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New Scientist offers a biological basis for free will



Not something that would have been happening in the days of radical materialism.

@proton Any reductionist system would tend to eliminate stuff which would hinder its ability to find a fitness landscape. That being said an illusion would not be helpful for finding a fitness landscape. Such an illusion would hinder our reflexes and remove us from the gene pool. Why would so many people above the fitness landscape have so few offspring? You just can't invoke a 1000 variable mechanistic explenation when the simplest one would be because he.she wanted to. Loghin
I just have a hard time believing free will is real, and I'm really surprised that so many people here believe in it. I'm forced to conclude that the only reason someone rational would believe in free will is because the Bible says so and they've become biased by it. I hope I'm not offending any Christians, and I'm completely open to changing my mind, if a good reason is provided. First an introduction: Hi everyone, I'm new to UD, college student of Food Technology and an agnostic theist. Now that I've clarified that... I'd really like someone to explain to me why they believe in free will outside of their religious beliefs. I mean, from only life experience and with no religious bias, can someone really conclude that free will is not just an illusion? How would they get to that conclusion? I mean, everywhere around us we see how people's decisions are ultimately affected by the place they were born, the health conditions under which they were born, the people that raised them, their early social interactions, their personalities, the school they went to, the friends they made, and overall their entire life experience, etc. So, if someone who has never read the Bible observes this world around them, why would they conclude free will exists? When I read things like this, I get the feeling that people want to believe in free will because they have an inherent need for divine vengeance. I mean, if someone hurt my loved ones, I'd want that person to be hurt too, but I understand that's just a human reaction, and I'd never wish that person to have an eternal punishment. However when I see this idea of "evil" and "divine punishmet" I feel people just want a reason to feel justice is real. I know there are many justifications for the desire to believe morality and justice exist, but leaving that "desire" aside, is there really a non-religious reason to believe in free will by just looking at the world around us? Since I discovered ID, I've become a bit more inclined to the Christian religion, however, I'll never believe in the Christian God as long as I think free will is not real. I may have a complete misunderstanding on free will but hope I get some answers because this is something that I'd genuinely want to learn about, as long as religion is left aside. Proton
Hi JDH, For me, the question of free will hinges mostly on clarifying our definitions. In my view, we each are thinking, choosing, deciding, believing, desiring, conscious, volitional agents, and that each of us is morally responsible for our actions. In my view also, we have no good reason to think that there is a sort of causality inside our heads that is ontologically different from that which occurs in the rest of the universe; we have no reason to say that mental cause transcends physical cause. I see no conflict among these views at all, so I'd be interested to see if you or other people could point out why my compatibilism is inconsistent. Cheers, RDFish RDFish
It never ceases to amaze me how many people can't understand ( or probably more accurately refuse to understand ) that it is a logical contradiction to state, "I don't believe in free will." What they really mean to say is... "Despite the logical contradiction, I choose to state, 'I don't believe in free will,' because my worldview contradicts the idea. To keep my worldview intact, even if it is illogical, is worth more to me than being logically consistent. This is because I am not willing to face the logically derived conclusions from the existence of free will. Namely, there is a God and He is my judge who will rightly hold me accountable for my thoughts, words, and actions." Of course they would never state this explicitly. JDH
Looks like a descendent of Darwin exercised her God given free will: Descendant of Charles Darwin becomes a Catholic apologist - By Ed West on Thursday, 13 June 2013 http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/06/13/descendant-of-darwin-becomes-a-catholic-apologist/ bornagain77
Who needs free will when you can do whatever you want without consequence? Mung
Yes of course that piqued my interest - momentarily - until I saw how they illustrate Freewill. They're still obsessed with neurological functions. When they can explain how we can entertain either Hope or Despair, I may take notice. But it ain't going to happen. Stephen Sparrow

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