The Illusion of God's Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing [EPUB]
07 February 2016, 18:00
2016 | EPUB | 1.58MB
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.
Genomic Messages: How the Evolving Science of Genetics Affects Our Health, Families, and Future [EPUB]
02 February 2016, 15:41
2015 | EPUB | 2.46MB
Two leaders in the field of genetics—a bioethicist-health lawyer and an obstetrician-gynecologist geneticist—answer the most pressing questions about the application of new genetics to our universal medicine and what personalized medicine means for individual healthcare.
Breakthroughs in genetic research are changing modern medicine and pharmaceuticals. But what are these changes and how do they affect our individual care? Genomic Messages examines these groundbreaking changes and the questions they raise: What kind of specific medical innovation do we have to look forward to now and tomorrow? How will this “flood” of genetic messages change our lives, our interaction with our physicians and our healthcare system?
Groundbreaking and provocative, Genomic Messages fuses the often conflicting worlds of medicine and law to provide information and insight that will impact the health choices of every one of us, from how medicine is practiced to concepts of privacy, confidentiality, and informed consent. Ultimately, it reveals how genetic information is changing how we think about ourselves, our health, and our future.
We Have the Technology [EPUB]
31 January 2016, 15:31
2015 | EPUB | 1.02/3.67MB
How do we know what’s real? That’s not a trick question: sensory science is increasingly finding that we don’t perceive reality: we create it through perception. In We Have the Technology, science writer Kara Platoni guides us through the latest developments in the science of sensory perception.
We Have the Technology introduces us to researchers who are changing the way we experience the world, whether creating scents that stimulate the memories of Alzheimer’s patients, constructing virtual limbs that approximate a sense of touch, or building augmented reality labs that prepare soldiers for the battlefield. These diverse investigations not only explain previously elusive aspects of human experience, but offer tantalizing glimpses into a future when we can expand, control, and enhance our senses as never before.
A fascinating tour of human capability and scientific ingenuity, We Have the Technology offers essential insights into the nature and possibilities of human experience.