Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: The "God" Part of the Brain, by Matthew Alper

Four out of five stars.

This is a book-length essay with references to support the author's point of view. Easy to read and covers topics about neuroscience in enough detail to make it interesting but accessible to the lay person. Alper begins by reviewing how we have come to our understanding of physics, chemistry and biology-- very accurate and well-written. He continues by discussing the brain and how our proclivities toward God-belief are hard-wired into our biology. His ideas about sociobiology are consistent with E.O. Wilson, who is quoted extensively. 

I recommend this book to anyone who wonders why some people believe in God and others do not. Why are we moral? Where does altruism come from? Alper presents the scientific non-theistic view very well and tries to show where the field of "bio-theology" will go in the future. Not a definitive work on the subject nor is it a scientific treatise, but this book's themes stimulate lots of thought and he provides plenty of references. I can see why it has acquired a cultish following among the young and irreligious.

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