Darwinism Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

New Scientist asks if we have free will

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Of course we do but bear with the pop science Darwin fans for a moment:

WHAT are you doing right now? Reading these words. Why? Presumably because you chose to. Even if you didn’t – if you are encountering them years in the future lining a forgotten box of crockery in the attic, say – you can always choose to look away now. You possess the nebulous quality of human free will.

Nebulous because, despite debating it for millennia, philosophers have been unable to pin it down – and although we are pretty convinced we have it, at some level it must be an illusion, rather like our sense of self is (see “Are you always the same person?”).

Richard Webb, “Do we have free will or are all our decisions predetermined?” at New Scientist

As Michael Egnor says, that way lies totalitarianism:

No free will means no justice: “Free will is the cornerstone of all human rights and the cornerstone of our Constitutional rights. The denial of free will is, literally, the denial of human freedom. Without free will, we are livestock, without the presumption of innocence, without actual innocence, and without rights. A justice system that has no respect for free will—a justice system in which human choices are diseases— is a system of livestock management applied to homo sapiens.”

Are New Scientist types happy with that?

See also: How can we believe in naturalism if we have no choice?

6 Replies to “New Scientist asks if we have free will

  1. 1
    DaRook says:

    Sabine Hossenfelder has an interesting video entitled: “You don’t have free will, but don’t worry.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpU_e3jh_FY

  2. 2
    Eugene says:

    > Without free will, we are livestock

    This is a very strange conclusion. Livestock (as any other conscious creature) most certainly have free will.
    Free will is part of consciousness. Unfortunately we don’t know what consciousness is.

  3. 3
    BobRyan says:

    The Soviet’s claimed there was no free will. Everything that was done was nothing more then chemical reactions in the brain. If there is no free will, as the Soviets believed at the highest levels of their thugocracy, then they should have created a nation with no laws. Every law written was an action of free will meant to impose limitations on the free will of humans. There were no laws making it illegal for any animal to do anything. If humans are nothing more than animals, why create laws that go against our nature?

    Laws only matter if free will exists. One cannot expect a law to be followed without the belief in free will of those it is written to limit.

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    Nonsense. The purpose of “rights” was to give unconstrained power to bullies and psychopaths under the fraudulent pretense of “democracy”. We’re seeing the endgame now.

    The people who designed the “rights” crap were working for aristocrats, serving their ends. Locke was a DOCTOR in the household of an aristocrat. Marat was a DOCTOR. Hint: What are DOCTORS doing this year?

  5. 5
    AaronS1978 says:

    I strongly suggest that everybody takes a look at their stuff
    https://neurophil-freewill.org/
    It’s run by John Templeton and it has all the big name neuroscientists that are searching for an answer here (not the Wannabes like Sam “career atheist” Harris, I’m talking about people like Patrick Haggard, John Dylan Haynes, and Aaron Schurger)

    New Scientist has obviously lost their mind especially in the more current post about aliens making our sense of self

    So check them out

    And honestly I’m really shocked that we don’t just keep a better eye on this. As it is directly testing free will. I would figure at least a Michael Egnor would have huge interest in this

    They are trying to answer the question that the author above says we haven’t been able to pin down for a Millennia

  6. 6
    mike1962 says:

    If we didn’t have free will to some degree, nobody would ask if we had free will, because there would be no such concept.

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