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Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon | [Daniel C. Dennett]

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why - and how - it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma.
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Publisher's Summary

For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why - and how - it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life?

Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious creed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.

©2006 Daniel C. Dennett (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    Don Caliente 07-14-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Reader Actually Enhances A Great Book!"
    If you could sum up Breaking the Spell in three words, what would they be?

    Insightful, Accessible and ... Spell-binding (not to be too cheeky)


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Thoroughly, this book hits the points so often touched upon by his contemporaries (M. Shermer, J. Campbell, K. Armstrong, S. Pinker, etc.) without getting too off-topic or muddled down in details. Colorful analogies and examples abound.


    What about Dennis Holland’s performance did you like?

    I am always wary of readers compromising a beloved author's book. Here, Holland (who already sounds quite a bit like Dennett) speaks with personality and style that capture Dennett's wit and adds the punch it deserves. A+


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book attempts to explain religion, not scold it. No play for emotions here, as in the tomes of his fellow "horsemen" (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens), the mood is that of a philosopher, calm, serene and much more respectful. (not that that's much of a competition) This is, perhaps, the best of the four for a believer taking their first skeptical view.


    Any additional comments?

    Recommended follow-up/ companion audio-book:The Evolution of God by Robert Wright. (read by another talented reader Arthur Morey).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mark
    Glastonbury, United Kingdom
    3/11/14
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    "I just can't get past the condescending tone"

    I am open minded. I listen to books by authors from all walks of life on a variety of subjects. I am interested in humanity and what makes the species tick. I particularly enjoy books on religion by philosophers because they ask questions which open my mind to new possibilities, make me think and expand my world. This book assumes too much. The author spends too much time at the beginning of the book telling me what I would not be willing to do and trying to justify the way he writes without telling me a damn thing. This author claims to be open minded and yet is more pious about his standpoint than most religious advocates. Worse still, the narrator has chosen a condescending tone to voice the authors ideas. Disappointing and hard to listen to.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
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