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one of sagan's best books,
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This review is from: Varieties of Scientific Experience (Paperback)
having read most of carl sagan's books i was pleased to discover this new release a few months back. i was particularly attracted to the title having formerly read william james's excellent set of gifford lectures on religion and spirituality. this book is probably the most natural dialog i've read from carl sagan and i'm amazed this work was a transcript from original audio recordings. the q&a session at the back is superb, recalling the live sessions he shared with the audience in glasgow after each lecture. the content is fascinating, with a superb set of modern illustrations, tackling head on the big questions about the existence of the cosmos and the functionality and fallibility of religions. ann druyan did a superb job breathing life into this work and we can only thank her for releasing in my opinion his best ever book after cosmos.
this leads me to one gripe, and that's with the publishing of this book. on the back cover is a description that is completely at odds with the content of the book. it portrays this work and carl sagan as in some way part of the childish militant atheist movement led by people such as richard dawkings. furthermore it contains a typically nasty and barbed quotation from richard dawkings attempting to paraphrase who carl was and what his religious views were. i can understand penguin wanting to cash in on the modern anti-god zeitgeist but let's not use a dead man to champion a cause he was probably not fully committed to.
i'm not in any way saying carl wasn't critical of religion, but he did it in a way that was respectful and insightful. he won people over by inspiring rather than deriding; that's something that can't be said of richard dawkings.