Daily Archives: January 22, 2009

Book Review: The Biology of Belief

The featured book is ‘The Biology of Belief. Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles’ by Bruce Lipton. Although the title covers a number of different topics, the book has made quite an impression. On the jacket cover we are told that the book has sold over 150,000 copies and received many favourable reviews.

After reading the book, I did have a new perspective – that of the role of the environment in governing cell behaviour. While many of the concepts are established, it is the way in which they are drawn together that offers a different vantage point. As I understand it, the central theme in Lipton’s book is that our cells have a membrane, that the membrane contains integral membrane proteins (IMP’s) that are involved in signal transduction and that most importantly they respond to the environment. Lipton uses the term energy in his further exploration of this theme to suggest that the cells in our body are responsive to various forms of energy in the environment. The idea of the cells in the body responding to energy is not new. The physics of light perception involving the rods and cones for instance is well documented and long established as are other energy transducing mechanisms involved in sensation. Lipton however suggests that it is the instantaneous transmission of information through changes in energy fields that offers an advantage over alternative and much slower methods of transmission such as the chemical transmission in synapses. Indeed Lipton goes on to suggest that our beliefs, our thoughts exist as energy and are thereby able to influence cells. The heart and brain both produce electromagnetic fields and indeed this forms the basis for the techniques of ECG and EEG respectively. However it is difficult to see how the very small fields generated within the brain could affect distal tissues and organs within the body particularly when there is likely to be interference from the field generated by the heart for instance. Any method by which the brain influenced the body through this suggested mechanism would most likely be non-specific and probably difficult to test. Furthermore such solutions would negate the need for nerve transmission by such nerves as the vagus which due to their long, meandering course are prone to injury and would therefore not be expected to be conserved in evolutionary terms if this alternative was available.

However, here Lipton has another surprise for us – this time in the form of Lamarck’s theory of evolution which apparently preceded Darwin’s by some 50 years. Lamarck proposed that an organism would learn from the environment and transmit the results of this learning to the offspring. Subsequently Larmarck’s theory did not gain much support and the advent of Darwin’s theory of evolution led to a different perspective. Lipton cites the established mechanism of gene transfer between organisms such as bacteria as an example of how this mechanism might operate.

Lipton also examines the influence of quantum events on biology and how this might influence actions at the cellular level as well as telling us that there are only 25,000 genes within the human genome much less than were expected. He uses this as a further argument for how the environment plays an important role in the behaviour of our cells and their destiny. However, on escaping from the destiny in our genes we may instead be persuaded of the destiny in our environment although a combination of the two is more likely in this age old philosophical question.

Lipton writes enthusiastically throughout the book making it a very enjoyable read with his personality easily coming through. In this book Lipton attempts to remove the dogma of a Newtonian governed Darwinian Universe in which our destiny is determined far in advance of our birth. He gives us a number of paradigm shifts, with each shift opening new layers of complexity and offering a get-out clause from the perceived constraints of a Newtonian-Darwinian Universe.


Bruce Lipton. The Biology of Belief. Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles. Hay House Inc. 2008.


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