Daniel Dennett On Showing “How Religions Do Their Tricks”

According to Dennett, it’s just like showing how magicians and musicians do theirs:

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • miamisaint

    When he says tricks, does he mean everything is a ruse? Religion is just another excuse to suppress the mind. Without religion their is no war, no racism, no reason to be scared about what others think.

  • Daniel Fincke

    He does not mean that everything is a deliberate scheme. He is just comparing religion’s mechanisms for affecting us to the ways that music acts upon us in physiologically explicable ways or that magic plays on our perceptive tendencies in certain ways.

    He is arguing essentially that religion has such powerful hold on people not because it actually reveals God to them but due to other ways that it affects them which are misinterpreted as divine.


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