Religion's Evolutionary Origins

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The urge is so strong, most people don't fight it. In the presence of religion and religious icons — churches, temples, altars, scripture, holy relics from the Ganges riverbank to Rome — most people become reverent. Not Daniel Dennett.

Denett is a philosopher on a mission. His mission is to break religion itself open to scientific inquiry, to "break the spell," in his words, of faith.

Dennet's conclusion is that religion is not miraculous or supernatural, but a product of nature itself — of Darwinian evolution, like the finch's beak or the opposable thumb. If that sounds like sacrilege, maybe it is.

Hear about the evolutionary theory of religion.


Professor Daniel C. Dennett, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University

Stephen Pope, Professor of Theology, Boston College.

This program aired on August 30, 2006.


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