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Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief Paperback – March 26, 2002
Fascinating Facets of Philosophy
The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. Learn more | See related books
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Researchers Newberg and D'Aquili used high-tech imaging devices to peer into the brains of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns. As the data and brain photographs flowed in, the researchers began to find solid evidence that the mystical experiences of the subjects "were not the result of some fabrication, or simple wishful thinking, but were associated instead with a series of observable neurological events," explains Newberg. "In other words, mystical experience is biologically, observably, and scientifically real.... Gradually, we shaped a hypothesis that suggests that spiritual experience, at its very root, is intimately interwoven with human biology." Lay readers should be warned that although the topic is fascinating, the writing is geared toward scientific documentation that defends the authors' hypothesis. For a more palatable discussion, seek out Deepak Chopra's How to Know God, in which he also explores this fascinating evidence of spiritual hard-wiring. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is another, weaker aspect to this book, which is the philosophical musings of the authors. Somewhere in the middle of the book, they decide that there are only two positions to be taken, objective realism and subjectivism. They make the reasonable point (though without supporting it in the book) that current neuroscience research reveals human perception to be constructed to a great degree, rather than directly providing a literal reflection of nature. This particular point is made in more detail by others, such as by Gerald Edelman in "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire," also suitable for general readers, and by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in their writings, as well as Walter Freeman in "How Brains Make Up Their Minds.Read more ›
First, I enjoyed enormously the discussion on the biological brain functioning, and the conclusions that they derive in the first few chapters. The best way to summarize that particular discussion is as follows. Your brain is designed to keep you alive. As it developed particularly unique and complex abilities, most notably the ability for causal analysis, it discovered that there is one thing that the brain cannot do with regard to our surival...it cannot ultimately prevent our death. Since the limbic system creates an "anxiety response" to physical threats, the brain must create a response to quiet the anxiety produced by this existential discovery. If it is a normal stimulus, the brain knows how to tell the self to flee or fight. But with the ultimate death, there is no such possible response. So the brain invents answers, including God, life after death, etc. to quell the anxiety, and the neurology of the brain creates such powerful physiological response that we "feel" we have come to "true" conclusions.
I liked that part. But then they make some major leaps and begin to describe a concept that they call "Absolute Unitary Being," about which I never did get a clear idea of what they mean. On the one hand, it sounds like they are simply describing a "ground-state" of reality, from which all our neurological perceptions arise. I'm okay with that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read the poor reviews and must say that for those wanting heavier scientific writings, check out authors' book "The Mystical Mind". Read morePublished 22 days ago by A Reader
This is a great book to help Atheists understand to be more tolerant of those of faith. It explains religious beliefs are more than just early child hood development and a set of... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tee2Vee
Why humans are built to 'believe'...we are never going to be rid of the god-delusion and this book explains why...very interesting descriptions of brain functions...Published 13 months ago by Larry in Durango
This is one of the most thoughtful and logical books that I have ever read. It helps resolve some of the conflict between science and the need people have to see that the life's... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Josephine B.
Dr. Andrew Newberg and his colleagues believe that they have found the neural pathways that enable spiritual seekers to connect to the Absolute Unitary Being, in other words, God. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Robin E. Levin
Whether you are an atheist or a deist, believe in a monotheistic deity or worship a polytheistic force, the place that beliefs occupy in your brain will unravel the soothing effect... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Larry Dieli