Be Still And Know That I Am Bright

Daniel C. Dennet’s Breaking the Spell mixes a careful review of some excellent work with a poorly conceived and executed polemic. Slipshod in reviewing scholarship inconvenient to his argument, Dennett levels petty outbursts throughout toward particular scholars and general categories of people. The “brights” are scientific elites, aggressively bumping shoulders with religious elites, vying for power as part of an historic struggle. They, and we, should ask the tough questions about where religious ideas are best addressed in society, and none of us should be pilloried for asking, or for a strong secularist answer. But the brights have not been pilloried.