Daniel Dennett – The Scientific Study of Religion

December 12, 2011

Recently, the Center for Inquiry held a conference titled “Daniel Dennett and the Scientific Study of Religion: A Celebration of the Fifth Anniversary of Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon“. During that conference, John Shook, CFI’s Director of Education, sat down with Dennett for this interview.

Shook and Dennett have a broad conversation ranging from Dennett’s past and current work to his definition of free will. Dennett explains what caused him to write Breaking the Spell in 1996 and the impact it had on him personally.

They talk about how the public views the scientific study of religion and how it has changed in the recent past. Dennett comments on the continued mutation of religions, and how their rate of change seems to be increasing; about how to come out as a non-believer; and much more!

Daniel Dennett
, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts. Among his many books relating to science and religion are Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (with Alvin Plantinga, 2011); Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006); Freedom Evolves (2003); and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995).