Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

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Penguin Adult, Mar 29, 2007 - Philosophy - 448 pages
222 Reviews

In Breaking the Spell Daniel C. Dennett explores how the great ideas of religion have enthralled us for thousands of years - and whether we could (or should) break free.

What is religion and how did it evolve? Is it the product of blind evolutionary instinct or of rational choice? Is the only way to live a good life through religion?

Few forces in the world are as potent as religion: it comforts people in their suffering and inspires them to both magnificent and terrible deeds. In this provocative and timely book, Daniel C. Dennett seeks to uncover the origins of religion and discusses how and why different faiths have shaped so many lives, whether religion is an addiction or a genuine human need, and even whether it is good for our health. Arguing passionately for the need to understand this multifaceted phenomenon, Breaking the Spell offers a truly original - and comprehensive - explanation for faith.

'Packed with a mass of intriguing detail and anecdote ... witty and clear prose'
Observer

'He's the "good cop" among religion's critics (Richard Dawkins is the "bad cop"), but he still makes people angry'
New Statesman

'Dennett writes with brio and humour'
Telegraph

'Elegant, sharp-minded ... clear-eyed but courteous'
Economist

Daniel Dennett is one of the most original and provocative thinkers in the world. A brilliant polemicist and philosopher, he is famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies, and an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. His books include Brainstorms, Brainchildren, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Freedom Evolves.

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Review: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

User Review  - Goodreads

The central complaint for Breaking the Spell appears to be Dennett's lack of conviction. If that is true it is by design. He states early on that the book is meant for believers. This is different ... Read full review

Review: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

User Review  - Goodreads

Excellent work, a proper piece of research. I'm not sure why Dennett wants to be one of the ''four horsemen,'' definitely not the right company for him. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

David Dyergrew up in a coastal town in NSW, Australia, and graduated as dux of his high school in 1984. After commencing a degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Sydney, he soon decided it was not for him.

David went on to train as a ship's officer at the Australian Maritime College, travelling Australia and the world in a wide range of merchant ships. He graduated from the college with distinction and was awarded a number of prizes, including the Company of Master Mariners Award for highest overall achievement in the course. He then returned to the University of Sydney to complete a combined degree in Arts and Law. David was awarded the Frank Albert Prize for first place in Music I, High Distinctions in all English courses and First Class Honours in Law. From the mid-1990s until early 2000s David worked as a litigation lawyer in Sydney, and then in London at a legal practice whose parent firm represented the Titanic's owners back in 1912. In 2002 David returned to Australia and obtained a Diploma in Education from the University of New England, and commenced teaching English at Kambala, a school for girls in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

David has had a life-long obsession with the Titanic and has become an expert on the subject. In 2009 he was awarded a Commonwealth Government scholarship to write The Midni

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