Re: Ch. 8 - Belief in Belief
This chapter contained a lot of interesting ideas, though there were parts I disagreed with. Here are some random comments.
The first section had a more psychological emphasis, which is fine but was an unexpected shift from the evolutionary perspective of the previous chapter.
As the start of the god as intentional object
section, Dennett dismisses the anthropomorphic view of God far too quickly, since in practice many religious people conceive of their god or gods with human-like qualities. The intentional object approach seemed worthwhile, but it begged the question of what's really going on.
The subsequent comparison of physics and religious ideas seemed kind of circular. Dennett never justifies his belief (which I share) that physicists have a better grasp on the underlying reality than religious leaders.
This observation of Dennett's was striking, but I wonder how accurate it is:
...the transition from folk religion to organized religion is marked by a shift in beliefs from those with very clear, concrete consequences to those with systematically elusive consequences.
I didn't get the point of the Druze and Kim Philby tangents.
The Does God exist?
concluding section seemed a like a cop-out, since Dennett states his conclusions without providing an explicit argument. Countering Anselm's Ontological Argument and the Cosmological Argument doesn't, by itself, prove atheism.