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.
Hey, there’s lots for some people to like and others to be mad about.

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