On Scientific Explanations of God-Experiences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, the author explains that scientific response counters the epistemological approaches in the name of scientific explanations of alleged experiences of God. He argues that, in principle at least, neuroscientific findings could make it quite unlikely that God-experiences were veridical. The author sets out the requirements for any successful scientific reduction of God-experiences. He looks at a leading current neuropsychological theory of mystical experiences, that of Eugene d'Aquili and Andrew Newberg. The author explains why it fails to generate reductionist conclusions. He relates to the scientific response as an argument against accepting a theistic interpretation of alleged God-experiences, rather than as an attempt to explain such experiences after discarding their theistic interpretation. The strength of the theory of deafferentiation lies in its ability to explain a variety of experiences. It explains both theistic and non-theistic experiences and meditative and non-meditative experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and the Challenges of Science
EditorsWilliam Sweet, Richard Feist
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781351150392, 9781351150408
ISBN (Print)9780815391432
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (all)


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