Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
I wasn't the target audience
on April 30, 2013
Dennett seems like he'd be one of the nicest people you would ever meet. He is not polarizing like, say Dawkins, but that also gives him the ability to reach a broader audience. That, unfortunately, may be where he lost some steam with me in this book. I felt like his detailing his argument parameters left me often saying, "I know, let's get to it." Therein lies the problem I had with this book, I wasn't the target audience. The book really seemed to be geared to those who have not really examined their position on faith and belief or are just starting to. I did so long ago so this book only added nuggets of supporting information for my convictions.
As a philosopher, he is stunningly detailed in his mapping an argument and his approach is very even handed. This makes him accessible to those who are intellectual and also wanting to take an honest look at the arguments on faith, etc. Dennett doesn't demonize or mock peoples beliefs but rather just lays the arguments out for reasonable discussion. However, Dennett is so thorough he comes off as a bit meandering and boring if you already know where he's going. But, if you are new to the arguments or material then you will probably enjoy this hard work.
I didn't like the idea of grouping "freethinkers" as "brights" for two reasons: 1. It simply seems a little corny; 2. It implicitly suggests those who believe are "dims." Again, where ND Tyson and Dennett shine (as did Sagan so perfectly) is their non-offensive approach which allows people to process the information without tuning out due to perceived insult. This is the role of the educator.
In the end, I think I prefer listening to Dennett in a lecture setting more than his writing as the time constraints force him to be quicker to the point. But again, for those who enjoy philosophy or simply want a robust, yet unoffensive, argument on faith and belief this book will likely serve them well