Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Daniel Dennett Breaking the Spell with Bill Moyers

Charlie Rose - Guest Host Bill Moyers with philosopher Daniel Dennett

57 min 3 sec - Apr 3, 2006

Description: Guest host Bill Moyers talks to philosopher Daniel C. Dennett. Dennett is the director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His latest book is “Breaking The Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon”.

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1 comment:

daddy_phantom said...

A friend of mine found Dennett's comments on expanding the required curriculum to include teaching religion to be a form of fascism.

I think Dennett misspoke to Bill Moyers. In print has has clearly said that we should add "Comparative Religious Studies" to existing compulsory curriculum (like math, health and social studies). But he defends his ideas much better than I could here:

Finally, I have been amused to see some opponents of this proposal call it "fascistic" or "totalitarian," when in fact it is refreshingly libertarian: you may teach your children whatever you want about religion without any interference from the state, as long as you teach them these facts as well.

How much more freedom could one want? The freedom to lie to your children? The freedom to keep them ignorant? You don't own your children, like slaves, and you have no right to disable them with ignorance. You do have an obligation to let them have the mutual knowledge that is available to every other child, as a normal part of growing up in a free society.

Besides, this knowledge will enrich their minds in uncountable ways, since it will acquaint them with some of the greatest music, art and literature that the world has to offer, and give them the sort of perspective on their own lives that you can only get from comparing your life with the lives of others.