"Essential reading for the devout, the agnostic, and the atheist. In tackling the question of the religious brain, Graziano is respectful, sincere, and scientifically plausible. This might even be an Important Book."Sam Wang, author of Welcome to Your Brain
"A beautifully crafted, tightly scripted account of how the far-flung legions of the brain's neurons give rise to social awareness and our notions of soul, religion and God."Christof Koch, author of The Quest for Consciousness
"Lucid and engaging. . . . Moves with pace and humor."Philip Johnson-Laird, author of Mental Models
"Do we know the origins of Gods and ghosts? This well-written book makes the bold case that new discoveries in social neuroscience can illuminate human spiritual experience."Terry Sejnowski, PhD, Salk Institute/UC San Diego
Writing for the general public, Michael S. A. Graziano explores the controversial relationship between science and religion, first dismissing the "science versus religion" debate as outdated. The cutting-edge field of social neuroscience explains how our perceptions of our own consciousness, of other minds, and of spirits and gods depend on machinery in the brain that evolved to make us socially intelligent animals. In clear prose without technical jargon, Graziano discusses his and others' findings in this twenty-year-old science and the implications for human spirituality and religion.
Michael S. A. Graziano, professor of neuroscience, Princeton University, is the author of numerous articles on the functioning of the brain. He is internationally known for fundamental discoveries about sensory-motor coordination. His previous book on the brain, The Intelligent Movement Machine, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008.