The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Darkness

By Carl Sagan

Random House, N.Y., 1995

480 pages

Carl Sagan is a Cornell University astronomer, a Pulitzer Prize winning author of popular science books like Cosmos and a self-proclaimed skeptic of the paranormal. Of course Carl Sagan includes UFO's as a part of the paranormal psuedo-science he likes to ridicule along with reincarnation, astrology and New Age channelers.  Although there is some merit to some of Sagan's statements he has a tendency to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" as the old saying goes. The problem is Sagan's own narrow-minded mindset.  He is a scientific materialist, a humorist whose world-view cannot allow for a Supreme Being or any purpose to this life on the universe.  Though Sagan would be the last to admit it, his own view of the universe is in its own way just as unbelievable as some New Ager like Shirley MacLaine. Because Sagan would have us believe everything in the universe is a product of pure choice.  Over billions of years by accident man evolved from little amoebas.  There is no Creator.  Religion is all a fraud.  When you die you become worm-food, nothing more.  There is no Afterlife, no final judgment for one's sins or for one's good deeds.  Mankind will eventually become extinct like other animals.  In Sagan's view those who believe in anything paranormal are a dangerous threat to democracy and need to be taught the error of their institutional ways.
In my opinion it is people like Sagan who give science a bad name.  He is part of the politically correct thought-police who attempts to tell us what to think and believe in.  He is not in favor of serious scientific investigation into phenomena like UFO's.  After all he has already disproven UFO's in a previous book so why should anyone give UFO's a second thought! UFO believers in his view are gullible and ignorant.  Sagan believes there is life elsewhere in the universe but that these life forms are not visiting Earth.  (Although in a book he wrote in the 1960's he stated that extraterrestrials may have visited Earth in ancient times and been responsible for the myths of gods.  A view later popularized by Erich Von Daniken in Chariots of the Gods.)  Sagan seems to want to have his cake and eat it too.  He doesn't believe in UFO's or the supernatural yet to disprove religion and the ideas of God he's stated extraterrestrials visited man in ancient times and perhaps even created man.  To me, Sagan is an arrogant person who believes he and he alone is the protector of the truth.  His God is Science as he claims in the subtitle of his book.  Science is the Candle That Lights Up to Darkness.  In Sagan's view we who believe in a Supreme Being or in the study of UFO's or anything paranormal are living in the Dark and it is he, Carl Sagan who will show us the Light not Jesus Christ!  May I remind the readers that several years ago during the Cold War it was Sagan who was endorsing a unilateral disarmament of our nuclear weapons.  In other words he felt the U.S. should get rid of its nuclear weapons and hopefully the Soviet Union would too!  In my opinion his naiveté about the Soviets is just as bad as some naive New Ager who believes tabloid magazine stories are true.
Fortunately there are scientists who are studying the unknown and the paranormal in pursuit of greater knowledge. Carl Sagan is not one of them.  Since in his view he already has the truth.