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The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case…
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The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul (2007)

by Mario Beauregard, Denyse O'Leary

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My friend gave me this book as a gift. I was expecting more from it, and I couldn't get through it due to the bad science and factual errors. And I still don't understand what a soul is supposed to be. Don't bother, it's not worth it. ( )
  locriian | Oct 27, 2014 |
Beauregard’s thesis is that mystical/spiritual experiences have effects on the brain that are too complex to be generalized down to a “God Gene,” a “God Switch,” or a section of the brain dedicated to religiosity. His evidence for this thesis is pretty strong—specifically, he summarizes his own neuroscience research with Carmelite nuns. This thesis does not take an entire book to prove, however, so he spends the rest of the book discussing other aspects of spirituality and neuroscience. Problem is, he’s not an exciting writer, so I really can’t remember any of his other points. I don’t recall any objectionable arguments he made…it’s just that the book is rather forgettable. Maybe worth a read if you have a specific interest in the area—but there are better books out there for casual popular reading. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Feb 29, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mario Beauregardprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Leary, Denysemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060858834, Hardcover)

Do religious experiences come from God, or are they merely the random firing of neurons in the brain? Drawing on his own research with Carmelite nuns, neuroscientist Mario Beauregard shows that genuine, life-changing spiritual events can be documented. He offers compelling evidence that religious experiences have a nonmaterial origin, making a convincing case for what many in scientific fields are loath to consider—that it is God who creates our spiritual experiences, not the brain.

Beauregard and O'Leary explore recent attempts to locate a "God gene" in some of us and claims that our brains are "hardwired" for religion—even the strange case of one neuroscientist who allegedly invented an electromagnetic "God helmet" that could produce a mystical experience in anyone who wore it. The authors argue that these attempts are misguided and narrow-minded, because they reduce spiritual experiences to material phenomena.

Many scientists ignore hard evidence that challenges their materialistic prejudice, clinging to the limited view that our experiences are explainable only by material causes, in the obstinate conviction that the physical world is the only reality. But scientific materialism is at a loss to explain irrefutable accounts of mind over matter, of intuition, willpower, and leaps of faith, of the "placebo effect" in medicine, of near-death experiences on the operating table, and of psychic premonitions of a loved one in crisis, to say nothing of the occasional sense of oneness with nature and mystical experiences in meditation or prayer. Traditional science explains away these and other occurrences as delusions or misunderstandings, but by exploring the latest neurological research on phenomena such as these, The Spiritual Brain gets to their real source.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:16 -0400)

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Draws on high-profile brain and near-death-experience research to present a case for God's existence as indicated by neuroscience, arguing that God, rather than brain neurons, is directly responsible for creating spiritual experiences.

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