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February 18, 2006
My world o'blogs

Via Prometheus 6, a review of The God Genome.

Maybe it's just the reviewer's way of writing that makes me dislike author Daniel C. Dennett even without reading his book? Or maybe the reviewer dislikes him?

"In his own opinion, Dennett is a hero. He is in the business of emancipation, and he reveres himself for it."

"Dennett flatters himself that he is Hume's heir."

Hint to all you wannabe immortals out there? Don't flatter yourself. If you deserve the accolade, the world will bestow it upon you. Awarding yourself a title actually makes you look less worthy.

Anyhow, the only reason I mention it is because of the Christoph Niemann cartoon reprinted on Prometheus 6's site. It was breathtaking.


You don't need me to tell you to read Josh Marshall daily, but this was worth requoting:

"Having admitted unparalleled corruption, defendant Randall H. Cunningham now comes before the Court to be sentenced for his stunning betrayal of the public trust."

Randy Cunningham gets sentenced (TPM has the whole document in their collection) and the memorandum starts with a nice, hard smack in the head.

It's a beautiful sentence, isn't it?


A less-beautiful entry from Sisyphus Shrugged, a good entry about four stories on the military.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:52 PM


I would take Wieseltier's review with a huge grain of salt. Personally, I think his disgust with Dennett's book simply reflect the fact that his own religious sensibilities were offended. Dennert is a philosopher and an expert on the subjects of evolution and consciousness. Wieseltier is none of the above. His simply adopting a withering and erudite tone does not make him correct.

Posted by: Bob at February 19, 2006 12:00 AM

"Maybe it's just the reviewer's way of writing that makes me dislike author Daniel C. Dennett even without reading his book?"

Just out of curiosity, have you read either much Wieseltier or Dennett before? This sentence seems to suggest you're unfamiliar with either of them, but perhaps it's just a quirk of the phrasing.

If you're not familiar with them, I'd recommend much of both author's rather vast bodies of work over the decades as worthwhile. Naturally, I also disagree with each of them on a variety of matters (Wieseltier being vastly more eclectic, given his decades as literary editor at TNR, and, well, decades of eclecticism; Dennett pretty much stays with philosophy of mind, and lately his anti-religion crusade; however, I'd say that Dennett on the nature of consciousness, and on cognition, can be quite fascinating, though also quite debatable; his colloboration with Hofstadter on The Mind's I was also quite interesting, I thought, as one might imagine).

Posted by: Gary Farber at February 19, 2006 12:23 AM

It did seem to me, Bob that the reviewer had an axe to grind. I guess I should just be glad that he was obvious enough that his bias showed, even to the casual reader.

Thanks for the suggestions, Gary. I might try either of these guys on some other topic (and now that you've refreshed my memory, I'm sure I've read Dennett in the past).

Posted by: Anne at February 19, 2006 09:55 AM