In the last post, Alain de Botton in his book Religion for Atheists says “He finds it impossible to take faith in God seriously. He assumes that none of his educated readers could possibly believe in spooky ghosts in the sky.” I am sure that de Botton would find this cartoon amusing. It poses the question of whether God actually resides in the brain and not in “the sky.” To make things even more interesting, we are talking about a theistic God, meaning that He not only exists outside of us but also constantly communicates to us through the evolved mechanism of our thinking apparatus, and is actually part of our very existence whether we believe in Him or not! I bet that would have de Botton’s “educated” readers rolling in the aisles!
I have already given you a rough approximation of how it is possible for a biological creature to have the intentions of its motivations located outside of its body by asking an ant why it is working so very hard. When asked, the ant realizes that its intentions flow from the colony to which it belongs. Then we get into the genetic stakes that the ant has in the success of its colony and whether this places a small portion of its intention inside the brain of that ant.
Well this is only a hint of the human condition because our form of group selection crosses a much greater Rubicon than the super-cooperative insects. William Hamilton (and Richard Dawkins) taught us that it is the “selfish” genes within us that really are the communal sources of the embers of our life. I am proposing that in a process similar to the well accepted mechanism of sexual selection that, in the last common ancestor with chimpanzees, the dominance mentality began selecting the submissive mentality for obedience to the rules of right and wrong. Because there is only one set of rules for the good of the group, the dominance mentalities within these groups fused into a single relational entity knitted together by a new form of communication called language. All members of the group spoke or gestured through this singular dominance entity called authority in order to understand and coordinate its intentions together.
Due to the fecundity of this new form of group life, it exploded into a score of species despite the decline of other apes. This group authority that I am calling God retained the habit of the dominance mentality having been evolved for 50 million years and the genes from which it springs indeed have existed scattered amongst the brains of our ancestors for the last 6 million years. These God genes are relational in that they only exist when two or more individuals interact; however, such interaction occurs in the mere act of thinking when one is all alone. The source of the selfish intentions of these scattered genes lies in the spiritual space and the selfish contents of these intentions are that we should all live peacefully in a state of perfect justice forever more.