Atheist of the Month for April 2016: Daniel Dennett

One of the beloved – and bemoaned – “Four Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse“, Professor Daniel Dennett is the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. A philosopher and cognitive scientist, Professor Dennett has authored over 400 scholarly articles regarding the mind, as well as establishing himself as one of the most prominent anti-theists in the world today.

In is his 1995 book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, Professor Dennett outlines how human morality is a result of our evolution, rather than imposed upon us by some sort of deity. However, he gained most of his prominence within the atheist community in 2006, with the release of his book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. In it, Professor Dennett helps to dispel the ridiculous notion that religion should either be immune to scientific inquiry and examination, or that it cannot be subjected to it.

Daniel Dennet
Daniel Dennett

Breaking the Spell was released around the same time as Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion, Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great, and Sam Harris’ The End of Faith – ushering in what has been called the “New Atheist” movement – a movement in which anti-theists advocate against allowing religion to promulgate and impose its will upon society with impunity.

In 2010, Professor Dennett and Linda LaScola published their pilot study, “Preachers who are Not Believers“, which laid the groundwork for The Clergy Project – a non-profit that provides a private online community for current and former members of the clergy who no longer believe in the supernatural. It also helps them to transition into secular employment.

Professor Dennett is also an member of the advisory board for the Secular Coalition of America, as well as a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. In addition, he has been awarded several awards, including the 2001 Jean Nicod Prize, the 2012 Erasmus Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences.

In the 2004, he was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. The Freedom From Religion Foundation named him to their Honorary Board of distinguished achievers in 2010.

You can follow him on Twitter @danieldennett.