Breaking the Spell By Daniel C Dennett

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The Independent Culture

Dennett begins his epic demolition of religion with an audacious metaphor. He compares believers to an ant "whose brain has been commandeered by a tiny parasite". Religion, he insists, came as part of our evolutionary package: "a hyperactive habit of finding agency wherever anything puzzles or frightens us". The problem with this eminently reasonable view is that Dennett hammers it home at such length and in such a cocky, annoying manner (in a particularly toe-curling section, he reveals the term he has coined for non-believers: "I am a bright") that the most ardent atheist may begin to have doubts.