An excerpt from Daniel Dennett’s new book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, outlines seven of Dennett’s tools for thinking. His second tool is “respect your opponent”:
The best antidote I know for this tendency to caricature one’s opponent is a list of rules promulgated many years ago by social psychologist and game theorist Anatol Rapoport.
How to compose a successful critical commentary:
1. Attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly and fairly that your target says: “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
Nicholas Kristof’s “Modest Proposal for a Truce on Religion,” and responses by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett. “Mr. Kristof has simply become acclimatized to the convention that you can criticize anything else but you mustn’t criticize religion.”
Gary Wolf talks to three prominent atheists (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett) and concludes that “the irony of the New Atheism — this prophetic attack on prophecy, this extremism in opposition to extremism — is too much for me”.
The future of science: celebrity photography. While in Venice for the World Conference on the Future of Science, prominent philosopher Daniel Dennett squeezed off a shot of Paris Hilton arriving at the hotel for, one would assume, activities unrelated to the scientific proceedings.
Profile of Daniel Dennett, “Darwinian fundamentalist” and author of a new book that argues that “religion, chiefly Christianity, is itself a biologically evolved concept, and one that has outlived its usefulness”.
Update: Review of Dennett’s book in the New Yorker.
Short (and a wee bit hostile) inteview with Daniel Dennett. “Nerve cells are very complicated mechanical systems. You take enough of those, and you put them together, and you get a soul.”
Daniel Dennett on why intelligent design isn’t science. “Evolutionary biology certainly hasn’t explained everything that perplexes biologists. But intelligent design hasn’t yet tried to explain anything.”