Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Irrefutable Proof that Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives Hardcover – Apr 16 2012
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“Brain Wars explains why the prevailing brain-mind paradigm is falling apart and why we are increasingly being forced to reconsider the nature of consciousness. The consequences of this paradigm shift are profound, and Mario Beauregard does a magnificent job in explaining why.” (Dean Radin PhDCo-Editor-in-Chief, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing Senior Scientist Institute of Noetic Sciences)
“Mario Beauregard shows convincingly that the materialistic philosophy of the 19th century is an impoverished framework incompatible with contemporary science, from physics to psychology. The concepts he develops in Brain Wars are required reading for scientific literacy in today’s world.” (Bruce Greyson, M.D. Research psychiatrist, University of Virginia. Co-author of Irreducible Mind)
“In this ground-breaking work, neuroscientist Mario Beauregard cites a range of scientific studies challenging many widely held materialistic assumptions about the relation between the mind and brain.” (B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D.President, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies)
“The assumption that the brain makes consciousness, like the liver makes bile, and that human consciousness is confined to the brain and body, will not endure because it is unscientific, and cannot account for how consciousness manifests in the world. In this important book, Dr. Mario Beauregard shows why.” (Larry Dossey, MDAuthor of Reinventing Medicine and The Power of Premonitions)
“Dr. Beauregard describes that our mind/consciousness has a fundamental and irreducible nature, and that it sometimes can be experienced independently from the body because it is not limited to our brain. Brain Wars clearly announces the end of physicalism, reductionism, materialism and objectivism in science.” (Pim van Lommel, cardiologist, author of Consciousness beyond Life)
Provocative and accessible, this book is ultimately less about hard science and more about the mind-body problem and philosophy of materialistic science. (Library Journal) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
The brain can be weighed, measured, scanned, dissected, and studied. The mind that we conceive to be generated by the brain, however, remains a mystery. It has no mass, no volume, and no shape, and it cannot be measured in space and time. Yet it is as real as neurons, neurotransmitters, and synaptic junctions. It is also very powerful.
—from Brain Wars
Is the brain "a computer made of meat," and human consciousness a simple product of electrical impulses? The idea that matter is all that exists has dominated science since the late nineteenth century and led to the long-standing scientific and popular understanding of the brain as simply a collection of neurons and neural activity. But for acclaimed neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, Ph.D., along with a rising number of colleagues and others, this materialist-based view clashes with what we feel and experience every day.
In Brain Wars, Dr. Beauregard delivers a paradigm-shifting examination of the role of the brain and mind. Filled with engaging, surprising, and cutting-edge scientific accounts, this eye-opening book makes the increasingly indisputable case that our immaterial minds influence what happens in our brains, our bodies, and even beyond our bodies. Examining the hard science behind "unexplained" phenomena such as the placebo effect, self-healing, brain control, meditation, hypnosis, and near-death and mystical experiences, Dr. Beauregard reveals the mind's capabilities and explores new answers to age-old mind-body questions.
Radically shifting our comprehension of the role of consciousness in the universe, Brain Wars forces us to consider the immense untapped power of the mind and explore the profound social, moral, and spiritual implications that this new understanding holds for our future.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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This book covers all of these fascinating subjects, and then some. The book is easy to read and paced very well. It never gets bogged down with heavy explanation, and it's always just enough to keep reading to learn more.
He covers out-of-body experiences, Near-death-experiences, experiments with placebos, the debate of conciousness and the mind, and several other unexplained phenomena that has something to do with the brain.
All of his examples are scientifically backed, and he holds his judgement until the very end. For most of the book, he presents you the facts, and lets you decide for yourself.
Being reminded that our lives are not determined by the processes of our brains inspires us, gives us hope, obliges and frees us to make wise decisions about how we live, love, work, and play. This book is an eloquent reminder of our freedom and the rights and responsibilities that come with it.
The same can be asked about the brain.
What would it looked like if consciousness was outside the brain. We can never say. The illusion of a brain producing consciousness is solid. We can see it!
We see neurons firing and argue that the firing makes consciousness.
But we never say this about electricity. We never say that lightning causes atmospheric pressure, rather, we say that atmospheric pressure causes the lightning.
So does consciousness cause the neurons to fire rather than neurons firing causes consciousness?
The same can be said about the science of combustion. Combustion causes fire. We never say that fire causes combustion.
So claiming neurons cause consciousness is the wrong way round. The way combustion causes fire and the way atmospheric pressure causes lightning, consciousness causes neurons to fire.
Anomalous cases, even some very interesting double-blind experiments, which the current state of scientific knowledge arguably cannot explain, call for further research, thought, and investigation; they don't prove tendentious conclusions. They don't, without more, prove the existence of the single white crow.
To cite just one example, the author describes (Ch. 7) the case of Pam Reynolds. She reportedly had a near-death experience in which, while clinically brain dead, she saw, heard, and otherwise sensed certain events. She remembered them upon being revived. The events she said she sensed could also be empirically, independently verified by others. This is indeed fascinating if it's true. To my knowledge, it cannot be explained by current, general consensus scientific views, e.g., about the dependence of mental events upon physical events in the brain. But we cannot therefore draw the conclusion that, as Huxley and some others believed, the mind acts as a filter for a transcendental unified consciousness, or that life and perception survive brain death. These are hypotheses.
True, it would be dogmatic to dismiss these cases because they can't be explained by a materialistic worldview. Further evidence of this sort might well require that we revise that worldview. The author's right to critique *dogmatic* skepticism. Dogmatic materialism is as bad as any other dogma. But 90%+ of scientists are not believers in materialism, or the dependence of mental upon physical events in the brain, based on blind faith or dogma; it's a question of the weight of the evidence. A genuine scientist would indeed remain open-minded to the kind of evidence the author relates. That surely does not mean they must accept the author's conclusions.
The way empirical data, including double-blind experiments, prove a hypothesis is by establishing more than that the data would explain a given phenomenon. The data must show that it genuinely *does* explain that phenomenon either (1) to the exclusion of other proposed hypotheses, or at least (2) better, which is to say more consistently and logically, than other hypotheses.
In other words, if one person says she saw a white crow, but everyone else has seen only black crows, presumably we should ask questions like: Did the person really see a white crow? Or can the anomalous events be explained by an equally compelling hypothesis that would also explain why others have only seen black crows? Perhaps the white crow was an albino of sorts. Or perhaps the person's eyes were defective. Or perhaps the person lied. And so forth. This is true even if hundreds of people over the course of history claim to have seen white crows (and even if a handful of double-blind experiments are consistent with the existence of white crows) -- because trillions of others throughout history have not seen white crows, and most double-blind experiments do not validate white crows. That doesn't mean none exist. It does mean scientists justifiably remain skeptical about their existence at present, i.e., given everything else we currently know based on the scientific method.
Yes, there are many reported cases of apparent near-death, out-of-body, mystical, psychic and other experiences. For the sake of argument at least, let's grant that there're too many, or at least enough, of these "white crows," such that it would be misguided to dismiss, without further investigation, the existence of white crows as "pure nonsense" -- that is, it would be misguided to dismiss them merely because they're inconsistent with the best current scientific worldview based on the rest of the evidence and research to date. But the case of Pam Reynolds is fascinating, if true, precisely because it's inconsistent with the rest of what we think we know.
What the author has done is report many very interesting case studies, and the results of some -- perhaps well-designed (I'm in no position to judge) -- experiments. These seem to me compelling enough to call for further research and to counsel an open mind. But they don't show that the white crows were really white.
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