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The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul

Mario Beauregard and Denyse O'leary

HarperCollins (hardback, 384 pages), 2007

Item# B129
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Many Darwinists love to claim that the theory of Intelligent Design is un-scientific because it is un-testable. Science simply must be limited to materialistic explanations because these are the ones that show results in the laboratory. Unfortunately for the Darwinists, there is a modern branch of science that, when it comes to offering materialistic answers, is generally at a loss for words. This is the field of neuroscience. Rising to the challenge of answering these difficult questions is Dr. Mario Beauregard of the University of Montréal. Teaming up with freelance journalist Denyse O’Leary, the two of them take a solid look into the matters of the mind. After examining the best explanations available on the materialist side, they arrive at the conclusion that “materialist neuroscience does a very poor job of accounting for RSMEs (religious, spiritual, and mystical experiences)”.

Simply speaking, the materialistic answers offered don’t account for the data. So our authors decide to “test” the ID theory. The mind existing as a non-physical entity is only conceivable in a world that allows for such an existence. For instance, materialism cannot account for individuals having experiences while they are neurologically recorded as being clinically dead. Materialists cannot account for the mind alone being able to heal people, either through the rearranging of how the brain works or through the placebo effect. Armed with precise brain-map images and clinical data, and using the most up to date technologies available, Beauregard and O’Leary show how people are using their minds to change their brains. In numerous examples they show how mind is, and has always been, used to overcome matter. The conclusion they feel they must draw by the end of the research is that the mind is not a delusional figment of our imaginations, but an actual non-physical entity. Whether you’re interested in the scientific research behind phenomena such as near-death experiences and mystical unions, or you’re simply desiring a clear explanation of just how much the media-inflated research into a ‘god gene’ has turned up, you will find this book a fascinating read.

“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.”
- Dr. Michael Behe, biochemist, author of Edge of Evolution

Table of Contents


  1 Toward a Spiritual Neuroscience
  2 Is There a God Program?
  3 Does the God Module Even Exist?
  4 The Strange Case of the God Helmet
  5 Are Mind and Brain Identical?
  6 Toward a Nonmaterialist Science of Mind
  7 Who Has Mystical Experiences and What Triggers Them?
  8 Do Religious, Spiritual, or Mystical Experiences Changes Lives?
  9 The Carmelite Studies: A New Direction?
10 Did God Create the Brain or Does the Brain Crate God?


About the Authors
Mario Beauregard's groundbreaking work on the neurobiology of mystical experience at the University of Montreal has received international media coverage. Before becoming a faculty member there, he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas and the Montreal Neurological Institute (McGill University). Because of his research into the neuro-science of consciousness, he was selected by the World Media Net to be among the "One Hundred Pioneers of the 21st Century." He lives in Montreal, Canada.

Denyse O'Leary is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and blogger who specializes in faith and science issues. She is the author of Faith@Science and By Design or by Chance? and has written for The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, and Canadian Living.

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