‘When it comes to facts, and explanations of facts, science is the only game in town’

Daniel Dennett is the “good cop” among religion’s critics (Richard Dawkins is the bad cop), but he still makes people angry. Sholto Byrnes met him “That’s one of my favourite phrases in the book,” says Daniel Dennett, his huge bearded frame snapping out of postprandial languor at the thought of it: “If you have to hoodwink your children to ensure that they confirm their faith when they are adults, your faith ought to go extinct.” The 64-year-old Tufts University professor is amiable of aspect, but the reception he has had while in Britain promoting his new book, Breaking the Spell: religion as a natural phenomenon, has not been uniformly friendly. His development of the theory that religion has developed as an evolutionary “meme”, a cultural replicator which may or may not have a benign effect on those who transmit it, has drawn attacks, not least in these pages, where John Gray accused him of “a relentless, simple-minded cleverness that precludes anything like profundity”.

more from the New Statesman here.