Breaking the Spell
Sheesh. A twice-a-month blog. Sorry this place has gotten so lame, but time seems to be vanishing on me.
Anyway, I just wanted to give everyone a book recommendation. I just completed Daniel C. Dennnett's book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. All I can say is, "Wow." I've read some impressive stuff in the last couple years, but this is certainly one of the better books I've taken in. Dennett's style of argumentation took some getting used to on my part, probably because I haven't read a lot of philosophical work since my Freshman year in college back in 1982. That made the first few chapters a lot of work, but then I seemed to hit some sort of pace and things got easier.
One complaint I had with the book was the final chapter, "Now What Do We Do?" For me, it was the weakest part of the book and serves as a good demonstration of what happens when a very intelligent person speaks outside of his area of expertise. Many of his suggestions border on the juvenile, or maybe just naive. Or maybe its effect on me was what the author was shooting for: what Dennett suggests is so obviously DOA that I spent the better part of an afternoon coming up with alternatives, not one of which was one bit better.
In any case, if you care to have your mind stretched a bit, you could find worse ways to spend your free hours for a week or so. If you are religiously inclined, prepare to be challenged in ways you likely have never been.