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

by Matthew Alper
3.7 19

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God Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
From_the_Margins More than 1 year ago
Anyone with a solid education in science and philosophy will recognize this as a weak attempt by one poorly educated individual to justify his pre-formed conclusions. I forced myself through this book because I do NOT disagree with his conclusion that god is but a manifestation of neurochemical functioning in the brain (as is all consciousness). I was looking for the real, scientific meat of the argument, but he has articulated an inadequate, porous defense. In Alper's view, there is a gene for everything, including a "spiritual function" (a function posited on an a priori basis). As a result, he reaches some stunningly obtuse conclusions, such as his claim that atheists are "spiritually retarded." Unbelievable! He does not understand natural selection or evolution and, frankly, has a simplistic grasp of science that would leave him challenged to pass a rigorous college science exam (in whatever branch). Sorry to be so negative, but this was an absolute disappointment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While enjoying the personal begining, I was looking forward to a stimulating reading, only to be disappointed. The writing style is pleasant, the author's misuses of scientific trivia, with bold and unsupported statements and without any humility made it rather disapointing. It's the typical journey meant to justify one's choices, but if you are trying to get a sincere understanding of how to reconcile G-d's role in our life, I wouldn't recomend this book.
Anesthesia More than 1 year ago
A great read for the religious and the non-religious. It will enlighten your thinking process and give you hope for the future of man. If you are a believer, you can say God planned it this way. If you are not a believer, you can reflect on the wonderment of nature and how emotions,decision making, and the other mechanisms of the brain came to be. Either way, you will gain a renewed appreciation for who we and what we represent.
John_Sterner More than 1 year ago
I teach "Philosophy of Science" on a college level and have been successfully using this book to teach both graduate and undergraduate students for the past seven years. I can't speak highly enough of this work and would include it as a "classic" in philosophy. It is as bold as it is brilliant. The prose is clear and concise and oftentimes poetic. It is an interdisciplinary gem chock full of information that is as thoughtful as it is accurate. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in science and/or philosophy.
bujanda More than 1 year ago
Woderfull book, very well investigation, pure knoledge. A classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A word of warning ... this is not a scientific text. It is a story told in first person of one man's spiritual journey - an autobiography. For someone who is only beginning to search for truth in the subject, this book holds potential to be groundbreaking. Be forewarned, however, that you will learn nothing new here - assuming you paid attention in high school. The case studies and research that the educated reader will expect are largely absent. For some, the conclusions presented in this book may seem like incredible eye-openers. For others, this text will closely resemble the many conversations you've already had on the subject. 'The God Part' seems to have a tunnel vision. It follows one dangerously long path of educated assumptions and never stops to see if anything was missed. It tends to be repetitive - stressing points over and over with little solid backing - a lecturer who enjoys his own voice. The writing often seems course and/or careless. Again, if you are new to this subject, I highly recommend. If mediocre writing style doesn¿t bother you, this would make for an interesting read. But for veterans or discriminating readers, I encourage you to look elsewhere for new answers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book would more properly be titled, "Stuff I've Thought About Without Actually Having Any Knowledge of What I'm Talking About." I don't know how any self respecting publisher could have allowed him to call his book "scientific," but it is certainly far from it. If there's anyone you have a particular hatred for and want to fill their heads with absolute nonsense I recommend you buy this book for them, otherwise let it sit and rot on the shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Matthew Alper is high maintenance. Not only is his intellect superior to most Ph.D. candidates that I know, but his intensity in displaying that intellect and arguing his world view is more compelling than many of my grad school courses. So, here I am, fiercely advocating this unconventional, first time author who, with one slim book, has thrown hundreds of years of human religious beliefs out the window and replaced them with a concise scientific view of spirituality that is impossible to argue with...The brain is the secret. In our brains lie nature's survival mechanisms in which God is nothing but a protective lens through which humanity is programmed to view the world. Matthew Alper has the chutzpah to remove that lens, to crush it under his heel, and then, as we cringe in the unfiltered light, he dares us to look up and stare into the pure scientific truth he has discovered. The God Part of the Brain is a challenge at first, but once you open your mind to the potentials of its theories, there is nothing to do but follow its arguments to their logical conclusions. And although he rips away our old stiff crutches, this audacious philosopher is kind enough to spoon-feed us a new and positive way to approaching our existences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I agree in most part with Mr. Alper and his premise, I found the book to be a bit repeative in the beginning. The constant repeating of a position or examples well after the point has been made was tiresome. I found the beginning chapters where the foundations are being set down to be light in hard science and heavy on assumptions, albiet assumptions I lean towards. The book would be a good starting point for someone who is beginning to explore the subject, but the more advanced or indepth reader I believe would find it lacking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the better books that I have read dealing with Religious Studies and the study of the religious drive in humans. If you are a believer you had best be sure you have some thick skin and expect a further bifurcation of your 'religious' and 'scientific' mind. Matthew Alper has written a fascinating book that explores the idea of looking at homo sapiens proclivity for belief in god as something that can be traced to a physical cause (our brain structure) and compares that proclivity to other traits and characteristics such as hair color, smiling, organ development, etc. that are unique to all those who are of the species homo sapiens. All of the above are determined by our genetic makeup which determines the development and structure of our brain which is the organ that brings forth these behaviours, according to the paradigm presented by Mr. Alper. I especially enjoyed his treatment of language. The faculty of language has been quite often pointed at as a unique trait of our species and many religious have used our ability to speak as proof-positive of the paradigm that asserts our 'divine' origin'. As Mr. Alper convincingly shows, there is a better paradigm that both explains the origin and location of the ability to speak and understand language. I won't steal Mr. Alper's thunder but I will say that one would do well to read and reread this one chapter and let the implications of what Mr. Alper is saying sink in. He is looking at language through the paradigm of science and he produces a very power explanatory model with this paradigm. It is incumbent on those who disagree with the effectiveness of this paradigm to prove him wrong. This paradigm (the scientific paradigm) is the operative one in most of our thinking process, except in those areas which some humans have reserved as off-limits to scientific investigation because of various factors (I will let the reader be their own judge of other's motivations in these areas). For me, it seems apparent that these are the last areas where the biblical ideas of homo sapiens intrinsic specialness still are the operative view. The resistance that is put forth by believers who refuse to allow these areas to be studied by the scientific method and dismiss the conclusions that scientific studies produce as false because the inevitable result will be the closing of a few more gaps where their god currently resides. I have often wondered how religious folks who firmly believed that the earth was flat, or that it was really at the 'center' of the universe adapted when the facts of the matter became real to them. We may be able to study this psychological phenomenon when the thesis of the book becomes the working hypothesis of cognitive researchers which, I anticipate, it should in the very near future judging from some of the luminaries that wrote little blurbs for the inside covers. As Mr. Alper's thesis is acted upon by researchers in various fields that look to substantiate his proposals and develop working hypothesis regarding genetic structure and the location in the brain of belief structures and attempt to test them, we will begin to see that color blindedness, musical and language ability and the willingness or unwillingness to believe whatever myth the culture you happen to be born in holds as being the 'true' revelation from god are all determined by the genetic sequencing in each individuals DNA. Perhaps one day, we may be able to engineer scourges out of human existance such as breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, cancer, etc., and, if Mr. Alper is correct and I believe he is, there will be no more Jonestowns, Holy Inquisistions, World Trade Centers, Wacos and scores of other examples as this psychotic behaviour known as belief in the supernatural can be eliminated by some fortuitous genetic engineering.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I began skeptically reading Matthew Alper's book, as the subject is contradictory to everything I was taught throughout my childhood. For the first 15 years of my life, I never questioned the religious beliefs my family and church imposed on me. After that age, I began to have my own thoughts, and to wonder if what had been 'programmed' into me really existed. I began to doubt that I would experience eternal life, and began to be more inclined to believe that when I die, I will totally cease to exist. However, I never explored these possibilities, and chose rather to try to ignore my concerns and fears. I have been reasonably successful in subscribing to the 'ignorance is bliss' theory until I unexpectedly happened upon Matthew Alper's thought provoking, stimulating, and well written book. I read it in its' entirety today, and I feel that in some ways I may have opened Pandora's Box. But I also feel that thanks to Mr. Alper, I can now begin to form a solid foundation to explore these issues more thoro
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has Nobel written all over it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From cover to cover, this book is the best piece of writing that I have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed digesting Mr Alper's thesis. The only thing missing is my testimonial. I have one relative who had several months of obsessive compulsive prayer episodes in conjunction with a head injury. The episodes cleared up on their own with the added twist that the victim has no memory of them. And, I have another relative who died on an operating table who will tell you how much one should believe in NDE's and how it changed her outlook on life...how she can be at peace with herself and how she doesn't fear death anymore...yet her day to day actions and attitudes not only do not reflect this but are often downright unpleasent. As for the style in which the book is written,use of multiple examples of such things as various religions, gods, or practices is helpful to those who may not be aware of their existence, their correct context or to those in need of exact references. Of all the other books on this subject that I have read by more erudite authors, none have been this forthright with their ideas and that is what makes 'The God Part' an interesting read. Mr. Alper stakes his claim without apology or disrespect to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All 6 billion plus inhabitants of Earth should be in possession of this book. Matthew Alper's tome should be placed next to the sacred writings section in the libraries, bookstores and dwellings throughout the world. Matthew Alper is the new Galileo. (Watch your back Matthew!) Immensely important. Defines in a clear and concise manner what each of us already knew but were afraid to admit and exclaim. The cat's out of the bag....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just as did I, as a teenager Matthew Alper asked the big questions: Who is 'God' and what is my relation to him? Which, if any, of the hundreds of religions and sub-religions is correct? Why do religions change so much over time? How come every person's religious view is different from everybody else's? Just as I did, Alper began a personal search for the answers to these questions. He looked everywhere. Like me, he found that the answers to the big questions of 'faith' lie not 'out there' but within us. He then continued his search far beyond mine, came to many well-reasoned conclusions, then documented and explained his findings in 'The 'God' Part of the Brain'. This work draws on many scientific disciplines, including evolution, psychology, anthropology and history, to put into clear perspective the origin of the human need to seek a higher power and, more important, the effect this need has on humanity and its cultures. I found the book to be a 'revelation' of sorts in that it finally makes sense out of the din of competing religious views. In this book Matthew Alper shows an enviable commitment to truth, exacting logic and scholarly research as well as a vast intelligence as he explains his search and the answers he found. I did not want the book to end! It explains a very important part of what it means to be human. 'The 'God' Part of the Brain' has already made a very great, very positive impact on my life.