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Publisher's Summary

Does religious experience come from God, or is it just the random firing of neurons in the brain? Drawing on brain research on Carmelite nuns that has attracted major media attention and provocative new research in near-death experiences, The Spiritual Brain proves that genuine, life-changing spiritual events can be documented. The authors make a convincing case for what many in science are loathe to consider: that it is God who creates our spiritual experiences, not the brain.

Challenging the conclusions of such books as Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell, this book will be of interest to listeners on both sides of a hot-button issue at the meeting place of science and faith.

©2007 Mario Beauregard and Denyse O'Leary (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This conclusion is beyond science. Beauregard argues well in clear, readable prose, avoiding highly technical language." ( Library Journal)
"This book serves as a lively introduction to a field where neuroscience, philosophy, and secular/spiritual cultural wars are navoidably intermingled." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Barry T
  • Springfield, IL, USA
  • 08-27-08

interesting topic, but frustrating listen

This was an interesting topic, but often frustrating to listen to. The author includes many (too many?) quotations from other experts in the field. When reading the book, a quote is immediately obvious because it is indented. However, in the audiobook you don't realize you're hearing a quote until it's over and is attributed. This becomes very distracting because the quotes are long and will often argue against the author's thesis. The producers could have improved this by having a different narrator read the quotes, or by making the attribution before, instead of after the quote. I realize this sounds like a trivial complaint, but it was irritating enough to prompt me to write my first, and possibly only, review.

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen
  • Vancouver, WA, United States
  • 02-09-08

Interesting read

The authors discuss various research, including their own, on the brain and spiritual experiences, and in the process poke fun at modern theories that there is no mind and no free will. Most likely, neither science nor philosophy will ever settle the issue for good. However, the book is a good read, particularly for those who are skeptical of the viewpoint that all of our experiences are produced solely by chemical reactions and electrical activity in the brain.

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Clarence, NY, USA
  • 04-13-10

Tough listen

It seems as if his audience was ment to be other professors in his field. He spends too much time discounting the "materialist" point of view and not enough time supporting his own. Also, as an audio book, I'm not sure who the quotes are attributed to as some seem to mention the persons name ahead of the quote and others after the quote.This is especially true if there are a number of quotes in a row.
The bottom line is that people that are interested in listening/reading this book already believe in the non-materialist view when it comes to the "mind".

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I was disappointed in this book overall. There are some great takeaways on the role of mind and self, but they get a little lost in the axe grinding against materialism. I thought there would be way more time dedicated to the authors study of RSME’s, but that is relegated to a small part of Chapter 9. I kept waiting for his science, unfortunately it didn’t satisfy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

insightful. informative.

A well thought out and researched answer to dogmatic, evangelical materialism that doesn't fall into the fallacies of religious dogmatism. Long chapters ten to make the work difficult glisten to, but the content makes it worth the effort. The narrator's performance is excellent; entertaining and varied.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

More rhetoric than science.

The author spent more time in arguing rhetorically against non-religious arguments than is necessary. He spends only one chapter on his own studies, and half of that chapter was spent on the history of the order, not on the results of his study.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Assume God is the answer, then quote EVERYBODY

This is a TERRIBLE book. I really really tried, but time after time the authors jump to illogical conclusions, twist their arguments to reach their foregone conclusions, and make mistake after mistake. But what is inexcusable is how they take quotes out of context, making it seem like authors like Carl Sagan would agree with the authors' conclusions. That's just dishonest.

As for the quality of the science in this book, here's a sample: In the preface Dr. Beauregard accepts that people can move things with their minds because "it hasn't been disproved." Of course, it's never been PROVED either. Here's a rule of thumb - real scientists don't start by assuming anything that hasn't been disproved is true.

Oh, and this book is a massive patchwork of quotes. It can be hard to remember what the point is when listening to long chains of quotes.

If you want to rant against "materialists" and vent your spleen at anyone who might dare to be an atheist, then you'll like this book. If you want to learn something, don't bother to read this.

8 of 17 people found this review helpful