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Just released – a neuroscientist’s case for the existence of … the soul!


“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

John Derbyshire was absolutely emphatic that George Bush and the US would not have the guts to invade Iraq. So his track record on predictions is not necessarily good. He is a conservative and a gifted writer but he is also often an angry man. I stopped reading his postings at NRO about the time of the Iraq invasion. He is a student of mathematics and has written several books on math so I assume he thinks he has a scientific mind. jerry
Derbyshire is nuts. Increasing knowledge of genetics is burying the random mutation theory of evolution. DaveScot
The Intelligent Design People will soon move camp. The anti-evolution seam is pretty much worked out, and the rapid increase in our understanding of genetics, especially paleogenetics, is causing them serious problems.
Too bad he didn't bother to reference what evidence he was talking about. Patrick
Can’t wait to read this book. They want us to identify the Designer, but the Designer may not so easily subject himself to our scientific probes. So why not look into the source of human design—that can be studied scientifically. Thank you for publicizing that fact. It's destined to be a major component of the ID movement. Rude
Well, it looks like John Derbyshire (anti-IDist) of the National Review has made a prediction regarding how ID proponents will react. See here : http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDBkZWUxZmU5NmFiZTQwNjA4MTM3ZmQ0NjRiM2E1M2Q= QUOTE : ----------------------- Prediction. Speaking of neuroscience: I made the following prediction in a Letter to the Editor of The American Spectator early in August. Whether they’ll print the letter or not I don’t know, so for insurance I’ll make the prediction again here. The Intelligent Design People will soon move camp. The anti-evolution seam is pretty much worked out, and the rapid increase in our understanding of genetics, especially paleogenetics, is causing them serious problems. My prediction is that they will dump all the stuff about fossils and “irreducible complexity,” rewrite their placards and banners, and go camp outside the neuroscience department with their bullhorns and noisemakers. Consciousness Studies is a big thing now, and getting bigger fast. The problems it has to solve are particularly knotty, and should keep the scientists busy for several decades at least. Those problems relate rather obviously to issues of the soul, and of human exceptionalism — rich picking for the Discovery Institute types. You heard it here first. --------------------------- SeekAndFind
[...] It is worth reading the previous post in the context of the appearance of a new book on the ’spiritual 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. [...] Darwiniana » The spiritual brain
sagebrush gardener, Good detective work. Thanks. I still think it is a cool name; reminds me of a cross between Beast (Henry McCoy of the X-men) and a Nahmanides type of Jewish sage (Ramban). Atom
Atom [off topic]: Glossu Rabban (later nicknamed Beast Rabban after he murders his own father) was a minor character in the science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert. (source: Wikipedia) sagebrush gardener
For years psychiatrists have been abusing this materialistic approach to neuroscience. Since their was no immaterial "mind" to appeal to, the only thing left was to approach the bio-chemical element in the brain with drugs. You will change lives, maybe even save a few lives with this book. I am looking forward to it. StephenB
Denyse, Border's here in Milwaukee has some copies in - I'm picking mine up in 30 minutes. Can't wait to read it, I'm putting Denton's "Nature's Destiny" on the backburner for the time being. Tedsenough
And Denyse, Congratulations. I hope to get a chance to read your book after I'm done with my current stack. Atom
BTW: Beast Rabban = The coolest net moniker I've ever heard. What's the origin of that name? Atom
Congratulations Denyse. I'm going to order a copy right now. Any chance of getting it signed? dacook
Thanks all for kind comments! For Collin: No, apparently. There is a plethora of unsatisfactory theories out there - one enterprising author team (Edelman and Tonioni) listed over a dozen: Spinoza’s dual-aspect theory, Malebranche’s occasionalism, Leibniz’s parallelism and doctrine of preestablished harmony, identity theory, central state theory, neutral monism, logical behaviorism, token physicalism, type physicalism, token epiphenomenalism, type epiphenomenalism, anomalous monism, emergent materialism, eliminative materialism, and functionalism various types). I fear I must catch up with Chalmers later, whose theory may well fit into one of the categories above. The thing is, more unsatisfactory theories come down the pike all the time, but that is not the sort of situation that causes one to anticipate that the next one will change everything. And some materialist theories of mind or spirituality are right up there with the Big Bazooms* theory of human evolution. For Bill: Rough treatment? It was rough on ME, as I nearly split my diaphragm laughing over some of the silliness. At least it would have been a self-inflicted injury ... And Beast: Much thanks to you too, for your good wishes and for your many helpful posts to my blogs. *I did NOT invent the expression "Big Bazooms." I owe it to "Blatch" - gifted journalist Christie Blatchford, reporting years ago on the innermost thoughts of Toronto politicians. O'Leary
Well done, indeed! Works critiquing and attacking the current materialist attempts to exorcise consciousness and soul are badly needed. Beast Rabban
Hearty congratulations! Rough treatment of materialist neuroscience is long overdue. William Dembski
Congradulations, I can't wait to read it. BTW, did you happen to address David Chalmer's theory of consciousness in your book? Collin

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