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224 of 231 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shining Bright Lights
Having only read the hardcover edition, I'm going to stick my neck out and assume that when Breaking the Spell is released as a paperback Daniel Dennett won't be backtracking much on a topic which evidently concerns him a great deal. Rightly so, since it increasingly seems that we have replaced a cold war based on political difference with one that has its foundation in...
Published on 8 July 2006 by Andrew

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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Broke the spell for me....
I've been a Daniel Dennett fan ever since The Mind's Eye, a mind-opening book he co-authored/edited with Douglas Hofstadter. In similar vein, I was enthralled by Kinds of Minds; and Darwin's Dangerous Idea showed just how extensive and versatile a thinker Dennett is.

So I was surprised to be disappointed by Breaking the Spell. Maybe it's because I'm older and...
Published on 17 Aug. 2008 by Dr. James Austin


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously argued analysis of the origins of religion, 7 April 2011
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Whereas Dawkins takes a sledgehammer to religious belief, Dennet's approach is more subtle but ultimately just as convincing in its conclusions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Feb. 2015
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As described, prompt delivery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Oct. 2014
Arrived safely and on time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 21 Jun. 2015
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very thought provoking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2015
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love this read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 May 2015
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very good
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom from the tyranny of religious ignorance, 6 Nov. 2011
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A. (Broxburn, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I love the title 'Breaking the spell'. You can go to church all your life and only hear one side of the story; excuses for the absurdities in the Bible or trying to pick out a few decent ideas & spin a tale around them. Most ministers I have heard act like the entire history of higher criticism of the Bible never happened. However I recently heard a more enlightened sermon from David Robertson who at least started to look at the worthy comments of Richard Dawkins,Christopher Hitchens,Sam Harris, Dennett, all be it disparagingly.
I would recommend this book and also the authors John W. Loftus, Robert M.Price, Dan Barker, David Mills who are ex christian ministers turned atheists. Each gives top analysis of the history of religion and higher criticism of the Bible.

Dennett writes quite a bit about memes. On p229 he mentions Dawkins idea in 1976 'The Selfish gene'p212 or p197 in 30th anniversaty edition? of the toxic Bible memes like hell.

An elixir of anti retro viral memes to help those who are NIV+ become NIV- :

I trust that a good god would take everyone to heaven but probably there is no supernatural realm and we will cease to exist; which is ok too. Look at the rest of the animal kingdom with all the fighting, stealing & killing. If a god was fine with his creation behaving like that then I don't think he would damn humans for acting in a similar manner. The anatomy of carnivores is intrinsically adapted to catching & eating prey, they have behaved like that for as long as they had that form. I think that humans evolved from a common ancestor with the other great apes. During the development of human imagination people wondered what could happen to you if you exist after death? By pure guesswork -two possibilities- something nice or something horrible. They wondered what could be the worst thing- eternal torture / burning in lava? Imagination has coloured in many possibilities. These possibilities became codified dogma which Jesus heard and didn't think to question or research. Hell has become a toxic meme in the Abrahamic religions. It would be cruel to send anyone to a hell. It is psycho logically abusive to assert hell as fact when there is no evidence for it's existence. The Bible claims life on earth began 4000BCE and a global flood happened 2250BCE. Those events are proven to be false. Jesus is written as having considered creation & flood as literal events. What is more likely, that miracles happened or that writers wrote fiction to try to help people believe. Jesus had no special knowledge. There are so many ideas in the Bible that are clearly nonsense why would you think hell or any supernatural thing existed?
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13 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Old questions - still no answers, 30 May 2008
When I was reading the book from Daniel Dennett, a distinguished philosopher and director of Cambridge institute for cognitive studies, I was expecting to get some answers for questions why do humans believe in any deity or superstition.

Questions like:
- Why 80% of the world population so faithful to some kind of religion ?
- How can this be explained by psychology ?
- Is there a specific genetic predisposition for more religious behavior (nature not nurture) ?
- How is religion replacing the parental love with love for God from a specific age (7-years ?) on ?
- Why is rationality suppresses and what happens then in the brain ? (Like a scientists is writing his PhD for geology and study 500 million year old strata and is leaving his office/lab and *thinks* the earth is 6000 years old)

Dan Dennett is very carefully and `politically correct' talking around the problem to avoid offending anybody and is carefully considering the possibility to ask some of this old questions - unfortunately answers I had hoped for are not provided.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 16 Dec. 2014
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Chris (Littleborough, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Boring.
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78 of 492 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 15 Mar. 2006
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Michael J. Penfold (Oxford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Having just read Alister McGrath's devastating critique of Richard Dawkins' meme theory (in Dawkins' God published by Blackwell), I am disappointed to see the rehashing of this fatally flawed idea in Dennett's Breaking the Spell. The meme theory was interesting when it was first suggested but empirical data on this philosophical invention of Dawkins' has not been forthcoming, which puts it on the same level as much of the religious superstition Dennett is seeking to discredit in this work.
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