Reading Dennett’s Breaking the Spell [Index Post]

In November 2012, I read and blogged through Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.  Below, are all the posts I wrote on the topic, along with a link to a rejoinder from Chris Hallquist in the atheist channel.  Dennett is one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism (along with Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens), but this book is more descriptive than debate fodder.

  1. The Bit I Liked Best About Dennett’s Book – In order to improve the quality of academic study of religion and ease barriers to access, Dennett has a novel suggestion
  2. Put Your Moral Philosophical Hands Where We Can See Them, Dennett! – In which Dennett tells us his sacred values and I want to beat him about the ears with Alasdair MacIntyre
  3. Dennett’s Thesis isn’t Evidence for Very Interesting Claims – Partly because Dennett is well known for atheism, and partly because his book’s introductions warns that religious people may find his book scary, this book was mentally filed in my “arguments against religion” shelf.  Not so much.
  4. [The Uncredible Hallq] In praise of boring claims – Chris Hallquist responds to the two previous posts and talks about the usefulness of bringing people up to speed.  (I’m over there in the comments.)
  5. Dennett’s Whirlwind Tour through Apologetics — Does the question of God’s existence take more than six pages to tackle?
  6. Steelmanning one of Dennett’s arguments – Dennett argues that as a religion grows, its empirical claims contract.  I tweak his argument and respond.
  7. Am I my schismatic’s keeper? – Dennett argues that religious people have a duty to rebuke extremists and that silence betokens endorsement.  I think that gives too much power to the hardliners to derail conversation and thought.
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  • Robert Oerter

    “Steelmanning” link is broken.