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Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World

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Question 1: 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.

Answer: 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:

1. Statements from an article by Carl Sagan  at, 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."

Answer: 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.

As 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 demonology

2. Next, read the insightful comment below by Dr. Phillip Johnson, a scientists and author of worldwide renown:

"[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."

 Phillip E. Johnson - National Review

3. Book review: The Demon-Haunted World

"I've been 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 another bully.

"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."

Answer: 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 embraced.

"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."

4. "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 society.

"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 Huxley (1825-1895)

5. 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."

Answer: In 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 Dark

"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 Science, Saving the Earth and 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 demonology

In addition, the best scientific answers to Sagan's evolutionary arguments can be found at

6. 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 abuse. ..."
From Library Journal  
A Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer argues that scientific illiteracy and our new-found suspicion of the rational threatens democratic institutions."

Answer: This 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 Mental Health.

7. From chapter titled, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection" by Carl Sagan

"Somehow, 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 knowledge.”

"Clement, Hume, Paine, and Huxley were all talking about religion. But much of what they wrote has more general applications....

"These 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."

Answer: Please read A New Way of Thinking and Brainwashing in America.

In 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."

Answer: 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) conclusions.

.... In 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:

  • ad 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.)

Answer: Dr. Sagan doesn't understand the mysteries of God, and therefore he simply denies the existence of God. But God tells us:

"'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'


"But 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."  Corinthians 2:9-10, 16

Why 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.'  Psalm 53:1

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise."  Proverbs 12:15


"Where 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 men." 1 Corinthians 1:20-25

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20

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