The Illusion of God s Presence

Author: John C. Wathey
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1633880753
Format: PDF, ePub
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An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. Starting with a vivid narrative account of the life-threatening hike that triggered his own mystical experience, biologist John Wathey takes the reader on a scientific journey to find the sources of religious feeling and the illusion of God's presence. His book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy. These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like the popular belief in a god who is judgmental and punishing, yet also unconditionally loving; the extraordinary tenacity of faith; the greater religiosity of women relative to men; religious obsessions with sex; the mysterious compulsion to pray; the seemingly irrepressible feminine attributes of God, even in traditionally patriarchal religions; and the strange allure of cults. Finally, Dr. Wathey considers the hypothesis that religion evolved to foster reproductive success, arguing that, in an age of potentially ruinous overpopulation, magical thinking has become a luxury we can no longer afford, one that distracts us from urgent threats to our planet. Deeply researched yet elegantly written in a jargon-free and accessible style, this book presents a compelling interpretation of the evolutionary origins of spirituality and religion. From the Hardcover edition.

The Illusion of God s Presence

Author: John C. Wathey
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1633880745
Format: PDF
Download Now
"An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion. This book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond. Dr. Wathey, a veteran neuroscientist, argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.a These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like the popular belief in a God who is judgmental and punishing, yet also unconditionally loving; the extraordinary tenacity of faith; the greater religiosity of wom

Conceiving God The Cognitive Origin and Evolution of Religion

Author: David Lewis-Williams
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 0500770433
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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A controversial exploration of the origin of religion in the neurology of the human brain. In this book the noted cognitive archaeologist David Lewis-Williams confronts a question that troubles many people in the world today: Is there a supernatural realm that intervenes in the material world of daily life and leads to the evolution of religions? Professor Lewis-Williams first describes how science developed within the cocoon of religion and then shows how the natural functioning of the human brain creates experiences that can lead to belief in a supernatural realm, beings, and interventions. Once people have these experiences, they formulate beliefs about them, and thus creeds are born. Forty thousand years ago, people were leaving traces in the archaeological record of activities that we can label religious, and Lewis-Williams discusses in detail the evidence preserved in the Volp Caves in France. He also shows that mental imagery produced by the functioning of the human brain can be detected in widely separated religious communities such as Hildegard of Bingen’s in medieval Europe or the San hunters of southern Africa.

Why God Won t Go Away

Author: Andrew Newberg, M.D.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0307493156
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Why have we humans always longed to connect with something larger than ourselves? Why does consciousness inevitably involve us in a spiritual quest? Why, in short, won't God go away? Theologians, philosophers, and psychologists have debated this question through the ages, arriving at a range of contradictory and ultimately unprovable answers. But in this brilliant, groundbreaking new book, researchers Andrew Newberg and Eugene d'Aquili offer an explanation that is at once profoundly simple and scientifically precise: the religious impulse is rooted in the biology of the brain. Newberg and d'Aquili base this revolutionary conclusion on a long-term investigation of brain function and behavior as well as studies they conducted using high-tech imaging techniques to examine the brains of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns at prayer. What they discovered was that intensely focused spiritual contemplation triggers an alteration in the activity of the brain that leads us to perceive transcendent religious experiences as solid and tangibly real. In other words, the sensation that Buddhists call "oneness with the universe" and the Franciscans attribute to the palpable presence of God is not a delusion or a manifestation of wishful thinking but rather a chain of neurological events that can be objectively observed, recorded, and actually photographed. The inescapable conclusion is that God is hard-wired into the human brain. In Why God Won't Go Away, Newberg and d'Aquili document their pioneering explorations in the field of neurotheology, an emerging discipline dedicated to understanding the complex relationship between spirituality and the brain. Along the way, they delve into such essential questions as whether humans are biologically compelled to make myths; what is the evolutionary connection between religious ecstasy and sexual orgasm; what do Near Death Experiences reveal about the nature of spiritual phenomena; and how does ritual create its own neurological environment. As their journey unfolds, Newberg and d'Aquili realize that a single, overarching question lies at the heart of their pursuit: Is religion merely a product of biology or has the human brain been mysteriously endowed with the unique capacity to reach and know God? Blending cutting-edge science with illuminating insights into the nature of consciousness and spirituality, Why God Won't Go Away bridges faith and reason, mysticism and empirical data. The neurological basis of how the brain identifies the "real" is nothing short of miraculous. This fascinating, eye-opening book dares to explore both the miracle and the biology of our enduring relationship with God. From the Hardcover edition.

Marijuana Nation One Man s Chronicle of America Getting High From Vietnam to Legalization

Author: Roger Roffman
Publisher: Pegasus Books
ISBN: 1605985880
Format: PDF
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As public attitudes about pot undergo rapid change, Roger Roffman's portrait of marijuana in America rises above punditry and rhetoric Roger Roffman first discovered marijuana while serving as a US Army officer in Vietnam. From these seemingly innocuous beginnings, Roffman has been fascinated by marijuana, as a researcher, scholar, therapist, activist, and user. Ever since America’s youth first marched in opposition to the war in Vietnam, pot’s popularity has periodically ebbed and surged. Calls for greater, fewer, or no marijuana penalties also have swung on their own pendulum. From lobbying in Washington, to talking to doctors and nurses in oncology wards, and watching his brother struggle with addiction, Roffman has experienced the layered and complex relationship Americans have with marijuana first-hand. With one foot on each side of the fence, at times feeling at odds with both camps, Roffman is on a quest to challenge those who insist we think of marijuana as a weapon of mass destruction, as well as those who would have us see it as a harmless source of pleasure and relief.

Unspirituality

Author: Christopher Loren
Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub
ISBN: 9781484005125
Format: PDF, ePub
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Unspirituality removes the delusion of the spiritual self and its story. Childhood suppression is at the seat of religious and spiritual delusion which becomes the arena for the retrieval of a shamed imagination. Unspirituality strips away centuries of delusion. The spiritual story was once an answer to the anxieties of the natural world, but now has become a colorful cage in which humans are trapped. It is an insidious trance that has perpetuated needless suffering for our species up to the modern day. We have been led to look in the wrong direction. We have been bamboozled, beguiled, betrayed. We have been cheated for far too long. We have been led to believe our enemy lies "out there." We have been led to "believe." Our plight lies in the emotional investment of our identification with the image. I predict an awakening on this planet of epic proportions, where the realization of this conspiracy will spring to life. I see the long hardened road of religious and spiritual delusion coming to an abrupt end, like a domino effect, cascading across the globe. Our species is angry on a deep level. We know something has been wrong for a long time. We are tired of being thrown the scraps. This is primal, guttural; the scream of an exhausted humanity who will not take no for an answer. Who refuse to be duped any longer. It is the voice of reason and the shout of change! This book is a reminder of who we are in the natural world and a call to stand up and be proud to be human without the spiritual story.

The God Part of the Brain

Author: Matthew Alper
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
ISBN: 1402236379
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Is Man the product of a God...or is "God" the product of human evolution? From the dawn of our species, every human culture-no matter how isolated-has believed in some form of a spiritual realm. According to author Matthew Alper, this is no mere coincidence but rather due to the fact that humans, as a species, are genetically predisposed to believe in the universal concepts of a god, a soul and an afterlife. This instinct to believe is the result of an evolutionary adaptation-a coping mechanism-that emerged in our species to help us survive our unique and otherwise debilitating awareness of death. Spiritual seekers and atheists alike will be compelled and transformed by Matthew Alper's classic study of science and religion. The 'God' Part of the Brain has gained critical acclaim from some of the world's leading scientists, secular humanists, and theologians, and is as a must read for anyone who has pondered the question of God's existence, as well as the meaning of our own. Praise for The "God" Part of the Brain "This cult classic in many ways parallels Rene Descartes' search for reliable and certain knowledge...Drawing on such disciplines as philosophy, psychology, and biology, Alper argues that belief in a spiritual realm is an evolutionary coping method that developed to help humankind deal with the fear of death...Highly recommended."— Library Journal "I very much enjoyed the account of your spiritual journey and believe it would make excellent reading for every college student - the resultant residence-hall debates would be the best part of their education. It often occurs to me that if, against all odds, there is a judgmental God and heaven, it will come to pass that when the pearly gates open, those who had the valor to think for themselves will be escorted to the head of the line, garlanded, and given their own personal audience." — Edward O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize-Winner "This is an essential book for those in search of a scientific understanding of man's spiritual nature. Matthew Alper navigates the reader through a labyrinth of intriguing questions and then offers undoubtedly clear answers that lead to a better understanding of our objective reality." — Elena Rusyn, MD, PhD; Gray Laboratory; Harvard Medical School "What a wonderful book you have written. It was not only brilliant and provocative but also revolutionary in its approach to spirituality as an inherited trait."— Arnold Sadwin, MD, former chief of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania "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.com "All 6 billion plus inhabitants of Earth should be in possession of this book. Alper's tome should be placed in the sacred writings' section of libraries, bookstores, and dwellings throughout the world. Matthew Alper is the new Galileo...Immensely important...Defines in a clear and concise manner what each of us already knew but were afraid to admit and exclaim."— John Scoggins, PhD "Vibrant ... vivacious. An entertaining and provocative introduction to speculations concerning the neural basis of spirituality."— Free Inquiry Magazine

Fighting God

Author: David Silverman
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1466871288
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Fighting God is a firebrand manifesto from one of the most recognizable faces of atheism. In his book, Silverman-a walking, talking atheist billboard known for his appearances on Fox News-discusses the effectiveness, ethics and impact of the in-your-face-atheist who refuses to be silent. Silverman argues that religion is more than just wrong: it is malevolent and does not deserve our respect. It is our duty to be outspoken and do what we can to bring religion down. Examining the mentality, methods and issues facing the firebrand atheist, Silverman presents an overwhelming argument for firebrand atheism and reveals: - All religion is cafeteria religion and almost all agnostics are atheists. - American society grants religion a privileged status, despite the intentions of the Founding Fathers. - Christian politicians have adversely (and un-Constitutionally) affected our society with regard to science, health, women's rights, and gay rights. - The notion of "atheist Jews" is a lie forced on us by religion. - It is not "Islamophobia" to observe dangerous teachings and disproportionate violence in Islam. - Atheists are slowly but surely winning the battle. Fighting God is a provocative, unapologetic book that takes religion to task and will give inspiration to non-believers and serve as the ultimate answer to apologists.

A God That Could Be Real

Author: Nancy Ellen Abrams
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 0807073407
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A paradigm-shifting blend of science, religion, and philosophy for agnostic, spiritual-but-not-religious, and scientifically minded readers Many people are fed up with the way traditional religion alienates them: too easily it can perpetuate conflict, vilify science, and undermine reason. Nancy Abrams, a philosopher of science, lawyer, and lifelong atheist, is among them. And yet, when she turned to the recovery community to face a personal struggle, she found that imagining a higher power gave her a new freedom. Intellectually, this was quite surprising. Meanwhile her husband, famed astrophysicist Joel Primack, was helping create a new theory of the universe based on dark matter and dark energy, and Abrams was collaborating with him on two books that put the new scientific picture into a social and political context. She wondered, “Could anything actually exist in this strange new universe that is worthy of the name ‘God?’” In A God That Could Be Real, Abrams explores a radically new way of thinking about God. She dismantles several common assumptions about God and shows why an omniscient, omnipotent God that created the universe and plans what happens is incompatible with science—but that this doesn’t preclude a God that can comfort and empower us. Moving away from traditional arguments for God, Abrams finds something worthy of the name “God” in the new science of emergence: just as a complex ant hill emerges from the collective behavior of individually clueless ants, and just as the global economy emerges from the interactions of billions of individuals’ choices, God, she argues, is an “emergent phenomenon” that arises from the staggering complexity of humanity’s collective aspirations and is in dialogue with every individual. This God did not create the universe—it created the meaning of the universe. It’s not universal—it’s planetary. It can’t change the world, but it helps us change the world. A God that could be real, Abrams shows us, is what humanity needs to inspire us to collectively cooperate to protect our warming planet and create a long-term civilization. From the Hardcover edition.

GMO Sapiens

Author: Paul Knoepfler
Publisher: World Scientific
ISBN: 981466703X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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' Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) including plants and the foods made from them, are a hot topic of debate today, but soon related technology could go much further and literally change what it means to be human. Scientists are on the verge of being able to create people who are GMOs. Should they do it? Could we become a healthier and ''better'' species or might eugenics go viral leading to a real, new world of genetic dystopia? GMO Sapiens tackles such questions by taking a fresh look at the cutting-edge biotech discoveries that have made genetically modified people possible. Bioengineering, genomics, synthetic biology, and stem cells are changing sci-fi into reality before our eyes. This book will capture your imagination with its clear, approachable writing style. It will draw you into the fascinating discussion of the life-changing science of human genetic modification. Contents:An Introduction to Playing GodThe Birth and Explosive Growth of GMOsHuman CloningBuild-a-Baby Better via GeneticsDIY Guide to Creating GMO SapiensEugenics and TranshumanismCultural Views on Human Genetic ModificationGMO Sapiens Today and Tomorrow Readership: Undergraduate biology majors, graduate biology majors, non-experts interested in GMOs, biologists and teenagers interested in cloning and human genetic modification. Key Features:Books on this hot new topic of creating GMO people are rare, tend to be out-of-date, or have narrow topic rangesThe goal of this book is to educate and entertain an educated lay audience about human genetic modificationKeywords:GMO;Genetically Modified Organism;GMO Sapien;Cloning;Genomics;Designer Babies;Mitochondrial Transfer;Stem Cells;Infertility "What I find troubling, exciting but scary, is that I find myself agreeing with an undertone, I do not support human germline genetic modification but with all the new information and perspectives available to me I have found myself questioning my own views and will be watching any developments with a fascinated interest I would rather not admit to." The NODE '