One of the more profound proposals in Dawkins’ The God Delusion is the following:
“…any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution” (p. 31, italics original).
From our observable experience, the only beings that are capable of design are those that are embodied and have neurological faculties such as physical brains. Without neurological physiology, design does not exist; without a body and a brain, the mind ceases to exist. Mind, though not reducible to mere matter is, no doubt, an emergent product of matter. In our experience as humans, in our empirical study of the cosmos, no exceptions to the mind-matter continuum can be pinned down, none. Anyone that presumes that mind exists without brain cannot assert this with the backing of empiricism and the scientific method.
In my recent reading of Keith Ward’s Why There Almost Certainly is a God I came upon a divergent expansion of Dawkins’ proposal stated above. Let me quote:
“The question of God is the question of whether conscious mind can exist without any physical body… Arguments for the existence of God are arguments claiming to show that not all minds arise from matter. There is at least one mind that is prior to all matter…” (p. 19).
I apologize to the unconvinced reader not for the fact that I am presuming the following to be true, but I am sorry for the educational system and the religious leaders who have fed you with lies, to believe that the soul is an immaterial part of your humanity, a part that survives beyond death. Mind and consciousness are late developments in the universe—the product of billions of years of physical cosmic processes that have resulted in the raw materials for life and the product of millions of years of biological evolution that led to the development of physical brains and higher-level thought and self-awareness. You have mind, you are reading, you are thinking and self-aware not as the result of a direct divine fiat miracle but because of the dysteleological process of evolution that brought the unlikelihood of you into conscious being.
We know, we observe, we can experience no mind or consciousness that is not a part of and the result of this process of naturalistic evolution. To assert that there is a God is to assert that mind, one mind is an exception to the rule. One mind (though indeed God would be more than mind though not less than) is an exception to the process of conscious existence. This is what it means to propose that there is a God outside of time and matter, it is to posit the existence of mind before matter and outside of the necessary process to produce mind from matter: evolution.
Now, this does not mean there isn’t a God or a Mind; however, if there is such a Mind, it is highly unlikely that it is an exception to every other reality that we know and experience. This Mind must itself be emergent, a product of evolution. In this regard I am an unquestionable theist through the paradigm of radically emergent theism in which God is a property that emerges from self-aware minds or from the noosphere. This is the only God that I can relate to, one that is herself made from the same fabric, the same matter, that produces Mind and consciousness. This is a God, who like myself, is not static but in process, changing. This is a God who can become what we want her to be. And, unlike the wooden ideologies of fundamentalism, she can become whatever we want her to be. Her fullness is contingent on a humanity that takes the reigns of its own potential, a humanity that will not wait for the intervention of a Sovereign God who is himself an exception to existence and morality, who is unaccountable to reality and ethics, and who will never show.