The Mind of God
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Return to Book Page. The Mind of God: A renowned behavioral neurologist provides insights to some of the most curious spiritual questions we all face. Is there a God? It's a question billions of people have asked since the dawn of time. You would think by now we'd have a satisfactory, universal answer.
Or maybe we do and we just need to look in the right place. Jay Lombard that place is the brain, and more importantly the mind, that center of awareness and consciousness that creates reality. In The Mind of God , Dr. Lombard employs case studies from his own behavioral neurology practice to explore the spiritual conundrums that we all ask ourselves: What is the nature of God? Does my life have purpose? What's the meaning of our existence? What happens to us when we die?
For Lombard, these metaphysical questions are a jumping-off point for exploring the brain in search of the seat of the soul.
The Mind of God
It is neuroscience, the author contends, and how we and our brains interpret what's going on around us that can lead us to a deeper and more fulfilling faith. Mixing his personal experiences in the medical field including compelling cases such as the male patient who really thought he was pregnant and a woman who literally scared herself to death along with his own visionary insight into spiritual experience, Lombard has much to tell us about the nature and power of belief--and what we can do to focus our beliefs in a positive direction.
If you want to find more meaning in your life or are searching for a deeper understanding of why we believe what we believe, then this book can lead to an exciting transformation in the way you see and understand the world around you. With cutting-edge research and provocative case studies, renowned behavioral neurologist provides insights to some of the most curious spiritual questions of mortality. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Mind of God , please sign up.
What do you mean by "for fans of Deepak Chopra"? Is that what you get by the word "spiritual"? The prophet for hire who makes rich people feel good about themselves? See 1 question about The Mind of God…. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.
Aug 01, Hewitt Moore rated it it was amazing.
I really enjoyed this book. Written from a neurosurgeon's perspective. Many sections of the book deal with the physiology of the brain. The author makes the argument that faith and science are compatible.
If this subject matter interests you, this book will, too. Oct 12, Johnny rated it really liked it Shelves: Why would a behavioral neurologist choose to address issues beyond empirical measurement such as The Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith, and a Search for the Soul? In this case, Dr.
Jay Lombard wanted to use the benefits of his personal observations through years of residency and study compared with the results of studies which have been interpreted both for and against faith. So, from the beginning, Lombard argues for connectivity and meaning.
I am connecting to another person in a way that goes beyond what many believe is our strict evolutionary nature to dominate, reproduce, and survive as one of the fittest of our species. The right hemisphere is so important to the maintenance of our relationships that its impairment may even result in an absolute rejection of oneself, as we often see in patients with the condition of hemineglect. These two seemingly contradictory beliefs are not contradictory at all, but paradoxical. BUT in the course of that evolution was a quantum leap where beings gained the ability to construct alternative meanings by using human language pp.
He then gives a fascinating anecdote about a year-old with AEA Acquired Epileptic Aphasia originating from an attack on her immune system as a two-year-old which caused swelling in the region of the brain for language acquisition, comprehension, and use p. Without use of language, her eyes would roll back and become something zombie-like. The concepts we are describing are not merely metaphorical; every cell in our body has purpose, too.
The purpose is to find balance—to maintain order in the face of opposing challenges that will otherwise mean succumbing to disease. But cells which separate themselves from cooperating with others, that focus on themselves are cancerous. Hence, our purpose is to connect with others and with God—without connection, we find no meaning in life. Brains divorced from this connective purpose will be filled with nihilism p.
Because there was brain activity before the pulse was sent to muscle and finger p. This propensity is based upon our deterministic nature. But, he argues, if we really have free will, we will not give in to that pre-programming.
The Mind of God: Neuroscience, Faith, and a Search for the Soul by Jay Lombard
Aug 11, Kathryn rated it liked it Shelves: I read every word in places and skimmed in others. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book. I have my own very personal spiritual beliefs. This book did not sway me one way or the other nor was it supposed to. It's fascinating to read about what is known about our human brain. And it is equally as fascinating of what is not known.
Our soul, our beliefs, our emotions, our feelings do we really need to fully understand the hows and whys? Mar 09, Grant Dawson rated it it was amazing. This one is from a neurological and theological perspective.
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Mar 13, Rebecca Malone rated it really liked it. Part of the theme I'm starting to follow about neuroscience and the experience of death. It was slightly too academic for me at times, but on the whole I like the thesis. Jul 15, Sevan rated it did not like it. Scientifically, philosophically, and logically flawed arguments and narrative. I should have known form the title that this would be another "god book" cherry picking facts from science, philosophy and physics to hopelessly make recycled arguments to prove the author's religious beliefs.
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I was barely able to finish the book Feb 06, Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it Shelves: I'm a soul man Lombard's little volume speaks loudly about the current state of the science of the mind and on the possibility of mind separate from brain, consciousness beyond neurological cognition, and the existence of an infinite eternal presence we call "God.
He writes on a general knowledge level, so he doesn't ask the reader to follow complex equations, at most providing new vocabulary that he explains with simple definitions and case studies; the book has no index, but does include endnotes pointing to accessible sources for the average reader. He begins with some basic definitions: Our actions through faith will always speak louder than the ideological words we use to describe them.
Lombard references first the long-understood separation of the brain into a left hemisphere which processes facts, calculations and logic, and a right hemisphere that provides" understanding [of] the interpretative and sentinel value of our experiences. She did not accept that she could not see. We feel compassion today because God first is compassionate. All the intangible qualities such as hope and love and joy and compassion are found within the Mind of God.
We become aware that our actions are a reflection of a deeper reality, as it is written in Proverbs, "As water mirrors a face, a heart responds to another.
It is a fact of life that people hold beliefs, especially in the field of religion, which might be regarded as irrational. That they are held irrationally doesn't mean they are wrong. Perhaps there is a route to knowledge such as through mysticism or revelation that bypasses or transcends human reason? As a scientist I would rather try to take human reasoning as far as it will go. In exploring the frontiers of reason and rationality we will certainly encounter mystery and uncertainty, and in all probability at some stage reasoning will fail us and have to be replaced either by irrational belief or frank agnosticism.
If the world is rational, at least in large measure, what is the origin of that rationality? It cannot arise solely in our own minds, because our minds merely reflect what is already there. Should we seek explanation in a rational Designer? Or can rationality "create itself" by the sheer force of its own "reasonableness"? Alternatively, could it be that on some "larger scale" the world is irrational, but that we find ourselves inhabiting an oasis of apparent rationality, because that is the only "place" where conscious, reasoning beings could find themselves?
To explore these sorts of questions further, let us take a more careful look at the different types of reasoning. Thoughts About Thought Two sorts of reasoning serve us well, and it is important to keep a clear distinction between them. The first is called "deduction. According to standard logic, certain statements, such as "A dog is a dog" and "Everything either is, or is not, a dog," are accepted as true, while others, like "A dog is not a dog," are deemed false.
A deductive argument starts out with a set of assumptions called "premises. Obviously the premises should be mutually consistent. It is widely believed that the conclusion of a logico-eductive argument contains no more than was present in the original premises, so that such an argument can never be used to prove anything genuinely new. Consider, for example, the deductive sequence known as a "syllogism": All bachelors are men. Alex is a bachelor.
Therefore, Alex is a man. Statement 3 tells us no more than was present in statements 1 and 2 combined. So, according to this view, deductive reasoning is really only a way of processing facts or concepts so as to present them in a more interesting or useful form. When deductive logic is applied to a complex set of concepts, the conclusions can often be surprising or unexpected, even if they are merely the outworking of the original premises.
A good example is provided by the subject of geometry, which is founded on a collection of assumptions, known as "axioms," on which the elaborate edifice of geometrical theory is erected. In the third century B. One of these is Pythagoras' theorem, which, although it has no greater information content than Euclid's axioms, from which it is derived, is certainly not intuitively obvious. Clearly a deductive argument is only as good as the premises on which it is founded. For example, in the nineteenth century some mathematicians decided to follow up the consequences of dropping Euclid's fifth axiom, which states that through every point it is possible to draw a line parallel to another given-line.
Euclidean geometry" turned out to be of great use in science. In fact, Einstein employed it in his general theory of relativity a theory of gravitation , and, as mentioned, we now know that Euclid's geometry is actually wrong in the real world: Euclidean geometry is still taught in schools because it remains a very good approximation under most circumstances. The lesson of this story, however, is that it is unwise to consider any axioms as so self-evidently correct that they could not possibly be otherwise.
It is generally agreed that logico-deductive arguments constitute the most secure form of reasoning, though I should mention that even the use of standard logic has been questioned by some. In so-called quantum logic, the rule that something cannot both be and not be such-and-such is dropped. The motivation for this is that in quantum physics the notion of "to be" is more subtle than in everyday experience: Another form of reasoning that we all employ is called "inductive. The prediction that the sun will rise tomorrow is an example of inductive reasoning based on the fact that the sun has faithfully risen every day so far in our experience.
And when I let go of a heavy object, I expect it to fall, on the basis of my previous experiences with the pull of gravity. Scientists employ inductive reasoning when they frame hypotheses based on a limited number of observations or experiments. The laws of physics, for instance, are of this sort. The inverse-square law of electric force has been tested in a number of ways, and always confirmed. We call it a law because, on the basis of induction, we reason that the inverse-square property will always hold. However, the fact that nobody has observed a violation of the inverse-square law does not prove it must be true, in the way that, given the axioms of Euclidean geometry, Pythagoras' theorem must be true.
No matter on how many individual occasions the law is confirmed, we can never be absolutely certain that it applies unfailingly. On the basis of induction, we may conclude only that it is very probable that the law will hold the next time it is tested. The philosopher David Hume cautioned against inductive reasoning. That the sun has always been observed to rise on schedule, or that the inverse-square law has always been confirmed, is no guarantee that these things will continue in the future. The belief that they will is based on the assumption that "the course of nature continues always uniformly the same.
True, it may be the case that a state of affairs B e. For in what sense might B have to follow A? We can certainly conceive of a world where A occurs but B doesn't: Might there be some other sense of necessity, a sort of natural necessity? Hume and his followers deny that there is any such thing. It seems we are forced to concede that conclusions arrived at inductively are never absolutely secure in the logical manner of deductive conclusions, even though "common sense" is based on induction.
That inductive reasoning is so often successful is a remarkable property of the world that one might characterize as the "dependability of nature. As we shall see, there is no logical reason why the world may not have been otherwise. It could have been chaotic in a way that made inductive generalization impossible. Modern philosophy has been strongly influenced by the work of Karl Popper, who argues that in practice scientists rarely use inductive reasoning in the way described.
When a new discovery is made, scientists tend to work backward to construct hypotheses consistent with that discovery, and then go on to deduce other consequences of those hypotheses that can in turn be experimentally tested. If any one of these predictions turns out to be false, the theory has to be modified or abandoned.
The emphasis is thus on falsification, not verification. A powerful theory is one that is highly vulnerable to falsification, and so can be tested in many detailed and specific ways. If the theory passes those tests, our confidence in the theory is reinforced. A theory that is too vague or general, or makes predictions concerning only circumstances beyond our ability to test, is of little value. In practice, then, human intellectual endeavor does not always proceed through deductive and inductive reasoning. The key to major scientific advances often rests with free-ranging imaginative leaps or inspiration.
In such cases an important fact or conjecture springs ready-made into the mind of the inquirer, and only subsequently is justification found in reasoned argument. How inspiration comes about is a mystery that raises many questions. Do ideas have a type of independent existence, so that they are "discovered" from time to time by a receptive mind? Or is inspiration a consequence of normal reasoning which takes place hidden in the subconscious, with the result being delivered to the conscious only when complete? If so, how did such an ability evolve? What biological advantages can such things as mathematical and artistic inspiration confer on humans?
A Rational World The claim that the world is rational is connected with the fact that it is ordered. Events generally do not happen willy-nilly: The sun rises on cue because the Earth spins in a regular manner. The fall of a heavy object is connected with its earlier release from a height. It is this interrelatedness of events that gives us our notion of causation. The window breaks because it is struck by a stone.
The oak tree grows because the acorn is planted. The invariable conjunction of causally related events becomes so familiar that we are tempted to ascribe causative potency to material objects themselves: But this is to attribute to material objects active powers that they do not deserve. All one can really say is that there is a correlation between, say, stones rushing at windows and broken glass. Events that form such sequences are therefore not independent. If we could make a record of all events in some region of space over a period of time, we would notice that the record would be crisscrossed by patterns, these being the "causal linkages.
Without them there would be only chaos. Closely related to causality is the notion of determinism. In its modem form this is the assumption that events are entirely determined by other, earlier events. Determinism carries the implication that the state of the world at one moment suffices to fix its state at a later moment.
And because that later state fixes subsequent states, and so on, the conclusion is drawn that everything which ever happens in the future of the universe is completely determined by its present state. When Isaac Newton proposed his laws of mechanics in the seventeenth century, determinism was automatically built into them. For example, treating the solar system as an isolated system, the positions and velocities of the planets at one moment suffice to determine uniquely through Newton's laws their positions and velocities at all subsequent moments.
Moreover, Newton's laws contain no directionality in time, so the trick works in reverse: In this way we can, for example, predict eclipses in the future, and also retrodict their occurrences in the past. If the world is strictly deterministic, then all events are locked in a matrix of cause and effect. The past and future are contained in the present, in the sense that the information needed to construct the past and future states of the world are folded into its present state just as rigidly as the information about Pythagoras' theorem is folded into the axioms of Euclidean geometry.
The entire cosmos becomes a gigantic machine or clockwork, slavishly following a pathway of change already laid down from the beginning of time. Ilya Prigogine has expressed it more poetically: God is reduced to a mere archivist turning the pages of a cosmic history book already written.
Standing in opposition to determinism is indeterminism, or chance. We might say that an event happened by "pure chance" or "by accident" if it was not obviously determined by anything else. Throwing a die and flipping a coin are familiar examples. But are these cases of genuine indeterminism, or is it merely that the factors and forces that determine their outcome are hidden from us, so that their behavior simply appears random to us?
Before this century most scientists would have answered yes to the latter question. They supposed that, at rock bottom, the world was strictly deterministic, and that the appearance of random or chance events was entirely the result of ignorance about the details of the system concerned. If the motion of every atom could be known, they reasoned, then even coin tossing would become predictable. The fact that it is unpredictable in practice is because of our limited information about the world. Random behavior is traced to systems that are highly unstable, and therefore at the mercy of minute fluctuations in the forces that assail them from their environment.
This point of view was largely abandoned in the late s with the discovery of quantum mechanics, which deals with atomic-scale phenomena and has indeterminism built into it at a fundamental level. One expression of this indeterminism is known as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, after the German quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg. Roughly speaking, this states that all measurable quantities are subject to unpredictable fluctuations, and hence to uncertainty in their values.
To quantify this uncertainty, observables are grouped into pairs: The principle requires that attempts to reduce the level of uncertainty of one member of the pair serves to increase the uncertainty of the other. Thus an accurate measurement of the position of a particle such as an electron, say, has the effect of making its momentum highly uncertain, and vice versa.
Because you need to know both the positions and the momenta of the particles in a system precisely if you want to predict its future states, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle puts paid to the notion that the present determines the future exactly. Of course, this supposes that quantum uncertainty is genuinely intrinsic to nature, and not merely the result of some hidden level of deterministic activity. In recent years a number of key experiments have been performed to test this point, and they have confirmed that uncertainty is indeed inherent in quantum systems.
The universe really is indeterministic at its most basic level. So does this mean that the universe is irrational after all? There is a difference between the role of chance in quantum mechanics and the unrestricted chaos of a lawless universe. Although there is generally no certainty about the future states of a quantum system, the relative probabilities of the different possible states are still determined. Thus the betting odds can be given that, say, an atom will be in an excited or a nonexcited state, even if the outcome in a particular instance is unknown.
This statistical lawfulness implies that, on a macroscopic scale where quantum effects are usually not noticeable, nature seems to conform to deterministic laws. The job of the physicist is to uncover the patterns in nature and try to fit them to simple mathematical schemes.
The question of why there are patterns, and why such mathematical schemes are possible, lies outside the scope of physics, belonging to a subject known as metaphysics. In Greek philosophy, the term "metaphysics" originally meant "that which comes after physics. The development of spintronics depends on materials that guarantee control over the flow of magnetically polarized currents. However, it is hard to talk about control when the details of heat transport through the interfaces Magnetic field lines tangled like spaghetti in a bowl might be behind the most powerful particle accelerators in the universe.
That's the result of a new computational study by researchers from the Department of Energy's Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Laser-pointing system could help tiny satellites transmit data to Earth December 16, A new laser-pointing platform developed at MIT may help launch miniature satellites into the high-rate data game.
Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank. Let us not forget this goodie "Most of us don't worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead," he said.
Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge. The greatest problem of science is that no one thinks about himself and about the one that human beings formed us.