Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

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Penguin, Feb 2, 2006 - Religion - 464 pages
7 Reviews
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.
 

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The Underlying Theme is Policy and Politics

User Review  - Dave56 - Borders

This is the first book that I have read by Mr. Dennett and let me say at the outset that I am thankful that there are authors like him that are willing to take the time to "circle" a subject and view ... Read full review

Breaking the spell: religion as a natural phenomenon

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

On a crusade against crusades, Dennett (philosophy, Tufts Univ.; codirector, Ctr. for Cognitive Studies; Consciousness Explained) wants to save the world from religious fanaticism and figures that the ... Read full review

Contents

OPENING PANDORAS
3
Some Questions About Science
29
Why Good Things Happen
54
Asking what pays for religion
69
THE EVOLUTION OF RELIGION
95
The raw materials of religion
104
Religion the Early Days
116
The Evolution of Stewardship
153
Now What Do We Do?
308
how can we home
314
What shall we tell the children?
321
Toxic memes
328
Patience and politics
334
Appendixes
341
Some More Questions About Science
359
The Bellboy and the Lady Named Tuck
379

The Invention of Team Spirit
175
Belief in Belief
200
Toward a Buyers Guide to Religions
249
Morality and Religion
278
Kim Philby as a Real Case of Indeterminacy
387
Bibliography
413
Index
427
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