Randomly firing neurons inspired by the Dan Dennett conference
Just a few scattered thoughts on getting back from “Daniel Dennett and the Scientific Study of Religion.” I intended to go deeper into some aspects of the conference later.
Great conference. I enjoyed a bagel with Pascal Boyer (Religion Explained). Sat with Paul Kurtz at lunch (He started the Center for Inquiry 20 years ago and the publishing company, Prometheus Books, He wrote the Humanist Manifesto II, and many important books of the humanist movement to the effect that he has been called the father of modern secular humanism).
Now, even more random: Most of the presenters at the conference were scientists. I hugged a Christian in the first session on Saturday (you had to be there). That presenter of the same session acknowledge a reference to Nicholas Wade. I found myself recommending Wade’s The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures. Apologies if I didn’t remember the subtitle correctly. I’ve listened to The Faith Instinct as an audio book probably 10 to 20 times and told Mr. Wade it is the most important book of my life. (I should disclaim for Mr. Wade that he remains neutral as far as I can tell with respect to his position on theism/atheism. It is the evolution of religion along with the recent evolution of mankind which is of most interest to me. Many of the rock stars at the Dan Dennett conference and other icons of the New Atheism seem to reject the thesis that religion is an evolutionary adaptation. This is in opposition to Nicholas Wade’s thesis which I support almost totally (with a minor insignificant point of difference). More on this later.
Thanks to the fellows who took me to Santano’s Pizza for supper. More depth on the conference to follow.
Entry filed under: freethought.