utorak, 25. svibnja 2010.

Matthew Alper - The "God" Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God

First published in 1996, this is a minimally revised new edition of Alper's manifesto against belief in God. Beginning with philosopher Kant's supposition that humans cannot know a reality beyond their perception of reality, Alper uses his vast research into scientific phenomenon to build a case that humanity's perception of a spiritual realm is, in fact, the biological result of thousands of years of evolution. Alper writes that this is "'nature's white lie', a coping mechanism selected into our species to help alleviate debilitating anxiety caused by our unique awareness of death." Alper's theory is elegantly drawn, and he shows an admirable grasp of a wide range of scientific disciplines. However, generalizations weaken his case: Alper's proof relies on readers' agreement that all humans are equally spiritual creatures, whose "cross-cultural proclivity toward spiritualism suggests that we must be neuro-physiologically hardwired this way." A harsh anti-religion tone (i.e. "How much longer will be slaves to destructive religious creeds... ?"), though not entirely inappropriate, provides the book's main flaw; aside from the fact that his anti-faith proclamations themselves demonstrate a certain kind of blind faith, he gives no credence to others' views, nor is he compassionate to the helpful role that spirituality plays in peoples' lives. Ultimately, Alper is preaching to the choir, but in a time of renewed interest in the clash between religion and science, this cult classic will appeal to those caught up in the debate.

290 Pages

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