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Download The "God" Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God epub

by Matthew Alper

"A lively manifesto...For the discipline's specific application to the matter at hand, I've seen nothing that matches the fury of The "God" Part of the Brain, which perhaps explains why it's earned something of a cult following." -Salon.comIn this revised cult classic, the author offers a systematic, scientific argument that shows why belief in God is an inherent evolutionary mechanism that enables us to cope with our greatest, universal terror-death. Originally published in 1996, Matthew Alper's book is a personal journey that has been adopted by over 25 colleges and universities and has sparked commentary by world-renowned scientists such as E. O. Wilson and E. Fuller Torry. Here for the first time is a reasoned, compassionate, spiritual journey into the world of science, where God is not so much an illusion as a hallmark of the very way in which we think. "[E]xcellent reading." -Edward O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
Download The "God" Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God epub
ISBN: 1402207484
ISBN13: 978-1402207488
Category: Other
Subcategory: Science & Mathematics
Author: Matthew Alper
Language: English
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.; 1 edition (August 1, 2006)
Pages: 274 pages
ePUB size: 1633 kb
FB2 size: 1674 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 942
Other Formats: rtf doc docx mbr

A very thoughtful, reasoned argument.
It did not, however, change my believe in GOD.
Laying aside all descriptions of GOD (religious texts, the Bible, Torah, etc.) the assertion that GOD, or the concept of GOD, is basically a function of evolution is logical and easily acceptable to me.
If a belief in GOD is a part of the placebo effect, that's fine, too, because the placebo effect is real.
If it (a faith, personal to the believer) works (according to each individual's understanding of "works") then what does it matter if it's a placebo or an actual, physical reality?

For example, one might say "I was in a hopeless situation and GOD helped me recover." The scientist will say, "The fact you recovered proves the situation was not hopeless."

Does it matter, as long as the recovery occurred?
I bought this book after hearing an interview with the author on Coast-to-Coast radio. I thought the interview was much better than the book. In fact, I felt the first half of the book was nothing more than a rehash of the Psych 101 class I took in college some 40+ years ago. I really didn't enjoy this book until I got to chapter 15 and the near death experiences. I felt that I could have been well served by reading only the last six chapters. Finally, I was a bit surprised the author didn't even address the possibility of intelligent design and that the gods people worship were possibly those same intelligent designers.
I've read other books on this subject which can be either too dry or too caustic, but this one hits the mark, although I'm not sure I totally agree with Alper that neurological wiring towards religiosity negates the reality of the supernatural or divine. I'm an atheist, so I"d like to agree with him wholeheartedly, but you could also say, as I believe Chomsky said, that humans are hardwired for language in a way animals are not, yet this doesn't negate the fact that language, while culturally constructed, is a real phenomena and we are wired to receive it and acquire it quickly. I'm probably getting in over my head with my analogy, but I think it's worth considering. We humans create music, a cultural construction that is not found in the animal world, yet the phenomenon itself --- the sounds-- are a concrete reality. In fact, some deists might insist that because we are 'wired for God', so to speak, that in itself is proof of God. I wouldn't go that far; we can also be 'wired' for hallucinations and mental illness too. An interesting read and a worthwhile contemplation on a timeless subject; what makes Alper sympathetic is that he arrived to his conclusions as a result of a spiritual search, not a biased knee-jerk stance against religion, which I find a bit off-putting from folks like Hitchens (Mr. Caustic himself). And Richard Dawkins' book, "The Blind Watchmaker" is a bit abstract for me; the statistical probability discussions of evolution just went right over my simpleton head. If you are looking for a layman's take on this debate, this one is it.
Alpers' reading of science is flawed on many counts, most of them inconsequential, but his drawing of generalizations is weakened by these errors. The book's major premise depend on our knowledge of impending and inevitable death being mentally devastating, and he provides little evidence of this result. That said, he weaves interesting speculations of evolved neurophysiology. His proposals in the final chapter to substitute a "religion" based on universally held moral precepts brought to rational behavioral norma are inspiring to a secular rationalist like myself, but they aren't likely to find much traction within religious establishments.
Very interesting perspective! I like that Matt has combined so much research into explaining why humans have such a tendency to believe in god. It's a great read and a fantastic explantion of the relious aspect of human behavior.
Nicely cross referenced. Entertaining but not enlightening. THe author's premise in a nut shell, is that humans brains are pre-wired to believe in a higher power as we are the only animals in the creation that had evolved with a sense of future. A good book for a long trip but it gets monotonous sometimes. I still would recommended it.