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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A biological theory of mind, 23 Nov. 2009
This review is from: The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles (Audio CD)
The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, Elite Books, Santa Rosa, CA, USA; and Cygnus Books, Llandeilo, UK; 2005, 224 ff.

A biological theory of mind
By Howard A. Jones

For over a century, many biologists have rejected Lamarckian ideas on how the environment might affect us biologically in ways that could be transmitted to our children. Lamarckian theory was developed fully in a book written in 1809. It was still extant when Darwin published the Origin of Species exactly fifty years later. The crux of the problem is that our genes containing DNA determine our physical and mental characteristics and the structure of DNA does not change in our lifetime, except through exposure to radiation or toxic chemicals.

Although the structure of DNA does not normally change, its function is continually affected by RNA, which is sensitive to its environment. This is what Lipton's book is all about - how these effects on our cells are brought about. It is written in an accessible style by an eminent cell biologist, an expert in his field. I doubt that the book was ever intended as a `self-help' book, criticized by some reviewers, except insofar as it emphasizes the importance of exposing the body to as few toxic influences as possible and, as indicated by the title, it shows how belief and intention do affect the body. It thus provides a scientific rationale for the effects of placebos on the body, and for cases of spontaneous remission of diseases like cancer.

There are some inaccurate statements in the book, as on p.195 in the statement: `Until 1975, the only geometry available for study was Euclidean'. In fact, non-Euclidean geometry dates from the mid-nineteenth century; but then, mathematics is not Lipton's field! However, I could find no errors in the biology, though again this is not my main field of expertise. The book is inspirational in encouraging us all to adopt a positive attitude of mind in the certain knowledge that there are biochemical processes that will thereby be enhanced. I suspect that those who are highly critical of this book are Darwinian materialists, to whom any suggestion that mind has any influence on the body is anathema.

There is an extensive reference list and a good index. Thoroughly recommended!

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.

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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Dec 2009 04:15:23 GMT
Ronda S. says:
I fully believe that mind is definitely capable of affecting the body to a limited degree and in rare cases, a seemingly miraculous degree. My main objection to Lipton's book is that he makes the case that anyone adversely affected by a bad upbringing, is largely beyond help now. Oh, unless of course, they sign up for his friend's expensive 'self-help' course in some therapy/technique or other! Nowhere in the book does he say that anyone who has suffered an abusive childhood can overcome it by positive thought or any other self help technique, rather he puts forward the view that the die has been cast and therefore this is a lesson to learn for anyone to think carefully how they treat children or react around them, because once the 'damage' has been done, it can't be put right. (Unless they sign up for his friend's course, which apparently is expensive and from the reviews I've read of his friend's book, not much use).
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