Tuesday, April 5, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: D is for Demon-Haunted World

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories D
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: D is for Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

A slight shift today.  I CAN'T talk about Conspiracy Theories and not talk about Carl Sagan's last book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.

I have mentioned before that Sagan and his book Cosmos had a deep and profound effect on my thinking coming out of the "extra hippie shit" coming out of the 70s into the 80s.

This book is now 25 years old but reads like it could have been written just 2 years ago.   So many of the Conspiracy Theories I am going to be talking about here have been so masterfully destroyed by Sagan and his "Baloney detection kit" that I do feel a tinge of professional guilt talking about them here when they should be ignored.  But that is not the point to these posts this month is it?

Listening to the Demon-Haunted World recently (on Audible with Seth MacFarlane and Cary Elwes) I am impressed that so much of what Sagan had to say still is appropriate today and, sadly, how much things had not changed since he wrote it in 1995. 

I really cannot recommend it enough.

For the conspiracy and pseudoscience minded it is worth a read/listen to put some of these ideas into perspective.  It is a bucket of ice-cold water on the idea of magical thought.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark


So how do I use this for NIGHT SHIFT?  Simple.  In many of the worlds (Night Worlds) of NIGHT SHIFT, it is assumed that magic is NOT real, even if it is.  So maybe unlike our world, the average man takes the point of view of Sagan and his Baloney Detection Kit.  It helps explain the world a little bit better. 

It is also great to help create obnoxious arguments when your characters are to convince someone that magic is real.

If there is a pet conspiracy theory you are expecting to see here and don't it is likely for 2 reasons. First, and most likely, it is because I did not find a good game application for it. The other reason, and it is not a small one, is because this book so convinced me they can't happen that I am not even considering it anymore.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Demon-Haunted Night


Pun Isaac said...

Any post that you can give a shout out to Sagan, is a good post. Also, I like the idea of the reverse from the norm you're suggesting in the settings.

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

Sounds like a great book. Also, I think I may have to go look it up on Audible with those two narrators. I keep meaning to get into audio books.
Tasha's Thinkings: YouTube - What They Don't Tell You (and free fiction)

Afshan Shaik said...

Demon haunted world sounds intriguing!!

Its impressive to see that u have written books. Will come back to know more even if not really my cup of tea , but I do like a supernatural stuff now and then

Dropping by from https://afshan-shaik.blogspot.com/

Dick McGee said...

"... so much of what Sagan had to say still is appropriate today and, sadly, how much things had not changed since he wrote it in 1995..."

You aren't kidding. It feels like things have actually gone steadily downhill in the last 27 years, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of that changing.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't recall this book, but it sounds interesting.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Deborah Weber said...

I wasn't aware of this book by Sagan, but it's going on my TBR list.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Ooh, I should read this one! I recently read a takedown of "crystal healing" by scientists and that was really fun too :D Even though I see a different aspect of "magical thinking," as a storyteller. It doesn't really have to be factually true to be inspiring.
The Multicolored Diary

Timothy S. Brannan said...

In telling stories, writing games, or even retelling folklore magic and magical thinking it is great. Indeed these mediums have very real magic to transport us to the future, the past, or places that never were.

I just prefer my reality to be real.

JazzFeathers said...

Well, that sound liek a great book and one particularly pertinent today!

The Old Shelter - Enter the New Woman

Melanie Atherton Allen said...

Looks like an interesting book! I like the idea of it as a source for obnoxious arguments in an actually magical setting, too.

Visiting from Atherton's Magic Vapour