In his characteristically provocative fashion, Dennett, author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea and director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, calls for a scientific, rational examination of religion that will lead us to understand what purpose religion serves in our culture. Much like E.O. Wilson (In Search of Nature), Robert Wright (The Moral Animal), and Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene), Dennett explores religion as a cultural phenomenon governed by the processes of evolution and natural selection. Religion survives because it has some kind of beneficial role in human life, yet Dennett argues that it has also played a maleficent role. He elegantly pleads for religions to engage in empirical self-examination to protect future generations from the ignorance so often fostered by religion hiding behind doctrinal smoke screens. Because Dennett offers a tentative proposal for exploring religion as a natural phenomenon, his book is sometimes plagued by generalizations that leave us wanting more ("Only when we can frame a comprehensive view of the many aspects of religion can we formulate defensible policies for how to respond to religions in the future"). Although much of the ground he covers has already been well trod, he clearly throws down a gauntlet to religion. (Feb. 6)
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A century and a half after Darwin rattled religionists with his revolutionary theory of human origins, one of his disciples has intensified the challenge to faith by advancing an evolutionary account of religion itself. Weaving together research in anthropology, genetics, and psychology, Dennett argues that religion first emerged not as a divine gift but rather as a thoroughly natural adaptation for enhancing the reproductive success of the species. Even more provocatively, Dennett further argues that religion--like language--has subsequently evolved so as to ensure its own survival in the ceaseless winnowing of cultural mutations. The pious in most faiths will likely protest that this approach gives only the husk, not the spirit, of religion, but Dennett insists that his study will ultimately benefit society by exposing the myths that empower fanatical terrorists. Remarkably bold, Dennett's agenda includes plans for preventing overzealous parents from instilling their faith in their children and for deploying the technology of mass advertising to foster religious doubt. A book certain to spark heated controversy. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Anyone who is a fan of Dawkins and Hitchens will appreciate Dan Dennetts workPublished 7 months ago by Josiah Grimmitt
If you have not read Dennett now is the time to get started. Buy this book and everthing else he has writtenPublished 9 months ago by ernest reinhart
One star. No linking of footnotes is absolutely inexcusable in an ebook at this price point. What the hell, publishers? Read morePublished on April 22 2013 by Amazon Customer
Dennett takes a revolutionary approach to the already well studied atheistic viewpoints and gathers them altogether in an enjoyable and easy to follow argument against organized... Read morePublished on March 31 2013 by Marjorie Lynn Allen
I haven't started reading the book so I can't comment on that but it arrived with the cover on backwards and it looks used or handled ????Published on Feb. 13 2013 by jwal
First and foremost, for those delving into Daniel C. Dennett's book with preconceived notions of it being filled with anti-religious rhetoric, I hate to be the one to break your... Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2011 by Matt Sanderson
Many people have said that Dennett's book was the one that completely destroyed their faith in god.
This is an incredible book that should replace the bible. Read more
While Dennett's book is not as much fun for the anti-religious or pro-atheist reader as those of Richard Dawkins, or even more so, Christopher Hitchens (the Glenn Beck of atheism),... Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2010 by fung0