“The Phantom God integrates novel ideas in evolution, cognitive science, neuroscience, plus psychedelics and drug addiction. Wathey's bold hypothesis — that the illusion of God’s presence comes from an innate neural model — lays down a scientific challenge, but won't convince believers. No one who seeks the foundations of religion can ignore The Phantom God.” — Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator and host of Closer To Truth—
"Now I understand what was happening in my brain when I experienced the vivid parental 'presence of God' that gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears. In The Phantom God, John Wathey supports his brilliant hypothesis with facts and enjoyably clear explanation. This is science writing at its best."
– Dan Barker, co-president of Freedom from Religion Foundation, and author of Godless and Free Will Explained, among others—
“This deeply engaging and challenging book relates some of the most puzzling aspects of religion to a broad range of empirical research on the brain — including case studies of brain pathology, hallucinations, and lateralization — and reveals surprising evidence of shared underlying neural mechanisms. Concluding that an innate neural model can explain many religious phenomena, Wathey offers thoughtful research suggestions for further testing his ideas. In sum, a masterful work that deserves close attention.”
—David M. Wulff, Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Wheaton College (MA), and author of Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary—
“John Wathey has made landmark contributions to the anatomy of religious belief. The Phantom God gives us the fundamental hows of religion’s tenacious hold on human minds, the neuroscience buried deep in our neonatal and early infant attachment system. Read this landmark book, and treasure it.”— J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., M.D., Psychiatrist, University of Virginia, author of Why We Believe In God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith.—
“The Phantom God offers an amazing hypothesis and exploration of the roots of religion. Why does religion so often infantilize its followers? Why do wounded soldiers cry out for their mothers? This book connects religious behavior directly to the innate models in our brain that help us negotiate infancy and childhood but also profoundly affect us as adults.”
– Dr. Darrel Ray, president and founder of RecoveringfromReligion.org, author of The God Virus and Sex and God—