Your Brain Has SPIRITUAL Properties; This is Now Backed Up by Extensive Research!

Now Increasingly Understood: Self, Mind, Spirit and Consciousness Are Extrinsic to the Brain

Scientific Materialism - Now Backed into a Complete Cul-de-Sac - Under Great Pressure to Revise...

(This is a review of 'The Spiritual Brain,' jointly authored by Mario Beauregard and Denyse O'Leary. ISBN: 978-0-06-162598-5. Published by Harper Collins, 2008 paperback edition. 368 pages).

Can It Really "All Be in the Brain"?

Can the human brain alone - usually weighing around 3 pounds - really explain the entire world of consciousness, imagination, hopes, dreams, thoughts, emotions, longings and religious and psychic experiences? Increasingly this belief is being challenged and the challenge is not coming from religion but from people vastly experienced in the sciences. Some are now suggesting that the brain may be more like a 'facilitator,' or TV receiver to enable 'reception' of the great world of consciousness. Cardiologist Pim van Lommel now writes of the "non-locality" of the consciousness (i.e., it is not all inside the head).

E arly on in this book the writers state their essential approach:

'Materialism is wrong in its assessment of human nature because it is not in accord with the evidence.' (p28).

Of course, as we all know, the writers here are not the first to attack scientific materialism from within the actual community of modern science. The late Sir John Eccles, for example, was a valiant voice within science who was prepared to state how ludicrous materialism is. Sir John (1903-1997) was the Australian neurophysiologist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize for his work in Neurology and Physiology. But what is now so encouraging is that such people are no longer lone and rare individual voices; a certain clamour is growing. This is encouraging.

Many of us have been saying it for quite a while: Darwinist scientific materialism, that is: the belief that matter is all there is , that is, that there is no other 'world' or realm out there but that of physical matter, any concept of God, or of a spirit world being just an illusion, must surely tumble soon, to be hopefully replaced by a far more open approach. Why do I state this? Because every year more and more writers from a scientific background are quite openly stating that it is just plain wrong. Such physical reductionism just does not account for too many things which are increasingly well-attested to, it is not as though evidence is seriously lacking. Interestingly, psychologists, philosophers and experts in various medical disciplines, including cardiology, are leading much of the assault. Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel is just one example. Here I review a book from two other writers who are mounting their challenge, one of them - significantly - a neurobiologist.

The relationship between the brain on the one hand and mind and consciousness on the other is proving an especially fertile field. Of course, the 'physical only' view must insist that the entire world of hopes, dreams, religious and other 'spiritual' experiences, plus the entire realm of the mind and consciousness can be accounted for by various brain processes - nothing external at all. Yet - without question - this is not the experience of thousands of people, and our writers here even make the point that many 'physical only' scientists deny it in their everyday existences even while never deviating from it in their academic world! Fact is, we now have evidence that even people whose heart stopped beating and brain became 'dead' on the operating table had incredible visions, blind people even seeing for the first time! According to the old Darwinist 'physical only' approach this should be a complete impossibility. Also, if a person dreams that they visit a certain place and - in that very place - an apparition of the dreamer is seen there at the time of their dream (this has actually happened), how can that square with the concept that mind and consciousness are merely the result of processes and tricks of the brain, and entirely confined within the brain? It just does not square with that concept at all, but scientific materialism assumes atheism with no possibility of a spiritual realm so it must claim that these things cannot possibly be real. It also insists, of course, that a Christian's claim to have a realtionship with God, with answered prayer, is a pure self-delusion.

Author Mario Beauregard is a neurobiologist lecturing at the University of Montreal and is a thorough expert, immersed in his field. In this book he is able to present strong evidence that the self and soul are not locked within the head at all, with the brain best seen as a receiver, or facilitator, of thoughts and dreams, but the mind and consciousness are not within it, being extrinsic to it. This is what Pim van Lommel has referred to as the 'nonlocality' of the mind. Indeed, it appears that the brain might even have an editing, or restricting role on the abundance of possible mental/spiritual experiences. Whilst this is obviously all anathema to materialistic Darwinism, the new emerging discipline of quantum physics is much more open to it and as this new discipline gradually strengthens, it could well be that it will be from this particular scientific quarter that scientific materialism is finally demolished.

The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine...

James Jeans, Physicist (1877-1946), page 294.

The writers here spend considerable time demolishing the 'physical only' claims of people like Richard Dawkins and Susan Blackmore and - rightly - have an especially strong contempt for the new evolutionary psychology. The evidence presented in this volume is quite exhaustive, with many examples of religious and spiritual experience covered, to say nothing of various other psychic experiences and not leaving out NDEs ('near death experiences'). There are some areas which a Christian, for sure, would not be entirely comfortable with, yet the desire to be exhaustive and not to leave anything out which might be relevant must be appreciated.

The writers also take some time to discuss the use of placebos in medicine. Indeed, there is a strong hint that they are used even more extensively than is commonly realised. In short, a placebo is an administered 'drug' or 'medication' which has no therapeutic value whatsoever yet which, amazingly, can sometimes have a dramatic restorative or healing effect on a patient (if that patient believes it is a genuine medicine). Within the old classic scientific materialism that makes no sense, it sees the brain as entirely separate from the health of the rest of the body. Materialism either believes that the mind does not really exist (it's just a term which we have all applied to some chemical process, or function/functions of the brain), or, if it does, that it could have no influence over the entirety of the body. Even many years ago I noticed that materialists were very uncomfortable when people started to speak about 'psychosomatic illnesses,' it just does not fit in with their way of thinking. Yet the placebo effect shows the mind affecting not just the body, but the brain too. Within strict scientific materialism (the physical is all there is), this just does not make any sense. Also, the fact that sick people who are generally more positive, or who believe in God, can generally expect a more positive outcome to any major illness. Again, such things, regularly witnessed by health workers, do not fit very comfortably with the assumptions of scientific materialism. But should such insights, gained from many years of medical practice, be discounted merely because of a philosophical theory? Surely it is real empirical, testable science which should be of paramount importance.


* At times this book has a tendency to over-wordiness. Quite a large section of this book is hard to read and does not easily hold the interest of the layman. There is sometimes a need to simplify, to break things down into more digestible parts. It is not the most readable book of all time. I think that one more final edit might have been required and would have surely strengthened this book. Shaving 30 pages off this book would have greatly strengthened it.

* A thing which I find especially amazing is that though the writers here spend considerable time attacking various aspects of teaching which have derived from macro-evolution, and which are intrinsic to it, they nevertheless still support evolution! Almost all the polemic and insinuation here is directed against teachings which would never have arrived but for macro-evolution, yet Beauregard and O'Leary make plain their continued support: to me that is incredible! This shows me how true it is that evolution has become a religious faith which must not be blasphemed. Of course, it is possible that this approach is just a tactic for now, after all, it must be true that thousands of Mr Beauregard's fellow scientists would simply reject his conclusions out of hand if he abandoned evolution, which would be considered 'the unforgivable sin,' because the logic here is unavoidable that macro-evolution is the real enemy. So maybe the writers here are simply moving ahead with a certain degree of understandable caution.

* The book's final chapter is a disappointment. One might have expected some grand climactic points, but the authors fail to set out any really clear vision of the God - or spiritual entity - which they appear to believe in (for sure, they continue to believe in evolution). In this chapter there is evidence that one or the other of the joint authors might have been somewhat influenced by Paul Tillich, a somewhat abstract 20th century theologian who occasionally wrote some distinctly odd things. Tillich is perhaps best known for his idea that God is 'the ground of being,' and this term is actually used by Beauregard and O'Leary on pages 293-294. Tillich himself wrote that, "God does not exist. He is being-itself, beyond essence and existence. Therefore, to argue that God exists is to deny him." (1951: 205) He also stated: "It is as atheistic to affirm the existence of God as it is to deny it. God is being-itself, not a being." (Tillich, P. [1951] Systematic Theology. Vol. 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

* I certainly expected this book's final chapter (chapter ten) to be the place where the writers finally set out their stall for Theism, if not Christianity in particular, but, having come so far towards what might seem a now obvious conclusion, they appear to duck it, or back off. After all, this book is called 'The Spiritual Brain,' and is subtitled, 'A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul,' so one might have expected some weighty conclusions here but we just get seven pages with very little substance or proposition! That is surely no 'grand finale' to be working towards! But, in all fairness, the authors do not claim to be religious, or Christian, writers so maybe they have just decided to leave the theological conclusions of their research to others.

Read this book by all means. It is not a Christian book, as such, but it is a book which backs up what Christians believe about the mind, soul and consciousness and adds to the growing evidence that Darwinistic scientific materialism is just plain wrong in allowing no room for a spirit world and as seeing mind and consciousness as just 'part and parcel' of the physio-chemical workings of the brain. That is of value.

Robin A. Brace. January 3rd, 2015.