Monday, March 30, 2009

Daniel Dennett - why religion and the promotion of it is harmful

source: Daniel Dennett - BHA link.

update 26 April 2009: View & hear Dan Dennetts one hour lecture on BHA YouTube channel.

Eminent philosopher Dan Dennett addressed a packed-out Conway Hall on 19th March 2009 talked about ‘A Darwinian Perspective on Religion’, in which he drew on and developed the “memetic” approach.

He explained how the evolutionary process of adaptation was the only way to explain not solely life, variety, species and so on but language, communication and, crucially, religions.

Religions have developed in many ways and different parts of religion have evolved for different reasons. In an analogy with Dumbo’s “magic feather”, religion was described as a “crutch”, it is an illusion that we need it in order to have morality, or to make sense of the world and so on. Mr Dennett encouraged us to get rid of that crutch, just as Dumbo got rid of his feather and found he could still fly without it.

Daniel Dennett powerfully – but typically humorously – concluded his lecture with explaining why religion and the promotion of it is harmful and damaging to the rational, scientific world in which we live.

Other Reviews:
Tim Jones Zoonomian Review - Darwin, Dennett and Dumbo’s Magic Feather

Selected slides (in reverse order). View full lecture.

TED lectures by Dan Dennett here (25 mins) and here (17 mins).

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