Reply to Leon Wieseltier

March 12, 2006


March 12, 2006
Still Breaking the Spell

To the Editor:

Leon Wieseltier’s review of Daniel Dennett’s ‘‘Breaking the Spell’’ (Feb. 19) was an impressive demonstration of the power of religious faith. In gathering the wood for this auto-da-fé, Wieseltier showed no facility at all for scientific thought, nor even a basic appreciation for the standards of rigor and intellectual honesty that distinguish science from religion as a human pursuit. Wieseltier writes with triumphal smugness about the ‘‘excesses of naturalism’’ that apparently blight Dennett’s work. He might as well have pointed out the ‘‘excesses of historical accuracy’’ or the ‘‘excesses of logical coherence.’’ If utter naturalism is a sin, it is one only from the point of view of religious faith—a faith that has grown ever more blinkered in Reason’s glare.

Sam Harris

New York

The writer is the author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason.