By Daniel C. Dennett
Penguin, 2004, 368 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - May 3, 2010
The scientist Daniel C. Dennett is an unbeliever who investigates and explains human affairs in a scientific manner. In Freedom Evolves, he addresses the ancient question whether people really have the freedom the make decisions in a world that has so much control over their bodies and minds. He answers yes, and shows how the ability to think evolved and, while doing so, shows also how moral concepts developed.
Should religious people listen to atheists? The simple answer is "yes," everyone can make a contribution to help others and society. The first British chief rabbi of pre-Israel Palestine put it this way: Jewish law only allowed the high priest and no other to enter the most holy place in the ancient Temple. Yet workman, even those who did not believe in God, could enter at any time to make repairs. So, too, he said, atheists have much to teach and repair us.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.