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Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 12:07amSanction this postReply
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 The Demon Haunted World is without a doubt one of the best books I've ever read. I had tears in my eyes after I finished it and thought about what a terrible loss it was when Carl Sagan died. And what a terrible loss for me that I wasn't previously more familiar with Mr. Sagan's work beyond having seen the movie Contact. This is an amazing, awe-inspiring yet thought provoking book that's been masterfully written.

 Just as I felt after reading Atlas Shrugged nearly five years ago, I wish I'd read this book many years earlier. Now I will be recommending The Demon Haunted World to anyone and everyone that will listen, particularly Objectivists. Why? Because an awful lot of Objectivists could benefit greatly from the many wise passages such as this:

In the way that skepticism is sometimes applied to issues of public concern, there is a tendency to belittle, to condescend, to ignore the fact, that, deluded or not, supporters of superstitions and pseudoscience are human-beings with real beliefs, who, like the skeptics, are trying to figure out how the world works and what our role in it might be. Their motives are in many cases consonant with science. If their culture has not given them all the tools they need to pursue this great quest, let us temper our criticism with kindness. None of us comes fully equipped.



(Edited by Marvin Paul Thomas on 11/27, 12:08am)




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Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 6:39amSanction this postReply
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I found his earlier work, The Cosmic Connection to also be of much value, especially in refuting those 'galactic empires' notions, yet imply an interesting new way of civilization - the eternal traveling trader, whose home is essentially the universe itself...



Post 2

Sunday, November 27, 2005 - 7:47amSanction this postReply
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This got a red check from me.

Reading this book, I have wanted to take this or that for a quotable quote or a footer, but it could not be done.  There are no pithy quotes or little gems here.  It is all close reasoning and you have to read the book in full focus.

Much of Sagan is "object-ivist" because he was a scientist. Much is "object-ionable."  I believe from inferences that he ran into Richard Feynman  backstage of the Tonight Show and Feynman told him that SETI was cargo cult science.  Be that as it may, I have Contact on the same shelf as my physics and astronomy books.  His Cosmos presentation, "Backbone of the Night" caused my interest in collecting ancient Greek coins by the times and towns of philosophers. 

I carry extra copies of The Elements of Style that I give to youngsters who say that they want to be writers.  Perhaps giving out Demon-Haunted World would do a world of good -- if the recipient is open to learning.  A middle school science class might be a good venue.




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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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This is an excellent book which I recommend highly.



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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 9:51amSanction this postReply
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I've had it on my bookshelf for years. Wonderful book which enriched my intellectual growth. I recommend it highly.



Post 5

Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 9:21pmSanction this postReply
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> he debunks alien abduction, faith-healing, and channeling; refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality, and provides a "baloney detection kit" [Barry K]

There is a whole world of books out there with new ideas and new knowledge I don't already possess. I have a tendency to read books on new subjects or ones where I expect to acquire new knowledge, rather than ones on things which I already know...or arguments I already possess.

Is there a reason to read this book if one already knows what is wrong with various anti-science views such as faith-healing or is already very far along in "baloney detection", etc.?



Post 6

Thursday, March 9, 2006 - 3:28pmSanction this postReply
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Phil:
Is there a reason to read this book if one already knows what is wrong with various anti-science views such as faith-healing or is already very far along in "baloney detection", etc?
     Ummm-m-m, to hone one's skills re such? No-o-o-o.
     To refine one's awareness in identifying new forms of such (especially the 'etc')? No-o-o-o.
     To appreciate Carl Sagan's perspective on all such subjects? Yes-s-s-s!
 
 
    I  learned much of what I know about 'science' from Asimov; I learned most of what I know about 'scientific thinking' from Sagan. This is one of those books one can learn from re merely seeing another thinker's perspective...even if on familiar subjects.

     Amongst the 'billions and billions and billions' of stars to find in the galaxies of bookstores to visit, this is one Supernova to check out...whether one's a seasoned 'astronomer' or not.

LLAP
J:D




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Thursday, March 9, 2006 - 4:13pmSanction this postReply
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Question: Is there a reason to read this book if one already knows what is wrong with various anti-science views such as faith-healing...? {Phil]
Answer: I learned most of what I know about 'scientific thinking' from Sagan...merely seeing another thinker's perspective. [LLAP]

Explanation, concretes, details - at least one or two rather than just a floating abstract statement.

Please!



Post 8

Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 12:16pmSanction this postReply
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Phil:
 
     You split-quoted me with a follow-up demand:
[Answer:] I learned most of what I know about 'scientific thinking' from Sagan...merely seeing another thinker's perspective. [LLAP]
Explanation, concretes, details - at least one or two rather than just a floating abstract statement.
     What's your prob? You like to provoke for the sake of it? If I say that I learned most of what I know of architecture from Frank Lloyd Wright, would this be another 'floating abstract statement'?
If so, methinks you need to recheck the meaning of the concept.

     What part of "I-learned-most-of..." do you not understand? What part appears 'rationalizing'? Or, is it the rest of the statement you have a prob with...like, maybe, the part with the name 'Sagan'?

FYT
J-D




Post 9

Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 9:12amSanction this postReply
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John, when someone asks for details or concretization, just give them instead of getting defensive and changing the subject to Frank Lloyd Wright.



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