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65 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New reviews
I truly was bowled over by the book, which had my eyes watering at points. For more than a century materialists have been trying to talk us out of our minds. No such thing, they say. It's just a brain, just electrified jelly, no more free than billiard balls bouncing around a pool table. Our overwhelming internal senses of self and freedom are pathetic illusions,...
Published on 26 Sep 2007 by Mario Beauregard

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ideologically loaded
This "neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul" appears to be based on the naive and fallacious assumption that if the mind can alter the brain, then the mind must be independent of the brain.
Published 5 months ago by Febble


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65 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New reviews, 26 Sep 2007
I truly was bowled over by the book, which had my eyes watering at points. For more than a century materialists have been trying to talk us out of our minds. No such thing, they say. It's just a brain, just electrified jelly, no more free than billiard balls bouncing around a pool table. Our overwhelming internal senses of self and freedom are pathetic illusions, meaningless byproducts of mechanical processes in a pointless universe. 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 -- the "God gene", "God spot", "God helmet". Then they soberly examine the latest data from neuroscience, ranging from brain scans of prayerful nuns to the powerful placebo effect of sugar pills. If approached without materialist prejudice, they write, the results point insistently to the reality of a spiritual mind that survives physical death. For my money, the most compelling demonstration of the reality of the psyche is the simple, elegant, entertaining, dryly humorous writing of /The Spiritual Brain/ itself. In it we are privileged to meet a pair of unfettered minds actively at work to shape our world. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with a mind of his own.

- biochemist Mike 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

In principle, the natural sciences are agnostic. Dealing only in physical data, they can prove neither that God (a being deemed entirely spiritual) exists nor that he does not. But if science is in essence agnostic, scientists themselves often are not. Many books purport that science supports atheism (e.g., Daniel C. Dennett's Breaking the Spell). Others, such as this one, believe that science supports theism. With the assistance of journalist O'Leary (Faith@Science: Why Science Needs Faith in the Twenty-First Century), Canadian neuroscientist Beauregard here argues that his own work with Carmelite nuns and various other scientific studies show that merely physical explanations for religious experience are insufficient. He should end the discussion there: answer unknown. But he argues further that mystical experience shows spiritual beings must exist, and that the existence of God is probable. This conclusion is beyond science. Beauregard argues well in clear, readable prose, avoiding highly technical language. Whether his argument is convincing is up to the reader. Recommended for academic libraries and for public libraries with strong religion collections.
Library Journal review

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.

Is spiritual experience an illusion caused by a misfiring brain, as many scientists believe, or is it something more? In The Spiritual Brain neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and journalist Denyse O'Leary persuasively argue that it is indeed something more. This means the mainstream neurosciences may have overlooked something of profound importance about who and what we are. 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 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. Of utmost importance is the fact that The Spiritual Brain clearly shows that non-materialist neuroscience is not simply a controversial view held by some neuroscientists. It is a coherent and theoretically very well-grounded perspective that can play a critical role in developing more effective treatments for many medical and psychological disorders. Further, it creates natural links between physical and spiritual health by stressing the need for the active participation of people in their own treatment planning and implementation. The Spiritual Brain greatly contributes to the on-going paradigm shift that is revolutionizing our understanding of the relationship of the spirit, the mind, and the brain in the 21st Century.

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD
Research Psychiatrist, UCLA
Author of Brain Lock and The Mind and The Brain
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Neuroscientists's challenge to materialism, 9 May 2009
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R. Wright (Londn, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul (Paperback)
At a time when unreflecting materialist/anti-theistic assumptions dominate psychology and neuroscience, Mario Beauregard's book is like a breath of fresh air.
Beauregard attack's the materialist scientist's view that mind and consciousness reflect the activity of the brain, and are not independent of it. He shows that such conclusions,often drawn from work in AI and in evolutionary psychology, are not in fact consistent with the evidence, but largely reflect the initial assumptions and worldview of materialism. In particular, whilst accepting that evolution has occurred, he ridicules the attempts to explain behaviour in terms of evolutionary psychology. Not only is the latter full of untested - indeed often untestable - theories about human nature. It seems to take some form of behaviour exising in a particular contemporary culture, and illegitimately tries to explain it in terms of universal and eternal features. Thus, we have evo. psy. 'explanations' for monogamy AND polygamy, competitiveness AND co=operation, selfishness AND altruism.
Beauregard goes on to deal with psi, near death experiences, and the placebo effect, showing in each case evidence that defies materialism.Moreover, in fields such as healing, it is shown how exclusively materialist approaches hold up progress.
The book, in essence, emphasises that if we wish to gain a comprehensive understanding of brain/mind interaction, we must go beyond the materialist paradigm which is so dominant in science today. Science properly involves scepticism towards claims made about reality, but scepticism needs to be two-way. We must make every effort to rid ourselves of limiting preconceptions, and be prepared to go where the evidence leads.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK, 9 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul (Paperback)
Very important book to study for my masters degree course. This book makes a very good case for consciousness being not part of the brain.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neuroscience supports the existence and benefits of the mystical, 19 Aug 2010
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul, by Mario Beauregard & Denyse O'Leary, HarperCollins, New York, 2007, 384 ff

Neuroscience supports the existence and benefits of the mystical
By Howard Jones

The authors of this book are a rare species - non-materialist neuroscientists. Their study of contemplative nuns has shown that a mystical state of consciousness really exists. Mario Beauregard has carried out this groundbreaking research at the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. Denyse O'Leary is a Toronto journalist and author of By Design or By Chance.
Early on, the authors provide the reasons why they dismiss the idea of a `God gene', that is, that we are predisposed to belief in God through genetic programming. They also give the shortcomings of the idea that spiritual or mystical experience arises by stimulation of a particular part of the brain. Attempts to prove this have involved the use of a `God helmet' by Canadian neuroscientist Michael Persinger with biologist Richard Dawkins and psychologist Susan Blackmore as two of his subjects.
The authors then discuss theories of the relationship between `mind' and `brain', citing the work of many other neurologists, philosophers and pharmacologists who have worked in this field. They then move on to a non-materialist science of mind giving both a layman's account of phenomena and a clinical description of events in terms of brain physiology, suitable really only for medics. This review discusses Jeffrey Schwartz' treatment of OCD cases (see my review of The Mind and The Brain), the placebo effect, NDEs and other psi phenomena. You would have to be very much a materialist not to find these accounts persuasive.
There are interpretations of the placebo and nocebo effects, and a fine overview of the studies of mysticism by Alister Hardy, Evelyn Underhill, W.T. Stace and the follow-up work by R.M. Hood with his scale of mystical experiences. There follows a critique of the evolutionary psychology approach to spiritual experience and the materialist views of biologist Richard Dawkins, psychologist Susan Blackmore and philosopher Daniel Dennett. The benefits to health of a spiritual approach to the world are described through the work of those like Herbert Benson and Jeffrey Schwartz.
The final sections of the book deal with the studies carried out by the authors in Montreal on meditative states of a group of Carmelite nuns and they pose the provocative question of whether God creates brain or the brain creates God.
There is an extensive Notes section and a good Index. The book is easily readable (the more clinical bits are sectioned off) and is highly recommended to anyone wanting an up-to-date account of the power of spirituality in influencing our lives.

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.

Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief
Mind and the Brain
The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Religious Experience (Theology & the Sciences)
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5.0 out of 5 stars GOING AGAINST THE MATERIALIST'S GRAIN, 5 Jan 2014
By 
Mrs. Judith Lugg (Wolverhampton, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul (Paperback)
Have read many books on this subject and I have to say that I greatly admire the courage and tenacity of the authors in their quest for what exactly and where exactly is consciousness.

I am not a scientist in any discipline BUT I do have a wide understanding and experience of life, and along with many other debunkers of the materialists' views, believe that conciousness is all around us - in fact, that the whole Universe is a concious entity and that there IS Someone or Something hidden behind it all.

I become extremely annoyed when scientists take a definite mind-set against an idea/theory; after all did not mankind once think and was quite adamant about the position of Planet Earth and that it was the centre of our solar system? Wrong!

The fact that Dr. Pim van Lommel took the time to read and comment very favourably on this book goes a long way with me. His excellent book about Near Death Experiences is well worth anyone's time.

Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience

In any event, I highly recommend 'The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 29 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul (Paperback)
I found this book to be a very interesting read and I enjoyed reading it.

I was also very pleased with the speedy delivery and also with the good packaging.

I thank you.

Anne
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Regarding Stephen A. Haines's review, 5 April 2008
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Mr Stephen A. Haines obviously missed the closing sentences of the 'Manifesto on the Present and Future of Brain Research':

'But all the progress will not end in a triumph for neuronal reductionism. Even if at some point we have explained all the processes of the neuron which underlie human sympathy, being in love or moral responsibility, the distinctive feature of this "internal perspective" nevertheless remains. For even a Bach fugue does not lose its fascination when one has understood precisely how it is constructed. Brain research will have to distinguish clearly between what it can say and what lies outside its sphere of competence, just as morphology - to keep to this example - has something to say about Bach's fugue, but can have no explanation of its unique beauty'.
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29 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review by Dr. Pim van Lommel, 26 Sep 2007
By 
Johanne Lévesque (Montréal, Québec Canada) - See all my reviews
The Spiritual Brain is a wonderful and important book. I hope it will be successful, because it deserves to be read throughout the world.

Dr. Pim van Lommel, Division of Cardiology, Hospital Rijnstate, Arnhem, Netherlands
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ideologically loaded, 4 Nov 2013
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This "neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul" appears to be based on the naive and fallacious assumption that if the mind can alter the brain, then the mind must be independent of the brain.
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3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Service, 7 Jun 2009
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J. Ogbuanu - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul (Paperback)
Firstly, I used the amazon browser to search for some books that relate to my interest and it was an excellent result. Secondly, I was impressed when the book was delivered to me on schedule. Lastly, the book satisfies my need. Amazon services are one of the best in the world and I would recommend anybody to avail himself or herself of this 'spot on' service. Thanks for your excellent services.
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