The Demon-Haunted World — Danish Prakash

The Demon-Haunted World

Only if this was mandatory reading in schools for the children, we’d all be thinking more critically and be skeptical, for all the good reasons. This book shows the common shortcomings of us humans and how that leads us to believe in things such as ghosts, UFOs, and might I add religion. On their own, these phenomena are not harmful, but valorizing them in the face of scientific facts that say otherwise, is troublesome, as the author goes on to show in much detail.

The first half of the book is mostly debunking supernatural, religious, or other-worldly occurrences, which is nothing short of amusing. But it’s the second half of the book that is more sobering, the discussion about how Science is in danger. And not just science, the scientists, teachers, mentors, and essentially everyone who encourages critical thinking and skepticism, are in danger. This cohort is being cast aside and the free-reigning research that has led to all the innovations so far in the history of humanity is being threatened too. He then talks about the love and importance of reading and learning and how it affects society.

That this book was published in 1995, a year before I was born, is telling. Far from things changing for the better, at least in my humble opinion, and based so far on the world I’ve seen, which is very little, I think I can go out on a limb and say that the situation is getting worse. But one can hope. One thing that stood out throughout this book was the utter humility of Carl Sagan, unlike some other skeptical authors, such as Richard Dawkins, he empathizes with non-scientific folks and urges the two parties to work together.

Must read.