“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.”—Publishers Weekly
The belief that the mind does not exist apart from the brain dominated the twentieth century. But can we really dismiss our thoughts and feelings, or furthermore, our religious and spiritual experiences, as simply outcomes of the firing synapses of our brain? In THE SPIRITUAL BRAIN, authors Dr. Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary present the groundbreaking evidence that the mind cannot be simply reduced to physiological reactions in the brain.
Most neuroscientists are committed to the view that mystical experiences are simply the result of random neurons firing, or “delusions created by the brain.” THE SPIRITUAL BRAIN takes another approach, powerfully arguing for what many in science are unwilling to consider—that people actually contact a reality outside themselves during intense spiritual experiences. Beauregard uses the most sophisticated technology to peer inside the brains of Carmelite nuns during a profound spiritual state. His results and a variety of other lines of evidence lead him to the surprising conclusion that spiritual experiences are not a figment of the mind or a delusion produced by a dysfunctional brain.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS – Mario Beauregard’s work at the University of Montreal on the effects of consciousness and volition on the emotional brain, and the neurobiology of the mystical experience has received international media coverage. Dr. Beauregard was selected by the World Media Net to be one of the "One Hundred Pioneers of the Twenty-First Century." Denyse O'Leary is a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in faith and science issues and who has written for the Toronto Star and the Globe & Mail.
The Spiritual Brain
A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul
By Mario Beauregard & Denyse O’Leary
Published by HarperOne
Hardcover / ISBN 978-0-06-085883-4 / $25.95 / 400 pages / September 2007
Here are some of the comments on The Spiritual Brain
"If you have a mind, you will find The Spiritual Brain a refreshing antidote to the strange arguments offered by some scientists who insist that their minds, and yours, are meaningless illusions." - Dean Radin, PhD, Senior Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences and author of The Conscious Universe and Entangled Minds
The Spiritual Brain is a wonderful and important book that provides new insights into our experience of religion and God. It offers a unique perspective to the ongoing dialogue between science and religion. This book is a necessary read for both the scientist and the religious person.
-Andrew Newberg, M.D. Associate Professor of Radiology and Director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-author of Why We Believe What We Believe.
"The Spiritual Brain is a very important book. It clearly explains non-materialist neuroscience in simple terms appropriate for the lay reader, while building on and extending work that Sharon Begley and I began in The Mind and The Brain, and work that Mario and I collaborated on in academic publications." - neuropsychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, author of The Mind and the Brain
"I truly was bowled over by the book, ... In The Spiritual Brain neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and science writer Denyse O’Leary push back hard. First they debunk the most widely touted urban legends of impoverished materialism"
- Michael Behe, author of Edge of Evolution
I've just finished reading The Spiritual Brain (I was sent an advance copy). It's superb, and is a milestone in what I think is going to be a 'long twilight struggle' against materialist neuroscience.
- neurosurgeon Mike Egnor
Today at the Mindful Hack, the blog that supports The Spiritual Brain:
Mind is not merely brian, Spiked reviewer insists.
Lawyer explains why materialist atheism is incoherent
Mathematician David Berlinski says mathematics is more than just climbing "the greasy pole of life."
Hype and the pop science media
And at the Post-Darwinist:
Dog breeding - proof that Darwin was right? Hardly, says prof
O'Leary's thoughts on "teaching the controversy", riffing off Freeman Dyson
Anti-intelligent design physicist on humans as pollution.
Another undead materialist myth: Copernicus "demoted" man from center of universe
Steve Weinberg flogs the "Christians believe in a flat earth" myth
Former atheist Antony Flew to author book on God as designer
British sociologist Steve Fuller is prepared to give Darwin a decent burial.