The “God” Part of the Brain

ISBN: 9781402214523

By: Matthew Alper

Published: 09/01/2008

Acclaimed by a wide range of experts, The "God" Part of the Brain is a classic. Matthew Alper presents a stunning argument: that our brain is hardwired to believe in a God.

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Acclaimed by a wide range of experts, The "God" Part of the Brain is a classic. Matthew Alper presents a stunning argument: that our brain is hardwired to believe in a God. He offers a scientific explanation that we inherit an evolutionary mechanism that allows us to cope with our greatest terror - death. The author also evokes his personal odyssey as he sought to understand why mankind created the concept of a higher power to deal with the fear and terror we experience due to our species' unique awareness of the inevitability of death. The "God" Part of the Brain has sparked praise by scientists such as E.O. Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner; E. Fuller Torry, "the most famous psychiatrist in America"; and Arnold Sadwin, former Chief of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. The book has been adopted by universities across the country. 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

About the Author

Matthew Alper

After receiving a BA in Philosophy, Matthew Alper has led an unconventional life working as everything from an elementary and high school history teacher in the projects of Brooklyn to a truck smuggler in Central Africa, a personal tutor in the Philippines, and a produced screenwriter in Germany, after which he went on to write his acclaimed work, The “God” Part of the Brain.


Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Throwing Rocks at God
Chapter 2: What Is Science?
Chapter 3: A Very Brief History of Time or Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Universe but Were Afraid to Ask
Chapter 4: Kant
Chapter 5: God as Word
Chapter 6: Universal Behavioral Patterns

Chapter 7: The “Spiritual” Function
Universal Spiritual Beliefs and Practices
The Argument For a Spiritual Function
Chapter 8: The Rationale
The Origin of Mortal Consciousness
The Pain Function
The Anxiety Function
When Mortal Consciousness Meets the Anxiety Function
Advent of the Spiritual Function
The Origins of Immortal and God Consciousness
Chapter 9: The “Spiritual” Experience
Origins of the Spiritual Experience
The Ego Function
The Transcendental Function
Chapter 10: Drug-Induced God
Chapter 11: The “Spiritual” Gene
Chapter 12: The Prayer Function
Chapter 13: Religious Conversion
Chapter 14: Why Are There Atheists?
Chapter 15: Near-Death Experiences
Chapter 16: Speaking in Tongues
Chapter 17: Why Is America So Religious?
A Bio-Historical Hypothesis
Chapter 18: The Guilt and Morality Functions
Chapter 19: The Logic of God:
A New “Spiritual” Paradigm
Chapter 20: What, If Anything, Is to Be Gained from a Scientific Interpretation of
Human Spirituality and God?
Epilogue: Quest’s End
Addendum: Experiments That Might Help Prove the Existence of a Spiritual Function

About the Author


Excerpt from Chapter 1: Throwing Rocks at God

“The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other in silence for some time; at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed...

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Format: Paperback

Length: 8 in
Width: 5.5 in
Weight: 11.60 oz
Page Count: 288 pages


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