email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God50 Voices of DisbeliefA Companion to Buddhist PhilosophyA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Frightening LoveA People's History of ChristianityAdieu to GodAn Ethics for TodayAristotle's ChildrenAugustine's "Confessions"Bad FaithBehind the GospelsBig DreamsBig GodsBody Piercing Saved My LifeBrains, Buddhas, and BelievingBrief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and FaithBuddhism and ScienceBuddhist Boot CampConfucianismConfucianismConfucius and ConfucianismContemplative ScienceCorporal Punishment, Religion, and United States Public SchoolsCourage to SurrenderCross and KhoraDarwin's Gift to Science and ReligionDarwin, God and the Meaning of LifeDeath and the AfterlifeDebating DesignDeeper Than DarwinDivinity of DoubtEmbracing MindEncountering the DharmaEngaging BuddhismEsalenEscape Your Own PrisonEvidence for PsiEvilEvolution and ReligionExplorations in Neuroscience, Psychology and ReligionFaithFaith and Wisdom in ScienceFingerprints of GodFor The Bible Tells Me SoForgivenessFrom Shame to SinGod & TherapyGod Is Not GreatGod Is Not OneGod: The Failed HypothesisHereticHidden DimensionsHooked!Hours with the MysticsHow to See Yourself As You Really AreHow Would Buddha Act?Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInto Great SilenceIslam and the Future of Tolerance: A DialogueJewish DharmaLife After FaithLiving DeeplyLiving with a Wild GodLiving with DarwinMaking Chastity SexyMedicine and Health Care in Early ChristianityMedicine and ReligionMedicine of the PersonMysticism & SpaceNature and the Human SoulNothingOn Life After DeathPanpsychism and the Religious AttitudePathways to SpiritualityPeaceful Death, Joyful RebirthPhilosophers without GodsPhilosophical Myths of the FallPorn UniversityPray the Gay AwayPsychotherapy without the SelfRadical GraceReason, Faith, and RevolutionRecruiting Young LoveReligion without GodReligious and Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric DiagnosisSaving GodScience and NonbeliefScience and Religion at the CrossroadsScience and SpiritualityScience vs. ReligionSecular Philosophy and the Religious TemperamentSelf Hypnosis for Cosmic ConsciousnessSelf, No Self?Sex and the Soul, Updated EditionSmile of the BuddhaSpirit, Mind, and BrainSuperstitionTen Lectures on Psychotherapy and SpiritualityThe Accidental MindThe Belief InstinctThe Bodhisattva's BrainThe Cambridge Companion to AtheismThe Cambridge Companion to Science and ReligionThe Case for GodThe Chosen OneThe Dao of NeuroscienceThe Dark Night of the SoulThe Delight of Being OrdinaryThe Fundamentalist MindsetThe God DebatesThe God GeneThe Hero with a Thousand FacesThe Improbability of GodThe Joy of SecularismThe Language God TalksThe Language of GodThe MiracleThe New AtheismThe New Religious IntoleranceThe Philosophy of ReligionThe Power of FaithThe Power of ForgivenessThe Power of Religion in the Public SphereThe Psychology of Religious FundamentalismThe Psychology of SpiritualityThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Secular OutlookThe Spirit of the BuddhaThe Spirit of Tibetan BuddhismThe Tibetan Book of the DeadThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe Watkins Dictionary of Religions and Secular FaithsThe Watkins Dictionary of SymbolsTheology, Psychology and the Plural SelfThoughts Without A ThinkerTop SecretUnifying HinduismWays of KnowingWhat Is Buddhist Enlightenment?What Should I Believe?When the Impossible HappensWilliam James on Ethics and FaithWriting as a Sacred PathYoga, Karma, and RebirthZealot
There is no doubt an important need to bring together the study of neuroscience, the study of mind and religion. The Nobel Laureate in medicine Sir John Eccles use to share with me through personal correspondence his belief that the soul exists and is couples buttons on each and every neuron. This made people embodied souls through and through. Descartes thought the soul's point of contact with the body was the pituitary gland centered deep in the brain. In either case the abundance of neural tissue in the brain make it a key focus of understanding how thoughts, imaginings, the phenomenology of experience generally and souls and body can be brought together in one dynamic.
Andrew Newburg and others represent a spate of thinkers who write about the brain's evidently having neurological apparatus committed to prayer and similar mental experiences. Most of these writers are hesitant to go forward and make either a naturalistic argument for non-belief or a anti-naturalist argument for a more comprehensive view of human nature. Seybold is not of this ilk. His is a Christian account through and through but that makes it no less informative unless the reader is a bigot through and through.
This book is a somewhat uneven read. Some chapters are dynamite such as the one on brain science and one on evolutionary psychology. His chapters on psychology generally and on the philosophy of science while meant to be brief surveys lapse into glibness at times. This is a bit odd since Seybold is a professional psychologist and he clearly intends to take a stance on the philosophy of science. Evidently, Seybold sees evolutionary psychology as the greatest threat to overwhelming lay Christian readers with data and arguments leading to the denial of God, design and soulfulness. So he levels his attack at that branch of psychology especially. And he does a good job of it.
In his attack on evolutionary psychology and even to a lesser degree on neuroscience itself, Seybold utilizes the philosophic critique that when such sciences set out to discredit the idea of the soul they do so from a philosophical perspective no one need accept to do good science, namely, naturalism. Seybold argues there is much more to reality than what is permitted within the constraints of naturalistic reasoning. Seybold instead advocates a philosophic pluralism to the acquisition of knowledge. He starts with the idea that laying out what we want to know is a more productive first step than starting with a methodological prescription that constrains a priori what we might allow ourselves to come to know.
Seybold concludes by arguing not only for scientific pluralism but for science and religion together to be seated at the table of the Great Conversation of Humankind at which all serious-minded people sit and share with others what we can about our understanding of all that is real around us. Anyone actually open to participating in the Conversation cannot help but be convinced that science and religion belong at the same table of open discourse and that each surprisingly informs the other as much as each reinforces the conclusions of the other. It is philosophy that separates disputants and not data or theology. This book is short and a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding read especially for those who want an update on the cutting edge of neuroscience and evolutionary psychology from a believer's perspective.
© 2008 Paul A. Wagner
Paul A. Wagner, Ph.D., Professor, Philosophy, School of Human Science and Humanities, and, Professional Ethics and Psychology, School of Education, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Wagner@uhcl.edu
Comment on this review
Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology.
We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and
We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.
Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'
Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send
review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank
you for your support!
Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these
announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click
Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers
for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.
Metapsychology Online Reviews
Promote your Page too
Metapsychology Online Reviews