The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul

A Book Review and Signing by Dr. Mario Beauregard January 24, 2008

Mounting a sweeping critique of a trend in popular science and the media to explain away religious experience as an artifact of the brain, neural pathology, or evolutionary idiosyncrasy, Prof. Mario Beauregard warns against the temptation to force the complex varieties of human spirituality into simplistic categories and models that are often conceptually crude, culturally biased, and empirically untested.

In his recently published research on Carmelite nuns, Dr. Beauregard’s working group at the University of Montreal identified specific areas of brain activation associated with contemplative prayer. These patterns, however, were quite distinct from those associated with hallucinations, autosuggestion, or states of intense emotional arousal, resembling instead the manner in which the brain processes real experiences.

Conceding that the results of his work are assumed to either bolster or diminish the notion of God’s existence, Prof. Beauregard does not shy away from controversy in his latest work and on occasion even seems to deliberately provoke it, as he introduces the emergence of a new realm in which neuroscience, philosophy, and secular/spiritual cultural wars appear to be unavoidably intermingled.

Location:  The Nour Foundation Gallery
322 West 108th Street, New York, NY