Monday, February 20, 2006

Religion from evolution?

Hector ran across an intereting a book review in the Times, about Dennett's investigation of the "scientific" origins of religions, and the various . . . shall we say intereting theories that abound there. The basis of his work is that if we figure out the history of religion, people will realize it's nothing special and so it can be ignored. To this Mr. Wieseltier responds:

It will be plain that Dennett's approach to religion is contrived to evade religion's substance. He thinks that an inquiry into belief is made superfluous by an inquiry into the belief in belief. This is a very revealing mistake. You cannot disprove a belief unless you disprove its content. If you believe that you can disprove it any other way, by describing its origins or by describing its consequences, then you do not believe in reason. In this profound sense, Dennett does not believe in reason. He will be outraged to hear this, since he regards himself as a giant of rationalism. But the reason he imputes to the human creatures depicted in his book is merely a creaturely reason.

Bully! <- Note that this is an interjectal use, not an appositive use.

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