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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 218

Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is a brilliant book that encourages readers to use critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and healthy skepticism to navigate life, rather than pseudoscience and superstition. Sagan warns readers of the danger of a superstitious and religion-dominated world in which critical thinking is not encouraged. Sagan uses wonderful and engaging storytelling to persuade readers to question the world around them. For example, Sagan presents a fictional scenario in which he attempts to persuade a person that an invisible, fire-breathing dragon lives in his garage. The person suggest several methods to test if the dragon does in fact exist. In the scenario, Sagan continually provides explanations for why the dragon's existence cannot be proved, even as the person offers multiple testing methods. Sagan encourages the readers to understand that being unable to disprove the dragon's existence through the scientific method does not therefore mean that the dragon exists. In this scenario, Sagan is challenging religious dogma and encouraging readers to use radical thinking. Sagan's use of this imaginative story emphasizes his desire to appeal to a wider range of readers than just his scientist peers. In my opinion, Sagan's book is certainly a wonderful, and not overtly academic, argument for the use of the scientific method and secular thinking.

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