the illusion of gods presence the biological origins of spiritual longing

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The Illusion Of God S Presence

Author : John C. Wathey
ISBN : 9781633880757
Genre : Religion
File Size : 21. 23 MB
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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
ISBN : 9781633880740
Genre : Religion
File Size : 60. 63 MB
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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.

A Crisis Of Faith Atheism Emerging Technologies And The Future Of Humanity

Author : Phil Torres
ISBN : 1908675039
Genre :
File Size : 35. 1 MB
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Torres puts forth one of the most comprehensive and accessible arguments for the claim that theism is false and faith-based belief is foolish. Drawing from many disparate fields, he attacks the theistic position from multiple angles, delineating established arguments against God's existence, but also explores topics that no other atheists have considered.

Living Without God

Author : Ronald Aronson
ISBN : 9781458758644
Genre : Religion
File Size : 38. 19 MB
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Ronald Aronson demonstrates that atheism represents much more than what one does not believe: that it is the precondition for a generous humanism. The two closing chapters are models of stoicism at its best.'' - Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great.

The Psychological Roots Of Religious Belief

Author : Mel D. Faber
ISBN : 9781615925049
Genre : Religion
File Size : 49. 6 MB
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M.D. Faber continues his career of psychology-of-religion work by providing a comprehensive and naturalistic explanation of religious experience. -Science & Theology News...an intriguing, entertaining, hard-hitting read, a thought-provoking book that will make a fine companion to Freud''s work on religion and to the literature on attachment theory.... Essential. - ChoiceUtterly indispensable reading for anyone seriously interested in the psychological underpinnings of religious belief; a timely and lucid integration and synthesis of contemporary cognitive neuroscience and psychodynamic developmental psychology - eloquently written and generously seasoned with lovely literary allusions. - Sheldon Solomon, Professor of Psychology, Skidmore College, Coauthor of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of TerrorM.D. Faber is a naturalist of religion in the great tradition of Sigmund Freud and Weston LaBarre. He is our Darwin at the Galapagos of faith and rite. He proposes a distinctively human biology of religion. ... In mapping the developmental foundation of religious experience, he both explains and demystifies religion. He brings the light of reason to a realm enshrouded in mystique and mystification. In this time of the triumph of the irrational, Faber''s voice is urgently needed. - Dr. Howard Stein, University of OklahomaIn this insightful new study, M.D. Faber, whose previous work on the psychology of religion has won widespread critical acclaim, offers a comprehensive, naturalistic explanation of religious experience from the intertwining perspectives of neuroscience and developmental psychology. Faber here argues that belief in God, the powerful sensation of his presence, and the heartfelt assent to the reality of the supernatural are all produced by the mind/brain''s inherent tendency to discover in religious narrative a striking, memorial echo of its own biological development. Although Faber maintains that we are not wired specifically for God (as many contend), our brain is so constructed as to make us profoundly susceptible to religious myths. These myths encourage us to map our early, internalized experience onto a variety of supernatural narratives with the figure of the Parent-God and his angelic assistants at the center.A key point of Faber''s analysis is the connection between the onset of infantile amnesia during childhood''s later years and the evocative power of religious mythology. Although we cannot explicitly recall our earliest interactions with our parents or other caregivers, religious narratives can and do jog these implicit emotional memories in an uncanny way, which prompts us to accede to religion''s central tenet, namely, that we are in the care of an omnipotent parental provider who watches over us and ministers to our needs. This is the unconscious emotional powerhouse, says Faber, which ultimately engenders and sustains religious belief. In the final analysis, religious experience attempts to recapture, and to reinstate in an idealized form, the symbiotic union of the early parent-child relation.In an age of religious turmoil and international terrorism linked to religious passion, it is more important than ever to gain a rational, scientific understanding of religious motivations. Faber''s insights help us realize why religious conflicts often spill over into violence. When a believer''s religion is challenged, the challenge resounds at deep, unconscious levels where primal parental attachment resides.Sure to be controversial, this pioneering, highly original work takes the reader to the neurological-psychological bedrock of religious experience.M. D. Faber is professor emeritus of English Language and Literature, specializing in literature and psychology, at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; former Special Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, DC; and the author of nine books, including The Magic of Prayer: An Introduction to the Psychology of Faith; Synchroni

Marijuana Nation One Man S Chronicle Of America Getting High From Vietnam To Legalization

Author : Roger Roffman
ISBN : 9781605985886
Genre : History
File Size : 85. 92 MB
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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.

The New Frontier Of Religion And Science

Author : J. Hick
ISBN : 9780230277601
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 50. 97 MB
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This is the first major response to the challenge of neuroscience to religion. It considers eastern forms of religious experience as well as Christian viewpoints and challenges the idea of a mind identical to, or a by-product of, brain activity. It explores religion as inner experience of the Transcendent, and suggests a modern spirituality.

The God Part Of The Brain

Author : Matthew Alper
ISBN : 9781402236372
Genre : Science
File Size : 30. 9 MB
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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

Building The H Bomb

Author : Kenneth W Ford
ISBN : 9789814618816
Genre : Science
File Size : 40. 23 MB
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IN THE NEWS Podcast — Building the H Bomb: A Personal History Hosted by Milt Rosenberg (1590 WCGO), 25 June 2015 Building the H-Bomb: The Big Idea APS News, June 2015 (Volume 24, Number 6) Behind the Making of a Super Bomb The Washington Post, 22 May 2015 Hydrogen Bomb Physicist's Book Runs Afoul of Energy Department The New York Times, 23 March 2015 More In this engaging scientific memoir, Kenneth Ford recounts the time when, in his mid-twenties, he was a member of the team that designed and built the first hydrogen bomb. He worked with — and relaxed with — scientific giants of that time such as Edward Teller, Enrico Fermi, Stan Ulam, John von Neumann, and John Wheeler, and here offers illuminating insights into the personalities, the strengths, and the quirks of these men. Well known for his ability to explain physics to nonspecialists, Ford also brings to life the physics of fission and fusion and provides a brief history of nuclear science from the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 to the ten-megaton explosion of “Mike” that obliterated a Pacific Island in 1952. Ford worked at both Los Alamos and Princeton's Project Matterhorn, and brings out Matterhorn's major, but previously unheralded contribution to the development of the H bomb. Outside the lab, he drove a battered Chevrolet around New Mexico, a bantam motorcycle across the country, and a British roadster around New Jersey. Part of the charm of Ford's book is the way in which he leavens his well-researched descriptions of the scientific work with brief tales of his life away from weapons. Contents:The Big IdeaThe ProtagonistsThe ChoiceThe Scientists, the Officials, and the PresidentNuclear EnergySome PhysicsGoing WestA New WorldThe Classical SuperCalculating and TestingConstructing MatterhornAcademia CowersNew Mexico, New York, and New JerseyThe Garwin DesignClimbing MatterhornMore Than a Boy Readership: A memoir for general readership in the history of science. Key Features:It contains real physics, clearly presented for non-specialistsCombining historical scholarship and his own recollections, the author offers important insights into the people and the work that led to the first H bombPersonal anecdotes enliven the bookKeywords:Nuclear Weapons;Atomic Weapons;H Bomb;Thermonuclear Weapons;Nuclear Physics;Nuclear History;Thermonuclear History;Los Alamos;Edward Teller;Stanislav Ulam;John Wheeler;Project MatterhornReviews: “It was a great treat to read a book that's well-written, informative, and gets the science right. It is these personal recollections and descriptions; the fact that it is a personal and first-hand account of a unique time in history and a remarkable scientific and technical achievement that made this book so enthralling. This is an engaging account of a young scientist involved in a remarkable project.” P Andrew Karam The Ohio State University “Ford's book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the H bomb and its role in the Cold War, and in how that work affected the life and career of an individual involved.” Physics Today "Personal memories are the book's greatest strength. Ford doesn't glorify, or apologize for, his work on the H-bomb. He simply tells it as it was. As a result, this is an engagingly human glimpse into the world of physics in the US in the early 1950s." Physics World

The Christian Delusion

Author : John W. Loftus
ISBN : 9781616143183
Genre : Religion
File Size : 60. 63 MB
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In this anthology of recent criticisms aimed at the reasonableness of Christian belief, a former evangelical minister and apologist, author of the critically acclaimed Why I Became an Atheist, has assembled fifteen outstanding articles by leading skeptics, expanding on themes introduced in his first book. Central is a defense of his "outsider test of faith," arguing that believers should test their faith with the same skeptical standards they use to evaluate the other faiths they reject, as if they were outsiders. Experts in medicine, psychology, and anthropology join Loftus to show why, when this test is applied to Christianity, it becomes very difficult to rationally defend. Collectively, these articles reveal that popular Christian beliefs tend to rely on ignorance of the facts. Drawing together experts in diverse fields, including Hector Avalos, Richard Carrier, David Eller, and Robert Price, this book deals a powerful blow against Christian faith. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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