Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor can’t understand how Darwinian biologist Jerry Coyne can use science to deny free will:
Someday, I predict, there will be a considerable psychiatric literature on the denial of free will. It’s essentially a delusion dressed up as science. To insist that your neurotransmitters completely control your choices is no different than insisting that your television or your iphone control your thoughts. It’s crazy.
Having gotten the neuroscience wrong, Coyne goes on to flub physics: “But to someone who’s science minded, determinism is the only game in town. Setting aside pure indeterminism—which would obtain if quantum processes affected our decisions—our choices and behaviors are the results of the laws of physics, and at any one time (leaving aside quantum factors) we could have made only one decision. – Jerry Coyne, “A very short story on (the absence of) free will” at Why Evolution Is True”
No. The laws of physics are indeterminate. This has been confirmed experimentally by the work of Aspect and others, based on Bell’s Theorem. Nature, at its most basic level, is indeterminate—the outcomes of quantum possibilities are not determined (at least not locally). – Mind Matters News
Egnor has taken issue with Coyne on a number of occasions in the past, for example:
Jerry Coyne hasn’t got a prayer: He understands neither natural theology nor natural science.
Why prayer is wise during a pandemic. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne thinks that only fools would pray about Coronavirus. He is wrong and here is why: If God is real, then prayer is probably the first thing you want to do in a crisis. A plea to the Boss is a fine preamble to the grunt work of managing a crisis. I’m a neurosurgeon, and I pray before each operation. It really helps.
9 Replies to “Michael Egnor: Jerry Coyne just can’t give up denying free will”
Jerry Coyne stated,
I can see why Jerry Coyne, an atheist, would want to be “leaving aside quantum factors”. It completely undermines his atheistic worldview from the inside out.
While ‘quantum indeterminism’ and/or ‘the uncertainty principle’ is certainly bad enough, in and of itself, for Darwinian atheists who would prefer to maintain a deterministic worldview in which the reality of free will did not exist,,,
While ‘quantum indeterminism’ and/or ‘the uncertainty principle’ is certainly bad enough for atheists, things have recently gotten far worse for Darwinian atheists in regards to ‘quantum factors’.
As Steven Weinberg, an atheist himself, states in the following 2017 article, “In the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,, the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.,,, In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure,,, Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,”
In fact Weinberg, again an atheist, rejected the instrumentalist approach precisely because “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level” and because it undermined the Darwinian worldview from within. Yet, regardless of how he and other atheists may prefer the world to behave, quantum mechanics itself could care less how atheists prefer the world to behave.
For instance, this recent 2019 experimental confirmation of the “Wigner’s Friend” thought experiment established that “measurement results,, must be understood relative to the observer who performed the measurement”.
Moreover, although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence” and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:
And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘free will loophole’ back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.
Thus regardless of how Steven Weinberg and other atheists such as Jerry Coyne would prefer the universe to behave, with the closing of the last remaining free will loophole in quantum mechanics, “humans are indeed brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level”, and thus these recent findings from quantum mechanics directly undermine, as Weinberg himself stated, the “vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”
Moreover allowing free will and/or Agent causality into the laws of physics at their most fundamental level has some fairly profound implications for us personally.
As leading experimentalist Anton Zeilinger states in the following video, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
As well, with contextuality we find that, “In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation”
Could Michael Egnor become an atheist by an effort of will?
Seversky, leaving aside the fact that your atheism is a hopelessly and utterly false worldview, what possible motivation would Dr. Egnor have to become an atheist? Is it the ‘charming’ hopeless nihilism inherent in your worldview that you find so becoming of your atheistic worldview?
@2 well if your right what’s the point of arguing about? No one can really choose to change and that’s a two way street. Further more very few will argue that your decisions aren’t influenced be the choice and other factors, if not, it’s not a choice, for the choice holds no value. Choices generally need value between to opposing factors
@ Coyne’s commentary
I noticed Coyne is a Wikipedia ninja, and obviously has nothing to do but waste people’s time with his bull and nonsense.
It’s really to bad the school wastes a salary on him for any reason
Sooo since the super star is ALL about quoting the research on freewill correctly from the endless scores of accurate information from the great and almighty Wikipedia that is never wrong, I shall help him by pointing out the many bits of research that he missed during his needless rant. I should give him some slack though, after all he can’t help being biased or dishonest, he never had a choice………..Nope, it’s a two ways street, I can’t help being an ass, neither can the rapist, or the murder, or any other but I digress.
So here’s a quick overview of all the things he decided to omit
1.) any research done by Alfred Mele, and criticisms on the topic, even Dennett criticizes
Libet’s experiments. Easy find under all experiments he mentions on the wiki
2. 60% average over all on the prediction experiments. Latest done in Australia on the visual cortex. Magicians can do better without a 250000 dollar piece of equipment and overpaid professionals, nice saying “not perfectly” so you don’t have to mention the numbers. But hey you get paid the big moneys to be inaccurate Mr. scientists man
3.) scores of new research outing all the above mentioned experiments putting them into question, due to bias, conflicting results, and even failed replication. There is a pair of free will researchers from New Zealand also conveniently not mentioned that directly contradicted prediction results and showed that the RP was present regardless of choice. Coyne also failed to mention the fact that all of the above experiments trying to predict your choice all used a binary choice hmmmmmmmmmm add, subtract, left, right, picture set 1 or 2
Kind of important when you’re trying to predict the flip of a “Coyne”
4.) He mentions nothing of Aaron Schurger’s results most recent experiment with RP. His experiments fixed the criticisms for most of the Libet paradigm, and his results condemned and debunked almost all of the interpretations of Libet’s experiments that Coyne supports
5.) John Dylan Hanes “point of no return” mentioned right on the wiki where Coyne’s endless knowledge on the topic springs. It’s confirmed experimental evidence of free won’t. As it was put we have freedom in degrees
So I guess Coyne could be right, but why believe him not like he can help telling you the truth
But remember there’s no such thing as truth is there’s no such thing as free well it’s just the results of your unfortunate chemistry neurobiology and physics so Coyne really honestly who the hell gives a shit if this is what your opinion is actually composed of.
By the way there is also experimental evidence showing proving people don’t have free will has ill effect on them with a few experiments that claim it might not
In most cases it really hurts somebody to convince them that they have no control over their choice but you can’t help that not to consider other people you’re just a jerk that can’t help himself
And since nobody else can help themselves why does Coyne care if anybody agrees with him? It’s not like his perspective is going to help anyone, why try to help somebody in prison they have something wrong with them that they can’t fixed, neither can you. You might as well just put them down, it’ll save time, money, and resources
By the way there’s tons of research showing that when somebody believes that they can’ control their choices, they recover quicker or they change their behaviors but again the Coyne don’t care about that
And if you wonder why I care about it so much, here’s why I am excessive compulsive, I struggle with it in a day-to-day basis and I came real close to committing suicide, and it was philosophy like Coyne’s that really pushed me over the edge. Taught me everything was hopeless. It sent me into a depression that I haven’t truly recovered from 100% and it lasted for years.
So take a hike Coyne!
Disclaimer: All rage, hate, and sarcasm is directly solely and only at Coyne, none was directed at Seversky for number 2.
I also apologize to anyone else I am sorry I wasn’t able to fix it before the time ran out
Folks, attempting to deny significant human freedom is tantamount to denying human rationality and responsibility. KF
Jerry Coyne has claimed that, “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
My Junior High School English teacher, Mrs. Hastings, would have had a fit if Jerry Coyne had written that sentence in her class.
When it comes to writing blatantly self-refuting sentences, Jerry Coyne does not stop with free will, Jerry Coyne also holds that our sense of self is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ and writes this beauty of a self-refuting sentence,,,,
Again, poor Mrs. Hastings would have been beside herself if Jerry Coyne had written that sentence in her class.
The claim that free will and consciousness are illusions is simply insane,
But alas, Jerry Coyne simply can’t help himself. I’m sure that he does not want to write blatantly self-refuting sentences, it is that Coyne’s atheistic materialism, which he refuses to question, forces him into writing such blatantly self-refuting sentences.
In fact, besides Consciousness and Free Will being illusions, Coyne’s atheistic materialism forces him into claiming that many other things are illusions.
Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.
Of related interest to the fact that Darwinian atheists have no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to, advances in quantum mechanics have now falsified Coyne’s atheistic materialism. Quantum mechanics simply debunks Coyne’s atheistic materialism at every turn,
In fact, quantum mechanics has now falsified ‘realism’, which is the belief that material reality exists apart from our conscious observation of it.
The following experiment found that “Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it.”
And the following Delayed Choice experiment, which was done with atoms instead of photons, proved that, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” and “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,”,,,
Besides Quantum Mechanics, via the falsification of ‘realism’, falsifying Coyne’s atheistic materialism, Darwnian Materialists, in their claim that consciousness in merely a ‘neuronal illusion’, have forsaken any ability that they may have had to try to define what ‘reality’ actually is in the first place.
Simply put, if consciousness is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’, as Coyne holds, then there can be no proper description of reality that anyone can possibly put forth.
Eugene Wigner, who was a leading pioneer in the field of quantum mechanics, put the situation as such,
As well, Max Planck and Erwin Schroedinger, who are also founding pioneers of quantum mechanics, are both also on record in regards to holding consciousness itself to be a fundamental prerequisite in any coherent definition of reality that we may try to put forth.
Of related interest to properly differentiating what is real from what is illusory, here is a very interesting piece of evidence. Materialistic researchers who had a bias against Near Death Experiences being real, set out to prove that they were merely ‘products of imagination’’ by setting up a clever questionnaire that could differentiate which memories a person had were real and which memories a person had were merely imaginary.
Simply put, they did not expect the results they got. To quote the headline of the article ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real”
And now my question to Atheistic materialists, such as Jerry Coyne, is this, “how in blue blazes is it even possible for something to become even ‘more real than real’ in your materialistic worldview when you guys claim that consciousness itself is merely a neuronal illusion of the material brain?
Of course, since Coyne unquestionably accepts Darwinian materialism as being true, regardless of what the scientific evidence says to the contrary, Coyne’s knee jerk reaction is to deny the validity of Near Death Experiences. Yet, the scientific evidence for the validity of Near Death Experiences is far more robust than the evidence for Darwinian evolution is,
Moreover, as the following video highlights, the physical reality of ‘immaterial’ quantum information, that is now found to be ubiquitous within molecular biology, directly supports the physical reality of the immaterial soul:
As Stuart Hameroff states in the following article: “the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed, it’s possible that this (conserved) quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
Moreover, as is shown in the following video, atheists also have no scientific evidence for all the various extra dimensions, parallel universe and/or multiverse scenarios that they have put forth to try to ‘explain away’ the beginning, fine-tuning, and quantum nature of the universe,,
Whereas Christians, on the other hand, (as is shown in the following video), can appeal directly to the higher dimensional mathematics behind Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity, (which are, by far, our strongest theories in science), to support, number one, their belief that God upholds the universe in its continual existence, as well as to support, number 2, their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension.
Thus, the Christian can rest assured that the most powerful theories in science today, i.e. Quantum
Mechanics, and General and Special Relativity, respectfully, strongly support his belief in God and also strongly support his belief in an afterlife. Whereas atheists, on the other hand, besides being contradicted by the science at every turn, are found to be adrift in an ocean of illusion and fantasy with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to. Again, it would hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than atheistic materialism has turned out to be,
Did any of them ever think that when they say “we can’t hold someone responsible for their actions it was only choice they could have made” that you can’t hold the people that hold others responsible form their actions, because it was the only choice they could make