Is god a pure mind without a body? This is the fourth of a series of short posts about whether gods exist and why the question is an important one.
Many theists believe that their god is a pure mind without a body. But we have no evidence that a mind can exist without a body or a brain or a source of energy. And we have a lot of evidence to suggest that it can’t.
|Spiral galaxy NGC 2608 from ESA/Hubble & NASA|
But there is no evidence that a separate spiritual realm exists, or how it could interact with the physical realm if it did exist. How could a mind in a different realm cause our physical bodies to move around? What mechanism would it use to move the particles in our body?
Instead, neurological experiments suggest that the cause and effect is the other way around. Our physical brain can activate the process of us pushing a button up to ten seconds before our conscious mind is aware of what button we have decided to push.
It seems that our consciousness is a biological process of our brain, just as our digestion is a biological process of our digestive system. Our brain gets new information from outside of it, processes it along with stored memories, and sends signals to the rest of our body to respond.
We also know that parts of our thinking are related to certain neurological processes or pathways in our brains. And if we close down particular pathways in our brain, then the related parts of our thinking stop working.
If follows from this that, when we die and our entire physical brain stops functioning, then our entire consciousness stops functioning as well. There is no evidence that it continues to exist in an imagined spiritual realm or that it can interact with your dead physical body.
The same applies to the idea of a god as a pure mind without a body. It is is an invented convenience that explains nothing about how such a thing (or such a nothing) might exist, or how it might interact with the physical universe of particles and force fields.
|Michael Nugent is Chair of Atheist Ireland|