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Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Spiritual Brain: A "great primer" on the mind-body debate, says reviewer

Here's a review of The Spiritual Brain by Denver Seminary student Jeff Stauffer (June 2008). I loved this part:

One does not have to possess a Ph.D in the medical field to grasp the philosophical nature of this issue, nor to follow the arguments presented.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jeff Stauffer! The Spiritual Brain is not hard to understand. Hard for some to accept, perhaps, but not hard to understand. He concludes,
I found this book to be compelling in terms of showing the nature of the mind to be more than mere atoms-in-space. As Christians, we need to incorporate scientific findings into our worldview if we are to hold to a realist, correspondence view of truth. Beauregard's book helps in this regard by positing a dualist notion of mind/body as the best explanation of the evidence from neuroscience. Overall, Beauregard does a much better job of critiquing a materialist account of nature than he does of providing empirical evidence for a spiritual brain. However, I do not take this to be an argument from ignorance, but one where a non-materialist account seems to be the best hypothesis going based on the evidence. This is a refreshing position from within the academic world on a subject that, oddly, many strive to eliminate: the existence of the human mind. I would encourage this book to those interested in the mind/body debate as a great primer on the subject.
Hmmm. What Mario and I did is called an "inference to the best explanation." In many situations, a slam dunk proof is not possible, but we can infer reasonable conclusions from a line of evidence.

For example, if spirituality is clearly and obviously good for human health (see Chapter 8), that suggests (though it does not prove) that spiritual forces underlie the universe. The alternative is to assume that a delusion is good for one's health - but all other medical evidence shows the contrary. So the assumption that spiritual forces underlie the universe is not proven by the fact that spirituality is good for health but it is far more consistent with that fact.

The rest of the review is here.

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