Englischsprachige Literatur

Dennett Daniel C.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back

Norton, New York 2017


 Starting to read this voluminous book about the development of our mind on Darwin´s Day, gave an extra kick to the endeavour, because Darwin seems to be Dennett´s God of Creation.

As long as the author tells the fascinating story of how life developed throughout billions of years by genetic change that just happened, this reader here follows Dennett readily and with joy. The problems arise, when he invents his concept of memes that just as randomly expand our minds, so that gradually natural evolution as Darwin describes it changes into cultural evolution. Dennett´s key phrase of “competence without comprehension” begins to quiver and fail in the end.

Naturally, most of us drive a car and use a computer with competence, but without comprehension, what about the intelligent minds that designed these not-intelligent, but extremely competent human tools?

And going back to the beginning of evolution, might there not, after all, be an intelligent mind behind all of it? Contrary to Bennett´s intentions, as he is an ardent agnostic, he leads the reader, competent but without comprehending, to just that conclusion.