The answer is “yes.” However, science will not be able to come to this conclusion until it straddles the challenge of understanding consciousness itself. Since human consciousness is subjective and personal, it cannot be studied objectively. Yet, nothing is more real or closer to each one of us than our conscious experience.
Whether you believe that evolution is a chance and serendipitous outcome or the outcome of a metaphysical and divine design, evolution shows us a trajectory towards increased complexity, increased intelligence, and increased consciousness. If we follow this trajectory to its logical conclusion, then evolution will continue to increase consciousness.
This means that further human progress will be made in the increased complexity and structure of an individual’s mental world.
This brings human free will and “choice” into the equation because we form our opinions and belief systems based on what we value most. A person’s intellect is structured around values (which science generally shies away from). Instinctively, we all know that some values are nobler than others—like being a caring, selfless and good person. We know this to be true because even a selfish person will put real effort into making others believe that they are a good person and an outstanding citizen.
Values are emotional. They deal with issues of the heart and one’s conscience. Yet, these emotional principles have the power to adapt our ideas and understanding to their own disposition (neuroscience is moving in the direction that feelings are of fundamental importance to the structure of our memory, ideas and understanding).
The ultimate purpose of religion is to teach the heart. In other words, religion is designed to offer stimulus for the continued development of creatures that enjoy a special level of intelligence and consciousness. If the increasing complexity of human thought represents non-material or non-physical structure, then true religion acts as a blueprint, by which, the process of evolution can lawfully be extended into a realm devoid of the constraints of time and space.
Such non-physical evolution, driven by higher values, would imply that the human race was designed to become angels of heaven. This will be a topic of growing interest in the 21st Century!
I offer additional rational evidence and details concerning a new theistic model of evolution (with explanatory and predictive powers) in my latest book Proving God. See http://www.provinggod.com