OK, that’s a bad play on a phrase Carl Sagan never actually said (“Billions and billions.”)
Anyway, I just got his book “Demon-Haunted World: Science as a candle in the dark” last week.
I love this book. And I’m barely into it yet. If I could require all Americans to read just the intro and 1st chapter, I would like to think anyone with an even vaguely curious mind wouldn’t be able to put it down.
Carl Sagan was in love with the universe. All of its wonder and mystery, and it shows. He was in awe with all that science has and has the potential to discover.
The premise of the book is partly how to look at the world skeptically (NOT cynically) and not believe anything that just sounds good and SEEMS to make sense. Investigate, put it to the test. And partly a love story to science. In fact, the only drawback the book has is he has a tendancy to go on for huge swaths of time listing item after item that science is responsible for, from antibiotics to rocket fuel, from carpet cleaners to pacemakers. Like I just did but for paragraphs.
It gets the point across. He’s trying to show people that real science is so much more interesting and useful, effective and concrete than pseudoscience. He expresses the same frustration I have at people who may actually be curious and intelligent but because of either lack of skepticism or lack of our school systems and culture putting the emphasis on real science, people are more prone to “study” ghosts and bigfoot and angels and aliens and Atlantis and ESP and spoon bending than they are of real advances in artificial intelligence and understanding the mysteries of other galaxies or the astonishing uses of retroviruses….