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Friday, June 22, 2007

The Spiritual Brain: Here’s the cover!

This is what the cover for The Spiritual Brain looks like. Mario liked it and so did I. Here’s what I said when someone asked me recently what the book is about:
The Spiritual Brain examines the claim that the mind is simply the functions of the brain and rejects it, not because it is uncomfortable, but because it conflicts with key evidence. In fact, materialism is approaching a crisis. Unable to account for such fundamental features of the human being as consciousness and free will, it is reduced to asserting that they are illusions. As one small example, the 1990s generation of antidepressants that was famously hyped as proving that there is no such thing as the soul turned out to perform only somewhat better than the familiar placebo effect. Similarly, claims that spirituality can be reduced to a God gene or lobe in the brain are paltry, and sometimes ridiculous. Having demolished the nonsense, the book introduces the quietly growing discipline of non-materialist neuroscience, which treats the mind as real and demonstrates the ways in which it changes the brain. A non-materialist approach to neuroscience is not merely another new theory: It offers hope for treating difficult disorders such as phobias and obsessive compulsions. Treating the mind as real, we also examine claims for such puzzling and controversial experiences as the psi effect and near death experience. We also let the public in on a little secret you won’t hear from the current spate of anti-God books on the market: Overwhelmingly, the evidence shows that spirituality is good for you. More significantly, Beauregard and Paquette's Carmelite nun studies demonstrate that it is reasonable to believe that mystical contemplatives do indeed contact a power outside themselves.

There’s lots for some people to like and others to be mad about.
My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

NEW!! Evolution in the light of intelligent design - look up intelligent design topics here.

Animations of life inside the cell, indexed, for your convenience.

Anti-God crusade ... no, really! My recent series on the spate of anti-God books, teen blasphemy challenge, et cetera, and the mounting anxiety of materialist atheists that lies behind it.

Catholic Church A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

Collins, Francis My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God

Columnists weigh in on the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

Darwinism dissent Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin

Gilder, George A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

Intelligent design academic publications.

Intelligent design-friendly students should be flunked, according to bio prof Evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Intelligent design controversy My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

Intelligent design controversy timeline An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Intelligent design and culture My review of sci-fi great Rob Sawyer’s novel, The Calculating God , which addresses the concept of intelligent design.

March of the Penguins A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

Origin of life Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.

Peer review My backgrounder about peer review issues.

Polls relevant to the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

Stove, David O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

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