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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.
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. As Sagan demonstrates with lucid eloquence, the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong turn but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms.
What are the origins of human intelligence? How did it evolve? What can its evolution tell us about the future of our species?
With his celebrated gift for graceful, inspired explication of complex scientific matters, Carl Sagan provides a breathtaking overview of the nature and development of human intelligence from prehistory to the present. His cosmological perspective gives his speculations a refreshing breadth, while his exhilarating segues from anatomical and biological detail to unexamined elements of enduring myths entwine human and natural history in provocative and illuminating ways.
Equally at ease with the scientific method and the literary imagination, Sagan is able to sketch a vision bold enough to engage in all its richness and perplexities the large question of what it means to be human, and to spice his speculations with…[more]
In 1973, Carl Sagan published The Cosmic Connection, a daring view of the universe, which rapidly became a classic work of popular science and inspired a generation of scientists and enthusiasts. This seminal work is reproduced here for a whole new generation to enjoy. In Sagan’s typically lucid and lyrical style, he discusses many topics from astrophysics and solar system science, to colonization, terraforming and the search for extraterrestrials. Sagan conveys his own excitement and wonder, and relates the revelations of astronomy to the most profound human problems and concerns: issues that are just as valid today as they were thirty years ago.
New to this edition are Freeman Dyson’s comments on Sagan’s vision and the importance of the work, Ann Druyan’s assessment of Sagan’s cultural significance as a champion of science, and David Morrison’s discussion of the advances made since…[more]
In December, 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who—or what—is out there?
In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future—and our own.