Carl Sagan was a great scientist, science popularizer, astrobiologist, astrophysicist and an even better writer. The way his books make even the dullest of us understand science and appreciate it is beautiful. He is undoubtedly one of my most favourite writers, and books like Cosmos, A Pale Blue Dot, and The Demon-Haunted World prove why.
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
The Demon-Haunted World is a really good book to start your journey towards the world of science. Throughout the book Sagan has beautifully explained the readers how important science is in the development of mankind and to understand our surroundings. The books amazingly tackles all sorts of pseudosciences, illogical explanations and so-called mysterious activities around us. In the book, Sagan also discusses the famous ‘Crop Circles’, the real story behind them,and how even after the truth was discovered, people chose to cling to the still-held famous notion that it was created by aliens. He takes us on a ride inside the mind of a cynic and how he thinks! The book teaches us to think like a scientist. It encourages us to question, and to accept evidence. I personally was shocked by the part where he discussed crop circles, *spoiler alert* The circles were created by two men, who use to skip out of their homes at night and drew them, to scare the neighbours. They accepted it themselves, and showed the machinery and devices they used. People in other parts of the world after hearing their story, copied them. This was all evidently proved, yet everyone was glued to the idea of aliens creating them, and refused to accept the evidence, and this is why this is still called ‘Unsolved’ even though it is! *spoiler ends*
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”
The book also talks about the famous UFO cases, especially from America. How they all have something similar? How is it that people who see them forget what happens next? Why do, if it is really them, aliens, if they want to expose themselves, come forward to people who will not be believed by the government? Why do most of these people have histories of conning or otherwise mental sickness? Sagan says most of them want to become popular, and some of them hallucinate, evidently. He very nicely deals with the topic with insights from the case files, and believe me they are sufficient to abandon the notion of UFO’s.
“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
No stones are left un-turned. All the common pseudoscientific practices are attacked , logically and backed by evidence. Science is based on facts, and studies of research. A lot of peer review goes into its validation, and this is what the book shows. If you want to give the scientist in you a refreshing knowledge to munch on THIS IS THE BOOK! If you haven’t yet discovered the scientist in you, give this book a shot. You will not be disappointed!
“But nature is always more subtle, more intricate, more elegant than what we are able to imagine.”
PS: This year has been really busy for me, especially college. A lot of syllabus to cover, many assignments, and less time. This is why I could hardly read any book, compared to the 12 previous year, but since the beginning of this blog, I have been inspired and I decided to read at least one book a month. I will be reviewing them here, in case someone happens to come across. The books will be science based and hopefully fun. Till then, Happy Reading!
-The Cosmogasmic Person