Tuesday, August 10, 2010

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

Written by: Carl Sagan

First line: It was a blustery fall day in 1939.

Why you should read this book: Popular and charismatic scientist, author, and television personality, Carl Sagan bemoans the gullibility of modern audiences and advocates greater funding for science education and experimentation as a bulwark against ignorance, superstitious hysteria, and pseudoscience. Along the way, he advocates for the scientific method, debunks most every popular belief about aliens, UFOs, and New Age thinking, and includes, for the reader's convenience, his "Baloney Detection" kit: a detailed explanation of various types of logical fallacies that impede intelligent thinking about the world. Advocating for equal parts wonder and skepticism, this book is a call for reason in an age where reason is increasingly held in disdain.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You only need one book to tell you about the nature of reality, and you think it was written by an ephemeral, bearded old white guy who lives in the sky.

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