Warning: This Book May Change Your Worldview
Whether you are a materialist or follow a conventional
religion, this book will help you think clearly about science and religion.
This book looks critically about materialism, the theory
that only matter exists and mind or spirit is a byproduct of matter. It shows
that what philosophers call “dualism,” the idea that matter and
spirit exist independently, is more plausible than materialism.
It begins by reviewing the arguments that philosophers have
used to show that computers cannot have consciousness.
Then it shows that materialism cannot provide a basis for
scientific knowledge or morality-and shows that it is self-contradictory to
claim that science has proven that only matter exists.
It looks critically at the evidence from near-death
experiences and at the attempts to explain away these experiences.
It concludes by asking how we can reconcile religion with
science, looking at a wide range of religions.
From the beginning, the book takes a skeptical, critical
approach to both materialism and religious faith:
“I find that preachers of materialism can be just as
dogmatic as preachers of religion. For example, Steven Pinker claims that a computer that
modeled the human brain would have consciousness like ours because the idea
that computers can have minds is ‘as fundamental to cognitive science as the
cell doctrine is to biology and plate tectonics is to geology’ – which is like
saying you believe God created the universe because it is a fundamental
doctrine of your religion.
“Pinker thinks he is being scientific, but science is
based on evidence. There is plenty of evidence for cell doctrine and plate
tectonics, but no evidence at all that computers can have consciousness.”
This book rejects both materialist dogmas and religious
dogmas. Instead, it follows the evidence and sees how far it can lead us.