448. Andrew Newberg

Andrew NewbergAndrew B. Newberg, M.D. is currently the Associate Director in Charge of Research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital in Philadelphia. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University and he is adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Newberg has been particularly involved in the study of mystical and religious experiences, a field referred to as “neurotheology”. He has also studied the more general mind/body relationship in both the clinical and research aspects of his career including understanding the physiological correlates of acupuncture therapy, meditation, and other types of alternative therapies.  He has published over 200 peer reviewed articles and chapters on brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences.


He has also produced a 24 lecture video program entitled, “The Spiritual Brain,” for The Teaching Company. He has presented his work at scientific and religious meetings throughout the world and has appeared on Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, Nightline, 20/20, CNN, ABC World News Tonight as well as in nationally distributed movies: “What the Bleep Do We Know!?”; Bill Maher’s “Religulous”; and “AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda”.    His work has been featured in a number of media articles including in Newsweek, Time, National Geographic, Discover, O Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, London Observer, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Readers Digest. Additional information regarding books and research can be found at www.andrewnewberg.com.

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Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded March 31, 2018

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Andrew B. Newberg’s Background and Expertise
  • 00:03:38 – The Nature of Reality and Questioning Beliefs
  • 00:06:43 – The Path of Knowledge
  • 00:09:49 – The Journey of Inquiry and Infinite Doubt
  • 00:12:54 – The Practical Side of Science and Its Probabilities
  • 00:15:55 – Exploring Intense Experiences with Neurotheology
  • 00:18:54 – Escaping the Prison of the Brain
  • 00:22:05 – The Mystery of Consciousness and the Universe
  • 00:25:13 – Exploring the Relationship Between Consciousness and Matter
  • 00:28:27 – Exploring Science and Spirituality
  • 00:31:36 – Defining Consciousness
  • 00:35:09 – Integrating Science and Spirituality
  • 00:38:42 – The Power of Compassion and Understanding
  • 00:42:19 – The Arrogance of Scientists and the Resistance to Change
  • 00:45:19 – Evaluating Ideas and Beliefs
  • 00:48:09 – The Human Nervous System as a Scientific Instrument
  • 00:51:34 – The Importance of Subjective Measures in Brain Scans
  • 00:55:00 – The Impossibility of Knowing Thought and Consciousness
  • 00:57:58 – Exploring Higher States of Consciousness
  • 01:01:12 – Exploring the Mystical Experience
  • 01:04:05 – The Nature of Spiritual Experiences
  • 01:07:32 – The Experience of Brazilian Mediums
  • 01:10:29 – The Spiritual Experiment: Progress and Determination of Enlightenment
  • 01:13:40 – Comparing Natural and Drug-Induced Enlightenment
  • 01:17:17 – The Evolution of Understanding Spiritual Experience
  • 01:20:22 – The Brain’s Radical Change 
  • 01:23:22 – The Nature of Free Will
  • 01:26:26 – Levels of Consciousness and Free Will
  • 01:29:05 – The Relationship Between Brain Activity and Moral Decision Making
  • 01:31:42 – Exploring the Questions of Reality and Understanding It
  • 01:35:05 – Can the Founders of Religions be Held Accountable?