5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One of the best books I have ever read,
This review is from: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Paperback)
I have just finished reading this book. I read an extract from it in Richard Dawkinss' "The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing" (itself a splendid uplifting read) and immediately bought it. I can understand the reviewer who said this book changed their life. There are a few works every now and again that have such a profound message, such precision and clarity, such moral persuasiveness that they are able to give the reader a fresh pair of eyes on the world. This is such a book. Without getting too personal, it is interesting that a reviewer who gave it the lowest grade appeared (perhaps by refusing to take Sagan's advice of using Critical Thinking) to miss the point completely. I can appreciate that not everybody would share my view or get from this book what I and the others who gave it top marks did, but those who appear unwilling to listen at all simply make Sagan's point for him. Although an atheist myself, I know many intelligent kindly religious people who are far from dogmatic or dictatorial in their belief. The problem Sagan so clearly points out is that even very intelligent human beings are highly susceptible to delusion of all kinds and when they achieve a critical mass (no pun intended) are capable of committing monstrous crimes against their fellow citizens. Take a look at some of the present day's theocratic states for clear proof of how dogma can lead to barbarity. We were once little different in The West and there are those in our part of the world whose rhetoric makes some of us fearful they would send us straight back there. We all have to guard against wishful thinking and self-delusion no matter what our standpoint. Sagan's humane rationalism has an even greater need to take centre stage in the light of everything that has happened since this book was written. A great man and a sad loss to the human race.