the friend online
26 January 2007


Biology of the human spirit - preview

Annette White reviews David Hay’s new book

Something there: the biology of the human spirit by David Hay, Darton, Longman & Todd, paperback, £15
  • 95

    Despite the subtitle, and the twinkling double helix on the cover, suggesting perhaps the discovery of a 'God gene', this is not a book about biology so much as psychology, sociology and philosophy
  • The author is a zoologist, who describes himself as a committed Darwinian and also a religious believer
  • He sets out to show that spirituality is 'hard-wired' into human beings
  • His evidence consists of hundreds of interviews with ordinary people, most of them without religious affiliations
  • From his interviews with children his research colleague coined the term 'relational consciousness' for the spiritual element (which some Quakers might call 'that of God in everyone')
  • The many and varied interviews revealed a common experience of 'something there' even among those most sceptical or hostile to religion
  • Intuitions of a spiritual dimension were particularly likely to appear in situations of extreme distress or delight

  • Annette White

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