Spirituality and Science Books

Spirituality from the perspective of science books

Science about spiritual topics...

Think God has a place in quantum mechanics? That consciousness is given by God? That Evolution can only explain so much? Well - these books will try to convince you otherwise.

When you hear 'quantum mechanics' you may think 'create your own life'. Books on this page are written to target that kind of misconception. Quantum mechanics DOES NOT prove that we can create our lives just by how we think. Quantum mechanics can be interpreted to support such ideas - but that's as far as it goes.
 
Few physicists agree or even care about how you should change your life. They care about how minuscule particles interact, how to predict what they do, and how to develop theories about what we don't yet know about electrons and protons and such.

In other words - this collection of books is meant to help you decide for yourself what you believe and what is true.

In other words: books by scientists about the themes that most concern us: God, Evolution, the Mind and more.

Quantum Gods - Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, by Victor Stenger

Taking a look at quantum spirituality and how it combines with actual quantum mechanics. In other words: What truth is there to the claims of quantum spirituality and is it really supported by quantum physics?

Also tries to talk about the kind of God that DOES confirm with quantum mechanics - not the best part of the book I think, but still interesting.

The Accidental Mind - How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God, by David Linden

Explaining who we are and what we concern ourselves with from an evolutionary standpoint.

The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore

Susan Blackmore applies evolutionary theory on something other than genes: she applies it to culture. Cultural ideas (aka memes) are spread just like genes: they are successful if they make sure they are replicated and have 'survival' capacity.

An interesting if controversial look at what makes humans different from other animals: culture.

The underlying thread is: much human behavior (nuns, monks, homosexuals) can't be explained from a strictly evolutionary perspective. If we're evolutionarily designed to have kids, all of us, there would not be people who decline that pleasure for the sake of spirituality of sex with someone of the same sex. So why do people have those behaviors then? Well, says Blackmore, because they're replicating memes instead of genes.

(available on Kindle)

What's Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science

Ah, this is fun... the most controversial ideas in science today, that promise to take over science tomorrow. Like all futuristic books one cannot expect this one to be right on all counts. Still, it's interesting to find out what ideas scientists are pondering, what possibilities they have in view when looking at their fields.

(available on Kindle)

Goedel, Escher, Bach - an eternal Golden Braid - D.R. Hofstadter (1980)

A fascinating book that explains the fundamental problems in the research of consciousness and artificial intelligence. Each chapter starts out with dialog between the Tortoise and Achilles, getting harder and harder till it ends with mathematics that most readers will not be able to understand.

But reading what you can understand in this book will help you to stretch your mind and understand a few of the essential dilemma's in modern science.

A physicist turned science fiction author: Isaac Asimov

The scientist in Asimov is easy to find: his plots often involve complex questions to do with the way technology and science impact society.

Best Isaac Asimov Robot Books in Order
I love science fiction. Especially the works of Frank Herbert (the Dune universe) and Isaac Asimov. I've read he felt he was writing mainly for boys..

William James - mystic, psychologist, philosopher

Pioneer psychologist, unique philosopher and religious thinker, influential in the young sciences of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and the philosophy of pragmatism. 

Existential Psychotherapy, Irvin D. Yalom

This article is dedicated to my mom. She's a humanistic psychotherapist and Irvin D. Yalom is one of her heroes. The smile on her face when I picked out this book from the bookcase is one I'm sure I'll never forget...I'm afraid some part of her is partly hoping I'll be converted or something.

Consciousness: an Introduction, by Susan Blackmore

Fascinating. I bought this book because I first heard of this author as a former parapsychologist. It's always good to read books by those whom you disagree with - but know what they are talking about. Reading it, I find she really does know what she's talking about.

Ken Wilber: transcentental psychologist and metaphysician

John Hick - philosopher of religion

Philosophers of religion know John Hick's pluralistic hypothesis for it's daring solution to conflict between religions. The basic idea: religion is based on spiritual experiences - but even in the best of us those experiences are experienced through the lens of our conditionings.

Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is the embodiment of religious tolerance and spiritual transformation. A former Roman Catholic Nun, she got disillusioned about religion.

Karen Armstrong is not usually treated as a scientist: she graduated but did not get her dPhil. Still, the strength of her work is such that I wanted to include her here as she does exemplify what religion studies can mean for our world.

Scientist gone spiritual?

Rupert Sheldrake is one of those mavericks of science: he started out as an ordinary scientist, but his research took him to places few scientists would dare follow. This has caused him to be unpopular in academia, but highly popular in intellectual alternative spiritual circles.

David Bohm is a similar story. Amit Goswami made sure to wait writing about his spiritual perspective till he was retired.

Creative Evolution by Amit Goswami PhD

A Physicist's Resolution Between Darwinism And Intelligent Design

Inspiring integration of the latest in physics with a spiritual perspective. Convincing in the point that since consciousness is part of the universe now (in us), consciousness must have played a part in creating it and guiding evolution at crucial points in evolution.