Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon


By (author) Daniel C Dennett

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  • Publisher: Penguin USA
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 28mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2007
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0143038338
  • ISBN 13: 9780143038337
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 98,471

Product description

For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why--and how--it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion's evolution from "wild" folk belief to "domesticated" dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, "Breaking the Spell" will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.

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Review quote

Ambitious . . . an accessible account of what might be called the natural history of religion. ("The New Yorker") How would a visitor from Mars dispassionately explain human religion? . . . My guess is that the result would be something like this crystal-clear, constantly engaging, and enjoyable new book. (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and "Collapse" Rich and rewarding . . . the main business of the book is to give a scientific account of how religion may have developed among creatures such as us. . . . The product of an extremely bright mind. ("San Francisco Chronicle") An elegant, sharp-minded essay on the need to study religion in a dispassionate way. ("The Economist") Penetrating . . . a sharp synthesis of a library of evolutionary, anthropological and psychological research on the origin and spread of religion. ("Scientific American")