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Following C.S. Lewis's dictum that to 'see through' all things is the same as not to see, neuroscientist Beauregard and journalist O'Leary mount a sweeping critique of a trend in the pop science media to explain away religious experience as a brain artifact, pathology or evolutionary quirk. While sympathizing with the attraction such neurotheology holds, the authors warn against the temptation to force the complex varieties of human spirituality into simplistic categories that they argue are conceptually crude, culturally biased and often empirically untested. In recently published research using Carmelite nuns as subjects, Beauregard's group at the University of Montreal found specific areas of brain activation associated with contemplative prayer. But these patterns are quite distinct from those associated with hallucinations, autosuggestion or states of intense emotional arousal, resembling instead how the brain processes real experiences. Insisting that we have never entertained the idea of proving the existence of God, the authors concede that the results of our work are assumed to be a strike either for or against God and that on the whole, we [don't] mind. Never shrinking from controversy, and sometimes deliberately provoking it, this book serves as a lively introduction to a field where neuroscience, philosophy, and secular/spiritual cultural wars are unavoidably intermingled. (Sept.)
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*Starred Review* Neuroscientist Beauregard is no flighty New-Ager or Creationist but, he says, one of a minority of neuroscientists who don't adhere to strictly materialist interpretation of the human mind. He and his ilk believe that scientists who strive to explain the mind as an illusion created by the brain's chemical reactions ignore or vastly miscalculate the expanse of all that goes on in the universe. That is, it is too limiting to strictly confine the origin of all human thought to material or chemical interactions. In this complex tome, he describes the intricacy of his work and proposes that humans don't so much generate as transmit thoughts, and that by virtue of human ability to mentally interconnect with a higher consciousness, the actions of the mind become distinct and separate from, though observable by means of, the brain. He set out to prove his theory by studying a group of Carmelite nuns as they experienced God in prayer and meditation. Beauregard would be the first to note that, while his work doesn't ipso facto prove the existence of God, it does lend scientific credence to the existence of a higher or universal consciousness. Chavez, Donna --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I read the intro and first chapter, expecting to see a presentation based on science and research. Instead, the authors basically used those pages as an attempt to discredit (bash... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rev JSM
While I appreciate this topic and this writer's perspective, I have been spoiled by Steven Meyer's writing style. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Allen
There’s a phrase commenting on a book attributed to Samuel Johnson, or Voltaire, or to any of a long list of others;
“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the... Read more
Absolutely brilliant. A challenge to the current fashion in scientific materialism, based on good data, without any religious ranting of any kind. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rand B. Lee
Helps me understand why practice at meditation and prayer bring so much more experience.
And as a neuroscientist by training, i appreciate this academic look at the... Read more
this book provides a mature thought provoking look into spirituality from the neuroscience perspective and it's ability to be scientifically studied. I enjoyed it allPublished 13 months ago by jrawlins
I always thought that science was limited in its enquiry, just to material matters. This book has opened my mind to the possibility that science might just be able to reach beyond... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Brad Wrightson
Highly thought provoking. Even with todays technology science cannot isolate and identify what the mind actually is.Published 15 months ago by James E Fraser