Intelligent Design

Free Will & The Irrational Nonsense That is Physicalism

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In another thread, Seversky complains:

And it’s irrational nonsense to deny that much of who and what you are was determined by past events of which you were unaware and over which you had no control. What you inherited from your parent’s genes and the formative influences of childhood and adolescence means you, like everyone else, are a product of history. You can’t change that so the question becomes, to what extent can you be said to have free will.

Seversky makes an argument based on false assumptions and misrepresentations that don’t characterize either side of the argument properly. He is simply attempting to word-smith a collection of phrases (like so many other physicalists here) that build nothing more than a rhetorical case without any meaningful foundation whatsoever. Like rvb8 who put together the collection of sentences that made no sense whatsoever which caused this interchange, Seversky relies on throwing out an ill-considered word salad to gain some traction.

First and foremost, Seversky looks at the non-physicalist side through a physicalist lens, as if he can put himself in the shoes of those he is arguing against. He seems to think that it is a necessary non-physicalist position to hold that we did not choose the situation we are born into, and did not choose the circumstances of our life – including our gender, sexual orientation, parents, society, physical characteristics, etc; the problem is, that is precisely what many non-physicalists believe. There are many spiritual doctrines that assert we deliberately come to this world and enter the circumstances of our life in order to learn or help others, among other things. This is in fact what I personally believe.

Second, given that many here do not believe that, Seversky has still mistakenly confused the physicalist “I” for the non-physicalist “I” in that he characterizes our physical attributes and circumstances as being a significant portion of one’s “I” that we do not have any control over. I don’t know of many non-physicalists who consider they physical properties or predilections of their physical being to be a significant aspect of their “I”. Rather, it is the quality of one’s character and the direction of one’s conscious will that many non-physicalists hold as the essence of one’s being. In other words, what Seversky claims it would be “irrational” for a non-materialist to think (based on itour physicality being a significant aspect of our “self” that we “have no control over”) is a position that has nothing whatsoever to do with any facts about any particular or general non-materialist position or view. It’s an entirely invented view of non-materialists.

Third, Seversky make a case that “many aspects of our self” are generated by historical lineages of physics and chemistry (when you boil it down), and then says that the question is “how much free will do we have”, when under physicalism there is no such thing (other than word-salad rhetorical redefinitions of the term). Seversky and rvb8 would have no free will at all; everything they say and do will have been determined by ongoing sequences of cause and effect via chemistry and physics. Yet, as I have pointed out here before, they argue as if and imply as if we all have some kind of capacity to override those processes and make decisions and come to conclusions based on an objective evaluation of logic and evidence rather than a happenstance effect of chemical interactions operating entirely below our awareness.

This is the kind of irrational nonsense you get when you cling to a worldview that logically obliterates rational discourse.

16 Replies to “Free Will & The Irrational Nonsense That is Physicalism

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    And then there’s the physicalist who denies that she is a physicalist.

  2. 2
    daveS says:

    WJM,

    He seems to think that it is a necessary non-physicalist position to hold that we did not choose the situation we are born into, and did not choose the circumstances of our life – including our gender, sexual orientation, parents, society, physical characteristics, etc; the problem is, that is precisely what many non-physicalists believe.

    I’m having trouble with this; are the bolded parts supposed to be “did”?

    Nevermind, I think I get it now.

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    Seversky: And it’s irrational nonsense to deny that much of who and what you are was determined by past events of which you were unaware and over which you had no control.

    Question for Seversky:
    Is there a part of you which is NOT determined by past events? Or do you hold that all your actions and all your thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before you were born?

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Are we self-moved, responsibly and rationally free beings?

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As to trying to provide actual scientific evidence for their belief that they have no free will, but are merely just victims of their baser impulses, i.e. automatons, atheists will often invoke the experiments of Benjamin Libet from 1983. Yet Libet himself was a strong defender of free will:

    Do Benjamin Libet’s Experiments Show that Free Will Is an Illusion? – Michael Egnor – January 15, 2014
    Excerpt: Materialists often invoke the experiments of Benjamin Libet when they deny free will.,,,
    (Yet) Libet himself was a strong defender of free will, and he interpreted his own experiments as validating free will. He noted that his subjects often vetoed the unconscious “decision” after the readiness potential appeared.
    ,,,”The role of conscious free will would be, then, not to initiate a voluntary act, but rather to control whether the act takes place. We may view the unconscious initiatives for voluntary actions as ‘bubbling up’ in the brain. The conscious-will then selects which of these initiatives may go forward to an action or which ones to veto and abort, with no act appearing.” – Libet
    Libet even observed that his experimental confirmation of free will accorded with the traditional religious understanding of free will:,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81171.html

    Moreover, despite the widespread false belief that Libet himself supported a ‘deterministic brain’, the experimental work of Libet, that materialists had often invoked to support a ‘deterministic brain’, has now been reexamined in finer experimental detail and found to be contrary to the deterministic claims that atheists had placed on Libet’s experimental work:

    Brain might not stand in the way of free will – August 2012
    Excerpt: “Libet argued that our brain has already decided to move well before we have a conscious intention to move,” says Schurger. “We argue that what looks like a pre-conscious decision process may not in fact reflect a decision at all. It only looks that way because of the nature of spontaneous brain activity.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....-will.html

    Random Brain Waves Save Free Will? – November 15, 2013
    Excerpt: A new paper adds to the perennial free will debate, by casting doubt on the famous Libet experiment. Back in 1983, neuroscientists led by Benjamin Libet found that, about two seconds before someone presses a button ‘of their own free will’, a negative electrical potential – dubbed the Readiness Potential (RP) – began to build up in the cortex. Their EEG study showed that the brain seemed to have ‘decided’ before the conscious mind did – bad news for free will.
    Since then, the meaning of the RP has been extensively debated. But the new study by Han-Gue Jo and colleagues of Freiburg makes a strong case that the “RP” is not really a ‘thing’ at all.
    They say that, in the two seconds before a button press, you see both negative and positive changes, in roughly equal numbers. There are slightly more negative ones, so on average, there is a small negative “RP”, but only on average. Almost half the button presses were not preceded by a negative potential, yet the button still got pressed – which means that the negative “RP” can’t directly reflect the decision to press.,,,
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......free-will/

    Do we have free will? Researchers test mechanisms involved in decision-making – January 4, 2016
    Excerpt: Back (in the 1980s), the American researcher Benjamin Libet studied the nature of cerebral processes of study participants during conscious decision-making. He demonstrated that conscious decisions were initiated by unconscious brain processes, and that a wave of brain activity referred to as a ‘readiness potential’ could be recorded even before the subject had made a conscious decision.
    ,,, Until now, the existence of such preparatory brain processes has been regarded as evidence of ‘determinism’, according to which free will is nothing but an illusion, meaning our decisions are initiated by unconscious brain processes, and not by our ‘conscious self’. ,,,
    Using state-of-the-art measurement techniques, the researchers tested whether people are able to stop planned movements once the readiness potential for a movement has been triggered.
    “The aim of our research was to find out whether the presence of early brain waves means that further decision-making is automatic and not under conscious control, or whether the person can still cancel the decision, i.e. use a ‘veto’,” explains Prof. Haynes. ,,,
    “A person’s decisions are not at the mercy of unconscious and early brain waves. They are able to actively intervene in the decision-making process and interrupt a movement,” says Prof. Haynes. “Previously people have used the preparatory brain signals to argue against free will. Our study now shows that the freedom is much less limited than previously thought.
    http://m.medicalxpress.com/new.....aking.html

    Moreover, besides atheists having their primary piece of experimental evidence overturned, Theists have strong experimental support for their claim that we do have free will.

    For example, in direct contradiction to the atheistic claim that our thoughts are merely the result of whatever state our material brain happens to be in, ‘Brain Plasticity’, the ability to alter the structure of the brain from a person’s focused intention, has now been established by Jeffrey Schwartz, as well as among other researchers.

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz’s work) – Oct. 2014 – video
    The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70

    The Case for the Soul: Quantum Biology – (7:25 minute mark – Brain Plasticity and Mindfulness control of DNA expression)
    https://youtu.be/6_xEraQWvgM?t=446

    Moreover, as alluded to in the preceding video, and completely contrary to materialistic thought, mind has been now also been shown to be able to reach all the way down and have pronounced, ‘epigenetic’, effects on the gene expression of our bodies:

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    Thus clearly, since we are shown to have a pronounced effect on the gene expression of our bodies by ‘mindfulness’, then we are not such helpless victims of our genes as atheists have maintained for decades.

    Moreover, besides the preceding experimental work on the brain and body showing the causal power of mind over the brain and body, the Theist can also appeal to experimental work in quantum mechanics.

    What Does Quantum Physics Have to Do with Free Will? – By Antoine Suarez – July 22, 2013
    Excerpt: What is more, recent experiments are bringing to light that the experimenter’s free will and consciousness should be considered axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory. So for instance, in experiments involving “entanglement” (the phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), to conclude that quantum correlations of two particles are nonlocal (i.e. cannot be explained by signals traveling at velocity less than or equal to the speed of light), it is crucial to assume that the experimenter can make free choices, and is not constrained in what orientation he/she sets the measuring devices.
    To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time.,,,
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/what-does-quantum-physics-have-do-free-will

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    The following experiment is a prime example of free will’s primacy in quantum mechanics. In the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is directly falsified by the fact that present conscious choices in how to set up an experiment are, in fact, effecting past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices of how to set up an experiment instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past? This experiment is simply impossible for any coherent materialistic presupposition that holds that my current thoughts are merely the result of the particles of my brain in the past!

    Moreover, in the following video, at the 37:00 minute mark, Anton Zeilinger, a leading researcher in quantum mechanics with many breakthroughs under his belt, humorously reflects on just how deeply determinism has been undermined by quantum mechanics by saying such a deep lack of determinism in quantum mechanics may provide some of us a loop hole when they meet God on judgment day.

    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    Here is a relevant experiment on how quantum randomness undermines ‘realism’. (realism is the belief that material reality exists prior to our conscious observation of it)

    Historic Delft Experiments tests Einstein’s ‘God does not play dice’ using quantum ‘dice’ – October 21, 2015
    Excerpt: When measured, the Delft electrons did indeed appear individually random while agreeing very well. So well, in fact, that they cannot have had pre-existing orientations, as realism claims.,,,
    There’s no way out, and local realism is disproven.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2015-10-h.....-dice.html

    As well, due to these advances in quantum mechanics, the materialists is now forced to claim that our free will choices, instead of being determined by our brain, as atheists had originally claimed, is now forced to claim that our choices were somehow ‘superdetermined’ all the way back at the Big Bang:

    But why is the quantum world thought spooky anyway? – September 1, 2015
    Excerpt: Zeilinger also notes that there remains one last, somewhat philosophical loophole, first identified by Bell himself: the possibility that hidden variables could somehow manipulate the experimenters’ choices of what properties to measure, tricking them into thinking quantum theory is correct.,,,
    Leifer is less troubled by this ‘freedom-of-choice loophole’, however. “It could be that there is some kind of superdeterminism, so that the choice of measurement settings was determined at the Big Bang,” he says. “We can never prove that is not the case, so I think it’s fair to say that most physicists don’t worry too much about this.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ky-anyway/

    To say that the claim for unfalsifiable ‘superdeterminism’ at the Big Bang is a desperate attempt by atheists to deny their own free will would be an insult to the many desperate, even insane, attempts by atheists, thus far, to deny God and the reality of their own free will.

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Moreover, having our free will choices ‘superdetermined’ at the Big Bang sounds VERY similar to the perennial free will vs. God’s sovereignty debate between Christians. Specifically the centuries old debate between Calvinists and Arminians.

    Why I Am Not an Arminian
    http://www.ligonier.org/blog/w.....-arminian/

    Myself, since I hold a very high view of God’s sovereignty, then I personally lean heavily towards Calvinism being, for the most part, true. But, on the other hand, I’m certainly not going to hold it against a brother in Christ who leans towards the ‘personal responsibility’ side of the debate. In fact, unless some ‘personal responsibility’ is in play, then the Arminian is more than justified in his claim that God would have no moral right to send souls to hell. And I would have to agree, by the force of his logic, that the Arminian is right on that point.

    But anyways, here is an excellent sermon by Tim Keller that gets the Calvinist’s ‘God is omniscient we are not’ position across very well.

    Does God Control Everything? – Tim Keller – (God’s sovereignty, evil, and our free will, how do they mesh? Short answer? God’s Omniscience!) – video (12:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/MDbKCZodtZI?t=727

    Of related interest, at around the 15:00 – 17:00 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience testimony, Dr. Mary Neal spoke about how she, when in the presence of God, and from being able to see things from that much higher ‘omniscient’ perspective, finally understood why God allows evil in the world (i.e. she finally ‘got it’) and understood how our limited perspective of ‘evil’ in this world severely clouds our judgment and our reactions to those ‘evil’ tragedies in the world and in our personal lives.

    Dr. Mary Neal’s Near-Death Experience – (Life review portion starts at the 13:00 minute mark) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHXW1erHMtg

    Verse:

    Romans 8:28
    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    As to Dr. Zeilinger’s ‘loophole on judgment day’ quip, personally I feel that such a deep undermining of determinism by quantum mechanics, far from providing a ‘loop hole’ on judgment day, as Dr. Zeilinger had stated in the video I referenced previously, actually restores free will to its rightful place in the grand scheme of things, thus making God’s final judgments on men’s souls all the more fully binding since man truly is a ‘free moral agent’ to the infinite extent possibly allowed by quantum mechanics.

    It is important to point out that although free will is often looked at of as allowing someone to choose between a veritable infinity of options, that ‘infinity of options’ is not really how free will works out.

    In a theistic view of reality that veritable infinity of options all boils down to just two options in the end.

    In the end it all boils down to eternal life, (infinity if you will), with God, or eternal life, (infinity again if you will), without God.

    C.S. Lewis puts that narrowing down of an infinity of options to just two options like this:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    And exactly as would be expected on the Christian view of reality, we find two very different eternities in reality. A ‘infinitely’ destructive eternity that is associated with General Relativity and an extremely orderly eternity that is associated with Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and the Big Bang:

    Special Relativity and General Relativity, Heaven and Hell
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit

    Verse and Music:

    John 3:17-19
    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

    Evanescence – The Other Side (Lyric Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiIvtRg7-Lc

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Origenes @ 3

    Question for Seversky:
    Is there a part of you which is NOT determined by past events? Or do you hold that all your actions and all your thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before you were born?

    We appear to be embedded in a contingent universe, inextricably linked to chains of cause and effect stretching back into the past as far as the eye can see. Only if some element of acausality exists, perhaps at the quantum level, can there be the possibility of breaking free of those chains.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 4

    Are we self-moved, responsibly and rationally free beings?

    It certainly feels like we are and I would prefer to think that we are. But can we deny that we are also contingent beings existing in a contingent universe?

  10. 10
    Origenes says:

    Seversky @8,

    Seversky: We appear to be embedded in a contingent universe, inextricably linked to chains of cause and effect stretching back into the past as far as the eye can see. Only if some element of acausality exists, perhaps at the quantum level, can there be the possibility of breaking free of those chains.

    Do you agree with Van Inwagen that such elements of acausality cannot contribute to freedom of choice?

    Let us look carefully at the consequences of supposing that human behavior is undetermined …
    Let us suppose that there is a certain current-pulse that is proceeding along one of the neural pathways in Jane’s brain and that it is about to come to a fork. And let us suppose that if it goes to the left, she will make her confession;, and that if it goes to the right, she will remain silent. And let us suppose that it is undetermined which way the pulse goes when it comes to the fork: even an omniscient being with a complete knowledge of the state of Jane’s brain and a complete knowledge of the laws of physics and unlimited powers of calculation could say no more than: ‘The laws and present state of her brain would allow the pulse to go either way; consequently, no prediction of what the pulse will do when it comes to the fork is possible; it might go to the left, and it might go to the right, and that’s all there is to be said.’
    Now let us ask: does Jane have any choice about whether the pulse goes to the left or to the right? If we think about this question for a moment, we shall see that it is very hard to see how she could have any choice about that.
    …There is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other. Or, at least, there is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other and leave the ‘choice’ it makes an undetermined event.”
    [Van Inwagen]

  11. 11
    JDH says:

    So let me get this straight Seversky – you think there is no evidence for breaks in this link of cause and effect.

    I will bet you don’t live consistently with that philosophy.

    I will bet that you think you actually make decisions based on evidence. SO I ask you…

    1. Do you claim that a person can change his mind about an issue by CHOOSING to READ information and finding the position which best fits the evidence?

    2. Do you realize that answering YES to the above claim implies that a person is a free moral agent who can break those “…chains of cause and effect”?

    Otherwise please explain how you can subscribe to #1 but reject #2.

  12. 12
    aarceng says:

    Don’t blame Seversky. he didn’t choose to write that.

  13. 13

    Seversky said:

    It certainly feels like we are and I would prefer to think that we are.

    Feelings and preferences require no rational basis or support.

    But can we deny that we are also contingent beings existing in a contingent universe?

    Many spiritual doctrines holds that the essence of our being is that of god itself, so it depends on how you are defining the term “being”. Yes, our physical nature is contingent, but I (like many others) hold that our souls or spiritual essence is eternal and non-contingent.

  14. 14

    Seversky said:

    We appear to be embedded in a contingent universe, inextricably linked to chains of cause and effect stretching back into the past as far as the eye can see. Only if some element of acausality exists, perhaps at the quantum level, can there be the possibility of breaking free of those chains.

    Breaking free of the chains of causality is not enough by itself to provide free will; will must itself be an acausal cause in order for “free will” to be anything more than word salad meant to disquise physical determinism, a determinism which would exist even if some actions are determined by random acausal events.

    In order for you to consider your contributions here to be anything other than the markings produced by happenstance interactions of chemistry and physics, you necessarily imply that you have free will. In order for you to logically justify the expectation that we who are reading your words can objectively consider your argument and evidence and override the happenstance interactions of chemistry and physics to adopt a new view based on that argument and evidence, you are necessarily implying that we have free will.

    There is no escaping the logical need for a willful, acausal free will metaphysical power to direct physical events in this world. It either exists, or you forfeit all claim to rational capacity and all your arguments have become absurd.

    It’s like using the English language to make your case and then denying that you are using it, instead insisting it is only the illusion of English. You are directly contradicting your view with every intelligible word you write and every time you expect anyone to be able to rationally consider and act upon it.

  15. 15
    Origenes says:

    Seversky:

    KF: Are we self-moved, responsibly and rationally free beings?

    It certainly feels like we are and I would prefer to think that we are. But can we deny that we are also contingent beings existing in a contingent universe?

    [emphasis Origenes]

    The problem with your position is that there is no “ALSO”. Given naturalism, there is not one single part of you that is capable of free choice, responsibility and rationality.

    Everything about you is either the consequence of events and laws of nature in the remote past before you were born or undetermined events (see #10, Van Inwagen).

    You have no control over circumstances that existed in the remote past before you were born, nor do you have any control over the laws of nature, nor do you have any control over undetermined events (see #10, Van Inwagen).

    If A causes B, and you have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then you have no control over B.

    Therefore

    You have no control over your own actions and thoughts.

    Therefore, assuming that rationality requires control,

    You are not rational.

  16. 16
    Charles says:

    Seversky hopes: “…Only if some element of acausality exists, perhaps at the quantum level, can there be the possibility of breaking free of those chains.”

    The problem with that hope is that quantum events are indistinguisable from random events, insofar as they are unpredictable. We know they happen, but we can’t predict which will happen when or where. This quantum randomness is the basis for quantum random number generators.

    The problem for Seversky’s hope then, is that neither his nor our thinking is random at any level, and being emdedded in a universe of random quantum events impinging on his brain and consciousness, hasn’t prevented either his brain or consciousness from functioning in a non-random, willfull, fashion.

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