Demon Haunted World
~ Q&A Index
Our high school chemistry teacher requires all his students to read Demon
Haunted World by Carl Sagan. It has already caused my son to start
questioning everything we hold dear, and last Sunday he refused to go to
Church. I have already contacted the Chemistry teacher, but he is adamant
about forcing students to read it. What can I do?
Question 2: My daughter got back from her first day back in
school, and I found out that one of the books that she is required to read
for her high school science class is Demon Haunted World by Carl
Sagan. After reading only a single chapter in class, I have noticed that
she has started to question many things such as the existence of Witchcraft
and Demons and the reliability of the Bible. Could you send me information
about this book and ways to fight against its pull since I am afraid to read
it for myself.
I can only begin an answer today, since I haven't yet read the book
myself. But the Internet offers much information about this influential book, so
I will share what I have gathered so far. Below are some raves and reviews
from various websites, followed by my comments or arguments. I hope these
will provide some evidence you can use to refute Dr. Sagan's biased
arguments and atheistic-and-globalist worldview:
Statements from an article by Carl Sagan
which makes the same point as his book:
"Everything hinges on the matter of
evidence. On so important a question as UFOs, the evidence must be
airtight. The more we want it to be true, the more careful we have
to be. No witness's say-so is good enough. People make mistakes.
People play practical jokes. People stretch the truth for money, attention
or fame. People occasionally misunderstand what they're seeing. People
sometimes even see things that aren't there.
"Essentially all the UFO cases were
anecdotes--something asserted. Most people honestly reported what they
saw, but what they saw were often natural--if unfamiliar--phenomena.
Some UFO sightings turned out to be unconventional aircraft; conventional
aircraft with unusual lighting patterns; high-altitude balloons;
luminescent insects; planets seen under unusual atmospheric conditions;
optical mirages and loomings; lenticular clouds; ball lightning; sun dogs;
meteors, including green fireballs; and artificial satellites, nose cones
and rocket boosters spectacularly reentering the atmosphere. (There are so
many artificial satellites up there that they're always making garish
displays somewhere in the world."
Dr. Sagan seems to leave out the facts and documentation that cannot be
explained. He calls for "airtight" evidence, but usually presents the
anecdotal stories and hoaxes that can readily be disproven -- then
blends obvious hoaxes with his hostile views of Christian faith and
other legitimate beliefs.
for his specific arguments against the spiritual realities of UFOs, please read
the evidence and conclusions presented by other respected scientist
concerning such phenomena: See
Aliens, UFOs and
Next, read the insightful
comment below by Dr. Phillip Johnson, a scientists and author of
"[Sagan] mainly picks on easy targets like UFO
abductions, faith healers, and New Age spirit guides. . . . The kind
of readers who buy 457-page books about scientific reasoning could use
something a bit more challenging. For example, . . . how are citizens to
distinguish between scare tactics and genuine science when
environmentalists demand that some chemical be banned? . . . Instead
of addressing meaty scientific topics like these, this rambling book is
filled with off-hand opinions supported mainly by anecdotal evidence, in flagrantviolation of Sagan's own professed standards."
Johnson - National Review
3. Book review:
The Demon-Haunted World
familiar with Carl Sagan from way back. I remember him smiling out from
the flickering glare of the family television, introducing me to the
wonders of the Universe. He was always a friendly man, visibly excited
about what he was showing us. It seemed almost unfair to make fun of his
use of the word "billions."
"But in The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan is an angry man. No, he
doesn't throw open his window, and scream, "I'm mad as h__, and I'm not
going to take it anymore!" In true Carl Sagan fashion, he presents his
readers with the frustrations he feels with the seemingly inexorable
and world wide trend towards foolishness.
"Now, Sagan is often misunderstood, and maybe my interpretation of his
motivations are an example of that. But in the book's preface, he
introduces us to the power he felt when he finally bloodied the nose of
the local bully. I felt that he clearly was out to bloody the nose of
"The book is divided into twenty-five somewhat rambling chapters. There
are references for most of his substantive statements, although
they aren't footnoted. ...
"The thread that runs through all twenty-five chapters is that a
democracy depends on the public's ability to make informed decisions.
Yet, he maintains, the ability of a citizen of the USA - and just
about anywhere else - to make these decisions is almost fatally hampered
by the prevalence of superstition, uncritically consumed by us every
minute of every day."
Notice that Sagan's
use of the word "superstition" includes faith and the Biblical truths
that helped lay the foundations for American freedom. In its place,
Sagan promotes the kind of evolutionary faith that he himself has
"Sagan pulls few
punches. He takes on religions and religious leaders who encourage
their followers to believe in miracles. He takes aim at work-a-day
frauds and the popular media that expose them to the sparkle of a circus
instead of the glare of skeptical examination. He castigates the
unwillingness to sufficiently fund education, and he blasts the
educators who take a child who loves to learn and turn her into a
teenager who is afraid to learn."
"Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted
World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
"Sagan also addresses
pseudoscience in the most eloquent way. He clearly debunks many
pseudoscientific beliefs, such as alien abductions, astrology, and the face
on Mars. But, debunking these beliefs is not his point. He delves deeply
into why they arose and what their impact is on our psyches and on our
"I have here collected some
extracts from the book that I hope will capture some of the point of the
work and a tiny sampling of its insights.
'To discover that the
Universe is some 8 to 15 billion years and not 6 to 12 thousand years
old improves our appreciation of its sweep and grandeur; to entertain the
notion that we are a particularly complex arrangement of atoms, and not
some breath of divinity, at the very least enhances our respect for atoms;
to discover, as now seems probable, that our planet is one of billions of
other worlds in the Milky Way Galaxy and that our galaxy is one of
billions more, majestically expands the arena of what is possible; to find
that our ancestors were also the ancestors of apes ties us to the rest of
life and makes possible important - if occasionally rueful - reflections
on human nature."
Dr. Sagan quoted
Thomas Henry Huxley, grandfather of Aldous and Julian Huxley, and the
prime promoter of Darwinianism in England:
"Trust a witness in all
matters in which neither his self-interest, his passions, his
prejudices, nor the love of the marvelous is strongly concerned. When
they are involved, require corroborative evidence in exact proportion to
the contravention of probablity by the thing testified." Thomas Henry
Demon Haunted World
"Carl Sagan muses on the
current state of scientific thought, which offers him marvelous
opportunities to entertain us with his own childhood experiences, the
newspaper morgues, UFO stories, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of
pseudoscience. Along the way he debunks alien abduction, faith-healing,
and channeling; refutes the arguments that science destroys spirituality,
and provides a "baloney detection kit" for thinking through political,
social, religious, and other issues. --This text refers to an out of print
or unavailable edition of this title."
other words, he debunks anything that cannot be explained according to
his agnostic, naturalistic worldview.
The following quotes
are book reviews from the above url:
Science As a Candle in the
"How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly
technology-driven lives if we don't understand the difference between the
myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer
Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that
scientific thinking is critical not only to the pursuit of truth but to
the very well-being of our democratic institutions."
Answer: Yet our schools have replaced genuine science with
appalling pseudoscience designed to promote UN-based philosophies and
global controls. So did the State of the World Forums where Sagan was an
honored speaker. See
Saving the Earth
The State of the World
according to Gorbachev.
"Casting a wide net through history and culture, Sagan examines and
authoritatively debunks such celebrated fallacies of the past as
witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. And yet, disturbingly, in
today's so-called information age, pseudoscience is burgeoning with
stories of alien abduction, channeling past lives, and communal
hallucinations commanding growing attention and respect."
Again, I suggest you see
Aliens, UFOs and
In addition, the
best scientific answers to Sagan's evolutionary arguments can be found at
Reviews - From Publisher's Weekly
"Eminent Cornell astronomer and bestselling author Sagan debunks the
paranormal and the unexplained in a study that will reassure hardcore
skeptics but may leave others unsatisfied. To him, purported UFO
encounters and alien abductions are products of gullibility,
hallucination, misidentification, hoax and therapists' pressure;
some alleged encounters, he suggests, may screen memories of sexual
From Library Journal
"A Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer argues that scientific
illiteracy and our new-found suspicion of the rational threatens
argument matches UN arguments that Biblical faith violates its
principles of "tolerance" and is therefore "a threat to the whole
world." Please see
The UN Plan for Your
chapter titled, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection" by
though, this does not quite offer the consolations of religion. If none of
us is to have any recollection of what happened this time around, the time
the reader and I are sharing, the satisfactions of bodily resurrection, in
my ears at least, ring hollow.
"But in this
reflection I have underestimated what infinity means. In Haldane's picture,
there will he universes, indeed an infinite number of them, in which our
brains will have full recollection of many previous rounds. Satisfaction is
at hand -- tempered, though, by the thought of all those other universes
which will also come into existence (again, not once but an infinite number
of times) with tragedies and horrors vastly outstripping anything I've
experienced this turn."
...Quotes T. H. Huxley: “The foundation of morality is to ... give up
pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating
unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of
"Clement, Hume, Paine, and Huxley were all talking about religion. But much
of what they wrote has more general applications....
are all cases of proved or presumptive baloney. A deception arises,
sometimes innocently but collaboratively, sometimes with cynical
premeditation. Usually the victim is caught up in a powerful emotion --
wonder, fear, greed, grief. Credulous acceptance of baloney can cost you
money; that's what P. T. Barnum meant when he said, 'There's a sucker born
every minute.' But it can be much more dangerous than that, and when
governments and societies lose the capacity for critical thinking, the
results can be catastrophic -- however sympathetic we may be to those who
have bought the baloney."
A New Way of Thinking
Brainwashing in America.
science we may start with experimental results, data, observations,
measurements, "facts." We invent, if we can, a rich array of possible
explanations and systematically confront each explanation with the facts."
That's exactly what
Dr. Sagan fails to do. He seems to leave out facts (that conflict with his own presuppositions -- his own preferred (and politically correct)
addition to teaching us what to do when evaluating a claim to knowledge, any
good baloney detection kit must also teach us what not to do. It helps us
recognize the most common and perilous fallacies of logic and
rhetoric. Many good examples can be found in religion and politics, because
their practitioners are so often obliged to justify two contradictory
propositions. Among these fallacies are:
hominem... attacking the arguer and not the argument ....
special pleading, often to rescue a proposition in deep rhetorical trouble
(e.g., How can a merciful God condemn future generations to torment because,
against orders, one woman induced one man to eat an apple? Special plead:
you don't understand the subtle Doctrine of Free Will. Or: How can there be
an equally godlike Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the same Person? Special
plead: You don't understand the Divine Mystery of the Trinity. ...
And anyway, God moves in mysterious ways.)
Dr. Sagan doesn't
understand the mysteries of God, and therefore he simply denies the
existence of God. But God tells us:
has not seen, nor ear heard,
have entered into the heart of man
The things which God
has prepared for those who love Him.'
God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches
all things, yes, the deep things of God.... For 'who has known the mind of the
Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ."
can we be so confident? Because God tells us in Galatians 2:20 and elsewhere
that He lives in us!
In contrast, the
Bible identifies those who deny God as fools:
"The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'
way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is
is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age?
Has not God
made foolish the wisdom of this world?
"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know
God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save
those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks
foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews. Because the
foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than
walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be