Demon haunted world?

I have seen this book recommended by an atheist to his former preist (pastor?) on reddit in a discussion and wanted to know if it was any good or not?

P.s. I do not know much about carl sagan as he was before my time.

  • An “atheist book recommendation to a priest on reddit in a discussion” sounds about as reliable as a claim about somebody on a toilet wall. But wikipedia The Demon-Haunted World says:
    • “the authors aim to explain the scientific method and to encourage people to learn critical and skeptical hinking. They explain methods to help distinguish between ideas that are considered valid science and those that can be considered pseudoscience. Sagan states that when new ideas are offered for consideration, they should be tested by means of skeptical thinking and should stand up to rigorous questioning.”
      • That sounds like “good stuff”, eh?
  • Regarding the authors, Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan,
  • One of the challenges a critical-thinking skeptic might face is: How does one go about
    testing for “demons”? Would PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) protest your use of animals in testing? If so, what are the chances of getting human volunteers for “demon possession”? I dunno.
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I’ve not read this book yet. I thought about reading it before, I think it was shared on here before or maybe it was a FB group. Could have even been a different book but similar.

Though I think it sounds like a good book, I guess I mostly would not read it since I already have a similar understanding. For example from Wikipedia where it says this.

“As an example of skeptical thinking, Sagan offers a story concerning a fire-breathing dragon who lives in his garage. When he persuades a rational, open-minded visitor to meet the dragon, the visitor remarks that they are unable to see the creature. Sagan replies that he “neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon”. The visitor suggests spreading flour on the floor so that the creature’s footprints might be seen, which Sagan says is a good idea, “but this dragon floats in the air”. When the visitor considers using an infrared camera to view the creature’s invisible fire , Sagan explains that her fire is heatless. He continues to counter every proposed physical test with a reason why the test will not work.

Sagan concludes by asking: “Now what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true.”

Continuing with concepts relevant to the ‘dragon in my garage’ story, Sagan writes about a patient of John. who claimed to have scars on her body which were from encounters with aliens. Sagan writes that if the patient is asked what her scars look like, she is unable to show them because, unfortunately, they are located in the private areas of her body.”

I do think the book is probably helpful in encouraging critical thinking in those who just readily accepts anything supernatural. There are different types of people on this planet and it’s unrelated to intelligence. Some will just about believe anything they are told. Someone won’t believe anything they are told. Either view is better for worse than the other, presuming it’s not something evil. As long as the person who is gullible is not being taken advantage of and as long as the critical thinking is not waging war on everyone’s experience, they simply walk away believing or disbelieving it, then I don’t think either way os better or worse.

Though not supernatural, there have been times I’ve listened to a podcast talk about a species of plant, and because the guy is a expert, I accept by faith they got it right. Like the way to say a plants scientific name, or they say that studies shows this family evolved from plants up north that worked their way down south. Is just accept it. I share it. It’s just a bit of trivia in my mind. Only years, or months , ir even weeks later, another expert says it differently, or states that some misunderstood a paper where it said this plant started up north, but actually it started in Southern Africa, went north, went across into what’s now greenland and Canada and then once in what we call the Americas, it begin to move south. So I read the cited sources, contact the previous guy/girl and bring it up, and they respond back thanks, they did misread the article about it and ect…it happens. Most of the time it’s not harmful.

But there are times when being gullible is bad. Such as someone who readily believes rumors about others and so they treat that person as if they are less. Or if someone who has a mental disorder is accused of being demonically possessed and goes through abuse at the hands of a priest and dies from dehydration or stress induced heart attacks, or when someone is shown a vision by god and other believe it and it’s seemingly in contradiction with scripture and causes craziness to occur in the lives of those who believe it (such as end time cults ) or end time beliefs , or y2k stuff and ect…

So it’s important to apply critical thinking to everything, but just because most of it seems to fall apart, or either has no actual evidence either way, it’s mean spirited to just attack everyone.

When hiking I often meet people who have Bigfoot stories. I really enjoy Bigfoot stories. I really like the folklore around it. But I don’t believe it at all. I have never told a single person who shares their story with me about Bigfoot that I think they are either delusional or lying. I listen to it, I enjoy it, I make comments like “‘this is a big world who knows what’s all out there “ and so on. Everyone leaves feeling positive, and I leave positive from the experience as well, and simply don’t believe it and view it as a little fun story.

One of my grandfather’s students claimed that the government was producing 10-foot wingspan Cooper’s Hawks for some nefarious purpose or other, and that he had seen one. My grandfather decided not to ask for further details.

I’d have asked for a feather.

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Kinda like how I’ve heard antitheists state that christians are stupid and are moslty right winged bigots whom are illogical and unreasonable, etc.

I have seen alot of “theists” in comment sections going “these are the end times” whenever they see something they don’t agree with morally or even politically.

What does your grandfather teach?

Okay …okay …, we get the idea. :laughing:

Remember: “End Times” have been coming for 2,000 years.


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To be honest I’m not sure if there are more or less American Christians that are right winged vs left winged. When I was in Portland the bulk of them were left winged. in Alabama where I’m at the it definitely seems like the ones you described. But your words not mine xd.

Carl Sagan was a brilliant, accomplished scientist. He also hosted the much-loved “Cosmos” series, and did lots of other cool stuff.

I haven’t read the book, and neither, apparently has anybody else here, so a discussion on it seems pretty pointless. Why not just read it?

He’s retired now, he taught undergraduate geology for 44 years.

He died of cancer in 1996, at just 62 years of age. I believe that Astrophysics was his thing.

  • P’s grandfather was the geology teacher.
  • Carl Sagan was the Astrophysicist.
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Oh, okay. It helps to quote the question you’re answering.

That’s pretty cool :sunglasses:

Great book, every person should read this one. It’s one of my favorites.

It’s really just a book on critical thinking and superstition. It’s not really inherently pro or anti theism, rather I’d say it’s more about understanding where or how to draw lines of awareness or knowledge about topics. Things that really every person should consider and understand in life in a broad sense.

Some people who don’t believe in God might view it as a book that suggests that there is no God because theism isn’t really a concept that can be clearly scientifically investigated (much like the dragon in the garage). But scientific pursuit has never really impeded our growth in Christ historically, it only refines it.

Now, if someone grew up in a very conservative home, maybe more on the anti-science end of things, this book might be an uncomfortable read, much like reading books on things like ANE cosmology might be uncomfortable for concordists, but studying and learning really shouldn’t be considered a problem for the church.

So I suppose the book probably wouldn’t be an easy read for people who haven’t wrestled with topics of science. But most of the locals here on biologos I imagine would find it a comfortable read.

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