Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

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Penguin, Feb 2, 2006 - Religion - 464 pages
The New York Times bestseller – a “crystal-clear, constantly engaging” (Jared Diamond) exploration of the role that religious belief plays in our lives and our interactions

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 screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.


Some Questions About Science
Why Good Things Happen
The Roots of Religion
Religion the Early Days
The Evolution of Stewardship
The Invention of Team Spirit
Belief in Belief
Morality and Religion
Now What Do We
A The New Replicators
B Some More Questions About Science
The Bellboy and the Lady Named Tuck
Kim Philby as a Real Case of Indeterminacy of Radical

Toward a Buyers Guide to Religions

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About the author (2006)

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor, professor of philosophy, and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His books include From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Freedom Evolves, Consciousness Explained and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, a finalist for the National Book Award.

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