[Read Epub] ♖ Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon ♪ Renegades-bempflingen.de

Dennett doesn t offer us much that is new in this book it s basically a re presentation of old ideas we re just robots taking up the intentional stance, religion is a meme to be explained in Darwinian terms, etc , thrown together with a good deal of liberal social commentary, a painfully distorted presentation of Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic belief and practice, and some revisionist history for good measure It could easily have been two hundred pages shorter if he had cut out all the irrelevant anecdotes I also found it very strange that Dennett proposes, as if it is something new and intellectually heroic, that we study religion as a natural phenomenon Last time I checked, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and critical theorists have been doing that for well over a century and a half Of course, Dennett supposes that if we open up religion to the neurologists and biologists, the game is surely over, and we will all become secular humanists in light of the results I, for one, am quite confident that if religion has survived these purportedly devastating queries so far, a gaggle of neurologists telling us which neurons flash when someone prays is unlikely to make us throw it all away either. I can t recommend this highly enough This is not an anti religion screed at all, but comes at the topic of religion as a naturally emerging aspect of humanity in a thoughtful, funny, accessible way It is New Atheist only in that it calls for open questioning and research of religion and its utility and it s written by an atheist. [Read Epub] ♎ Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon ☦ An Innovative Thinker Tackles The Controversial Question Of Why We Believe In God And How Religion Shapes Our Lives And Our FutureFor A Growing Number Of People, There Is Nothing Important Than Religion It Is An Integral Part Of Their Marriage, Child Rearing, And Community In This Daring New Book, Distinguished Philosopher Daniel C Dennett Takes A Hard Look At This Phenomenon And Asks Why Where Does Our Devotion To God Come From And What Purpose Does It Serve Is Religion A Blind Evolutionary Compulsion Or A Rational Choice In Breaking The Spell, Dennett Argues That The Time Has Come To Shed The Light Of Science On The Fundamental Questions Of Faith In A Spirited Narrative That Ranges Widely Through History, Philosophy, And Psychology, Dennett Explores How Organized Religion Evolved From Folk Beliefs And Why It Is Such A Potent Force Today Deftly And Lucidly, He Contends That The Belief In Belief Has Fogged Any Attempt To Rationally Consider The Existence Of God And The Relationship Between Divinity And Human Need Breaking The Spell Is Not An Antireligious Screed But Rather An Eyeopening Exploration Of The Role That Belief Plays In Our Lives, Our Interactions, And Our Country With The Gulf Between Rationalists And Adherents Of Intelligent Design Widening Daily, Dennett Has Written A Timely And Provocative Book That Will Be Read And Passionately Debated By Believers And Nonbelievers Alike This was my fourth attempt at reading Breaking the Spell Back when I first got interested in nonbelief, it was one of four books I purchased physical copies of at the bookstore, along with The God Delusion, God is Not Great, and The End of Faith In fact, it was the first of those four books I decided to read, because I was struggling with my own dwindling faith, and the title seemed the least confrontational so I figured it would be the best to ease myself into things I quickly got tired of the book and abandoned it In fact, I abandoned the whole effort, and it wasn t until a few years later that I resumed my journey by reading The End of Faith, which I really enjoyed and then plowed through the other two books.I felt guilty that I had skipped over this book, the only one of the Four Horsemen books I hadn t read I wondered if I had perhaps been unfair, and disliked it only because of where I was, and not what the book was So I picked up the same paperback copy I had purchased years earlier, and again tried to read it Again, I quickly found myself losing interest, and it was never a book that I stopped reading , it was just one that I never reached for when I felt like reading.The third time was shortly after I d gotten an ebook reader I figured, with a huge library of books at my fingertips, I d be likely to read this one, so I tried once again I got the ebook version of Breaking the Spell, and for the third time found myself losing interest I had officially moved this book to my will never read shelf on Goodreads, and had resigned myself to simply never bother reading this book I was bummed about it, and I couldn t quite figure out why I disliked it so much, but there are so many great books out there, I decided I couldn t bother caring any.Then, out of nowhere, I was logging into Audible.com one day and noticed that Breaking the Spell had been released on audiobook format Audiobook This was the key I could listen at the gym, on the bus, in the car, and walking around downtown This was how I was going to get this book read, I thought.Well, I m happy to say, I did actually manage to get all the way through Breaking the Spell this time I am, however, unhappy to say I still hated it, and largely forced myself to complete it out of a weird sense of obligation and completion Less because I enjoyed the book, and because I knew this was my last chance.After getting all the way through it, I finally figured out what it was I hated so much about it, and sharing that will be the entirety of my review of it, aside from the personal historical lesson above.I ve read a lot of these atheist screed type books in the past few years What is interesting is that the background of the authors of each of these books is directly reflected in the content and style of the book itself Richard Dawkins is a world renowned scientist and professor, so it s no surprise that The God Delusion is written very scientifically, citing as many studies as possible and outlying arguments in a clear, logical way Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, but also has a Bachelor s degree in Philosophy, so The End of Faith is a little less scientific than Dawkins s work, and a bit meandering Carl Sagan was a scientist and educator, so The Demon Haunted World is extremely scientific, but also very approachable and friendly Christopher Hitchens was a debator, a journalist, so God is Not Great draws upon a lot of current events and political angles, and reads like a very long OpEd piece.So what s Daniel Dennett He s a philosopher If this fact doesn t give you pause, you probably haven t read a lot written by philosophers, or you are one Philosophers have a tendency to ramble forever, carefully mapping out their argument in excruciating detail There s a point in the argument where a normal reader might say alright, I get it only to discover they are approximately 40% through the entire argument, and must now eye roll their way through the remaining 60% Philosopher s seem to like questions than answers, and like to pose tons and tons of questions, and consider every possible angle about a particular point, including purely hypothetical ones with little to no basis in reality The short way of saying this is a lot of philosophers love the sound of their own voices This is obviously a mean generalization, but I have to admit I ve found it to hold true surprisingly often.Dennett s Breaking the Spell is no exception to this It is exactly what one might expect from a philosopher, illustrating every negative aspect of stereotypical philosopher writings Case in point the first third of the book is spent merely justifying the existence of the rest of the book What would be a normal author s introductory chapter is, instead, nearly 100 pages of droning about the need for his book Can science study religion SHOULD science study religion Ugh.In fact, the TITLE of the book, Breaking the Spell seems to indicate that the book will be about what we can do to break society free of the cycle of religiosity The only chapter that even remotely deals with that, Now What Do We Do is the final chapter, a mere 32 pages of the book s 340 non appendix pages Another mild irritation is Dennett s constant citations of his own previous work I understand if an author wants to point readers to his previous work because it might be interesting, or help articulate a point, but it seems almost comically frequent in Breaking the Spell There s a palpable sense of pretentiousness.I don t want to give the wrong impression It s not that the book contains nothing of value On the contrary, there are some really enjoyable bits to the book, some really interesting points, and a lot of food for thought The problem is that of padding an interesting point that should take up a merel paragraph to be accurately conveyed to a reader might instead consist of a few dozen pages instead Every moment reading the book feels like wading through haystack after haystack looking for needles They are nice needles, but you can t help but ask why Dennett couldn t be bothered to simply edit the haystacks out.There are lots of similar books that are informative, or interesting out there, so it s tough to recommend this book I know a lot of people love it, so I think a big part of the issue is my own general distaste for this particular kind of writing. Mr Dennett is one of the Four Horsemen of Atheism, and a personal hero of mine In this book, he discusses the need for science to study religion He points to an absence of information about religion We need to find out why people believe in the supernatural and what the results of those beliefs are I agree He presents his case in an easy to read book meant to reach out to a large audience Philosophers of religion get very little attention in the world of philosophy He points out how the scientific study of music has just begun to figure out why we love it We need the same kind of study for religion If you were God, would you have invented laughter Christopher Frye in The Lady s Not for Burning. What a great question I think I would have invented it just to deal with this incredible mess that a supposedly perfect being created Dealing with a corpse plays a central role in religions everywhere Something must be done with it Therefore, we create an elaborate ceremony of either burning or burial Ancestor worship must be an appealing idea to those who are about to become ancestors Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works. So we old folks preserve these traditions that help us to deal with the end of our lives Evolution has designed us to love babies as being cute It s important to our survival All mammals have that within them But it works the opposite way as well Babies are hardwired to trust their parents Those parents pass on memes like religion to the trusting children There is a profusion of ways that ancient people delegated important decisions to uncontrollable externalities Instead of flipping a coin, you could flip arrows belomancy or rods rhabdomancy or bones or cards sortilege , and instead of looking at tea leaves tasseography , you can examine the livers of sacrificed animals hepatoscopy or other entrails haruspicy or melted wax poured into water ceroscopy , Then there is moleosophy divination by blemishes , myomancy divination by rodent behavior , nephomancy divination by clouds , and of course the old favorites, numerology and astrology, among others Divination memes may just make people feel like they are receiving divine assistance It makes them feel good Thus they go on Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined Samuel Goldwyn People went to shamans because they had no one else to go to It provided them with some sense of relief Folk religion turned into organized religion just the same way folk music turned into professional music Among the Nuer it is particularly auspicious to sacrifice a bull, but since bulls are particularly valuable, a cucumber will do just fine most of the time E Thomas Lawson Anthropologists find people deeply believe in their gods Everyone knows they exist Those to whom his word was revealed were always alone in some remote place, like Moses There wasn t anyone around when Mohammed got the word, either Mormon Joseph Smith and Christian Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, had exclusive audiences with God We have to trust them as reporters and you know how reporters are They ll do anything for a story Andy Rooney, in his book Sincerely, Andy Rooney. In the film Marjoe, Marjoe Gotner explains how he got people to faint, make passionate displays of love for Jesus, and empty their wallets The film won an oscar for best documentary in 1972 Some of the many Christian sources were later excluded and banned as heresy Why What made them so dangerous Religions exist primarily for people to achieve together what they cannot achieve alone David Sloane Wilson, Darwin s Cathedral. But what are the benefits Why do people want religion at all They want it because religion is the only plausible source of certain rewards of which there is a general and inexhaustible demand Rodney Stark, Acts of Faith. The Pope traditionally prays for peace every Easter and the fact that it has never had any effect whatsoever in preventing or ending a war never deters him What goes through the Pope s mind about being rejected all the time Does God have it in for him Andy Rooney, Sincerely, Andy Rooney. When I was a child, I used to pray to God for a bicycle But then I realized that God doesn t work in that way so I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness Emo Phillips A key marketing problem for religions is to entice the customer to wait The physicist Paul Davies has recently defended the view that free will may be a fiction worth maintaining Many people know about the change from polytheism to monotheism Fewer understand the change from concrete anthropomorphism to ever abstract and depersonalized concepts You re basically killing each other to see whose got the better imaginary friend Rich JeniTheists resist having a specific definition of God It makes the concept easier to refute God is so great that the greatness precludes existence Raimundo Panikkar, The Silence of God. It is the final proof of God s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us Peter De Vries There are people who believe, often passionately, in God, even though they cannot tell others all that much about the God in which they believe Alan Wolfe It is very easy not to murder people Very easy It is a little bit harder not to steal because one is tempted occasionally So that is not great proof that I believe in God But, if he tells me not to have a cup of coffee with milk in it with my mincemeat and peas at lunchtime, that is a test It isn t just that I don t believe in God and naturally, hope there is no God I don t want there to be a God I don t want the universe to be like that Thomas Nagel, The Last Word.Our salvation may depend on evolutionary theory If we continue to ignore its lessons, we endanger the earth and ourselves Only evolution gets hit with the just a theory bullshit Nothing else in science gets that treatment The proposition that God exists is not even a theory It was the schoolboy who said, Faith is believing what you know ain t so Mark Twain Children are subject to religious practices that would send any other practitioner to jail Why do we say a kid is a Catholic child or a Muslim child or any other Let s do religious education, not less Let them see the truths Instead of trying to destroy the madrassahs that corrupt young Muslim minds, why don t we provide alternatives We do, and they get attacked There is a secretive Christian organization that believes in the End Times scenarios It includes such famous politicians, mostly Republican, as Grassley, Dominici, Inhofe, Nelson, Ensign, Stupak, and De Mint The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide Ralph Waldo Emerson. If I understood it, the basic thesis of Dennett s arrogantly titled Consciousness Explained was that consciousness is a phenomenon that emerges from the harmonious orchestration of many smaller, dumber subsystems in the brain Among the good ideas in Breaking the Spell is the claim that one of these little modules is an agent detector, and that it s over active, so that people experience the wind as the breath of a God the rain as the God s gift, disease as the presence of exorcisable unclean spirits, and so on If you do believe in a God or Gods, this is a strong enough book to make it worth your while outmaneouvering it if you don t, this is a strong enough book to take on as an ally It has little or none of the hysteria you find in Dawkins and Hitchens. Ve od samog provokativnog naslova nam je jasan cilj knjige, ali ton samog izlaganja je zapanjuju e prijateljski, sa vrlo malo provokacija Izgleda da je autor zaista iskren kada ka e da je knjiga napisana da bi je itali i religiozni ljudi Naravno, on misli na obrazovane i intelektualno po tene ljude, ne na fundamentaliste koji ne prihvataju, na primer, evoluciju ivota Knjiga zvu i kao da je napisana prvenstveno njima Jo jedna od glavnih ciljnih grupa su mu budu i istra iva i.Da bi uop te razmatrali natprirodna re enja moramo najpre da ispitamo i odbacimo prirodne mogu nosti Denet nam predla e da, bar za po etak, posmatramo religiju kao i sve drugo, kao prirodnu pojavu koja je produkt evolucije koja ne dopu ta ni ta to, makar u po etku, ne donosi nikakvu korist organizmu u biolo kom smislu ili makar nastaje kao sporedni produkt neke neposredno korisne osobine Ima vi e hipoteza o razlozima za nastanak religije Denetova hipoteza za etke religije vidi u se anjima na preminule pretke kojima se pridaju bo anska svojstva, kao i ovekovoj sklonosti da pridaje svojstva li nosti svemu to zavre uje njegovu pa nju Po to su nastale, religije su se dalje razvijale uz kulturnu evoluciju kroz razvoj rituala, mitologiju i tr i te religijskih ideja Religija je evoluirala i menjala se u skladu sa ljudskim vrednostima.Denet eksplicitno ka e da su ideje koje navodi u knjizi daleko od dokazane teorije, ali su proverljive, za razliku od mnogih drugih To je dobar po etak S druge strane, neproverljive hipoteze nisu ni ta ne ni neta ne, one su samo besmislene Svakog dana se stvaraju po dve tri nove religije Za to je to tako Najstarije dana nje religije su stare nekoliko hiljada godina O igledno je da su sve one dizajnirane i evoluirale iz nekih razloga koji su jo uvek nepoznati Nepoznati su samo zato to se te stvari ne ispituju arolija koja, po Denetu, mora da se razbije, jeste tabu koji zabranjuje kriti ko ispitivanje religije Prvenstvena namera ove knjige nije da da odgovor na pitanje da li bogovi postoje, ve samo da razmotri ta je to religija, kako je nastala i emu slu i Po to postoje i pozitivne i negativne strane religije, on eli da se ispita koje prete u Da li mo da postoji ne to drugo, sem religije, to je korisnije ljudima u ovom smislu Da li e zaista sve propasti ako se religija diskredituje Gotovo svi vernici misle da postavljanje pitanja o veri ismeva i uni avava njihovu veru Ali ako postoji granica znanja koju ne smemo da prelazimo, mi moramo biti sigurni da ona postoji, gde je i koji su razlozi za nju Denet ubedljivo obrazla e da je zaista vredno istra ivati Nijedan bog kojeg usre uje pokazivanje nerazumne ljubavi ne bi bio vredan obo avanja Da bi ljudi koji su na suprotstavljenim stranama mogli da raspravljaju o ne emu, moraju dozvoliti mogu nost da njihovi stavovi koje ele da nametnu nisu a priori ispravni Tako e, i jo va nije, moraju postaviti neki zajedni ki ideal kako bi imalo smisla raspravljati Danas vi e nego ikad, postoje razlozi da shvatimo religiju jer opasnost da fanatici uni te svet postaje sve ve a Makar njima je neophodno razbiti aroliju A umereni vernici tu tako e nose svoj deo odgovornosti. I really wanted to like this book, because I d just finished reading The End of Faith and God is Not Great, but this book suffers from lack of conviction Where The End of Faith is the absolute model of conviction, and God is Not Great lays out convincing arguments but takes some of their momentum away with dryly humorous asides , Breaking the Spell has neither conviction nor cleverness.I confess I only read the first couple of chapters, because I lost interest in an author who wasn t willing to commit to a point of view He s basically saying yes, religion is a dangerous, polarizing influence on human behavior but hey you can believe whatever you wanna believe can t we all get along The reason I loved The End of Faith so much is because Sam Harris chose a convincing point of view and supported it with compelling even poetic arguments Chris Hitchens seems like he d be fun to get a drink with, and Daniel Dennet seems like he couldn t even decide what drink to order. To preface my remarks here, I think it is important that I note Dennett s definition of religion and its implications He defines religion as social systems whose participants avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought Two elements of the definition almost cause me panic as I read them The first, the fact that any religion is a social system, suggests to me that since one cannot worship a supernatural agent alone, God, a he most everywhere you look, is really the collective concept of a group of people who are similarly connected socially and religiously In a recent Good Reads forum based on Dawkins The God Delusion, most of the faithful who participated suggested that because so many others believed in God throughout history, their study of scripture should not be questioned by me or other participants Alas, none were willing to address the reasons why their church hung pictures of a Jesus who looked like a white musician from Seattle than someone from Jesus home town This scares me because the faithful have confirmed that their minds are not their own and they have lost the ability to think critically about their beliefs The other part of the definition that almost leads me to panic, that the participants seek approval from a supernatural agent or agents, means that not only is some vaguely defined and socially reinforced God concept granted greater than self status in the minds of the faithful, but the agents prophets, to whom enough has been revealed to write a bestseller, are granted God s special favor, and their approval must be sought as well This scenario is made possible by the aforementioned sacrifice of mind, and enables leaders of any religion you d care to name to compromise its believers in practically any way.In Breaking the Spell, Dennett demonstrates faith in people s ability to make clear decisions by suggesting that if school children were to study all of the world s religions, they would learn to think critically and be unwilling to sacrifice this ability for the sake of any supernatural agent or prophet Should students begin to have thoughts that transcend social religious paradigms and pressures, no current religious system could survive it, and I think that would be a good thing. An admirable intellectual, Dennett spends the first several chapters carefully establishing the parameters of his discussion His book addresses the adherents of organized religion specifically, those who believe that God is a who rather than a what , and who hold certain sets of beliefs without making them available for rational critique The title of Dennett s book, Breaking the Spell, refers his insistence that religious beliefs should be examined logically and scientifically to investigate whether they are true Beliefs should not be eligible for a cloak of mystery simply because they are religious in nature further, such a cloak does not enhance the real value of these beliefs.This is a slow read that requires a good background in philosophy, but it is worth the time and effort It is full of fascinating ideas, many of them old philosophical standbys with a modern scientific twist For example, when Dennett compares love for God with romantic love, he looks at the evolutionary basis of romantic feelings and behaviors He asks how religion benefits our fitness for survival, given that it requires so much of our energy He notes that some neurologists have postulated a god center in the brain, and he clarifies that we may have culturally perpetuated the idea of God only because the idea happens to stimulate the pre existing whatsis center, and further, that not every individual may even have such a center.Dennett s tone is one of cheerful optimism He thinks religious people often mean well, and he believes that they succeed in living good, moral lives just as often as non believers do But he insists that religion is not necessary for moral behavior, and he demands that religious people desist from harming atheists and skeptics He wants a healthy climate for honest debate and a world where people do not injure each other over such topics It is a fair and diplomatic book that makes an apparently sound argument Of the various books I ve read by atheists, this is the one of which I d be most surprised to see a successful refutation.