am sure just when those are solved more will be created thus creating the cycle of science, technology and engineering. For if there is ever a point where we know it all we surely haven t asked ourselves enough questions.
Sagan addresses some negative aspects of science and technology throughout his book. Granted science has helped save the lives of many but a couple decades back it was those lives that science was risking in order to test their idea s. Sagan also mentions many things such as ghosts and alien abductions that can not be proven. But not to fear because Sagan is assured that science will eventually figure these things out too. Unfortunately, science does not have a time-line of when those things will be figured out. Unfortunately science cannot tell you when there will be a cure for AIDS or a cure for the common cold. It is through massive research and trial and error that eventually these things too will be conquered. So is this to say that science is this big problem solving machine that no one ever doubts? Definitely not. But Sagan does address the problem that not many young adults view science as important. Not many of them are really taking in to account just how useful and life saving science can be later down in life. Sagan believe that science is a candle in the dark that without proper knowledge and/or curiosity will eventually burn out.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book. Although at times I was a bit confused on what exactly Sagan was getting at and at times the book was a bit slow, I fought through it and got to the end. Now that I am at the end I realize just how in the dark I was and just how to go about changing that. Sagan has allowed me the knowledge to light my candle and keep on burning. No wonder this was a five star book!