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Oddly, new atheists have not killed off free will?

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Not for lack of trying. From The Guardian:

Men and women aren’t authors of themselves, as a character in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus remarks of its proud protagonist, but neither are they slaves of their genes. When Richard Dawkins describes human beings as “survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes”, his language is redolent of neoliberal capitalism as well as the scientist’s laboratory. To see people in this demeaning way is simply the flipside of the idealising talk of pure autonomy. If the former captures something of the bleak reality of the marketplace, the latter belongs to the heady rhetoric that helps to legitimate it.

Some neuroscientists imagine they have dispatched the idea of freedom to the outer darkness by mapping the unconscious processes underlying our conscious decisions. If they were not so allergic to Freud, who speaks of unconscious intentions, they might recognise that this is as much stale news as many another supposedly novel insight. Anyway, as this book asks, why should free choices be exclusively conscious ones? A great many factors conspire to shape our decisions, some rational and some emotional, some cultural and some temperamental, some conscious and some not. More.

See also: I will means something after all

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

God knows are choices, since God knows our choices our choices exist. Its a self refuted argument. There is no way to be a Materialist and have free will, only if you are an Atheist Dualist you can have free will but a Godless Dualism leads inevitably to Solipsism. JimFit
Thanks for the radio links, BA77. I hadn't thought of their appropriateness for Easter. Axel
Axel and wallstreeter: Turin Shroud: A Relic of the Resurrection? - Saturday 4th April 2015 - Radio program http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Easter-Holiday/Episodes/Turin-Shroud-A-Relic-of-the-Resurrection Unbelievable? Is the Turin Shroud the burial cloth of Christ? Alan Whanger vs Hugh Farey - Saturday 4th April 2015 - Radio debate http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Is-the-Turin-Shroud-the-burial-cloth-of-Christ-Alan-Whanger-vs-Hugh-Farey bornagain77
Actually, an omniscient God who knows the future is what kills off any prospect of free will.
That would be true if God's foreknowledge determined a person's actions, but it's the other way around: the person's free actions are what determine God's foreknowledge. phoenix
Axel, thanks for that link to testimonies of Jewish believers in Messiah. A fitting link this Passover/Easter Saturday. bornagain77
Only marginally less fascinating than NDEs, wallstreeter, and just as engaging, are Christian conversion stories. I came across these brief but heart-warming video accounts by some Jewish people of their conversions to Christianity: http://www.imetmessiah.com/index.php#tm-top-b Axel
Nice post on the shroud B, especially the Antonacci paper. He is starting to get a lot of respect around shroud circles . What's ironic is that he originally was out to debunk the shroud as an unbeliever and came back a Christian after 25 years. We can also make a case for the soul and after life from nde's as the research points powerfully against the brain being the mind. For the agnostics out there "seek and you shall find" wallstreeter43
The Case for the Soul: Refuting Physicalist Objections - video Computers vs. Qualia, Libet and 'Free won't', Split Brain (unified attention of brain despite split hemispheres, visual and motion information is shared between the two hemispheres despite the hemispheres being split), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB5TNrtu9Pk bornagain77
Moreover, as would be expected if General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (QED) were truly unified in the resurrection of Christ from death, the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process:
Shroud Of Turin - Photographic Negative - 3D Quantum Hologram - The Lamb - video https://vimeo.com/122495080 The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008 Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril. http://cab.unime.it/journals/index.php/AAPP/article/view/C1A0802004/271 “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.” Kevin Moran – optical engineer Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011 Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists. However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax. Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic. “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said. And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-say-turin-shroud-is-supernatural-6279512.html The Center Of The Universe Is Life (i.e. is Jesus Christ)! - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://vimeo.com/34084462
Personally, considering the extreme difficulty that many brilliant minds have had in trying to reconcile Quantum Mechanics/Special relativity(QED), with Gravity, as the 'Bohemian Gravity' video I cited illustrated, I consider the preceding ‘quantum’ nuance on the Shroud of Turin to be a subtle, but powerful, evidence substantiating Christ’s primary claim as to being our Savior from sin, death, and hell: Verses and Music:
Colossians 1:15-20 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Evanescence – The Other Side (Lyric Video) http://www.vevo.com/watch/evanescence/the-other-side-lyric-video/USWV41200024?source=instantsearch
Supplemental notes: Denying free will leads to epistemological failure:
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/2012/11/sam_harriss_fre066221.html
Moreover, agent causality is vastly superior in explanatory power to the 'it just happens' blind causality of atheists:
A Professor's Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist - University of Wyoming - J. Budziszewski Excerpt page12: "There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition. If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don't know. "But there is gravity," you say. No, "gravity" is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. "But there are laws of gravity," you say. No, the "laws" are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term "laws"; they prefer "lawlike regularities." To call the equations of gravity "laws" and speak of the apple as "obeying" them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the "laws" of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more. The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn't trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn't have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place." http://www.undergroundthomist.org/sites/default/files/WhyIAmNotAnAtheist.pdf BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010 Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,, Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,, Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/1/hawking-irrational-arguments/
Seversky at 1, without empirical evidence, states that:
"Actually, an omniscient God who knows the future is what kills off any prospect of free will."
And exactly how does someone, in this case God, knowing the future compel someone else to do something against their will. That is a non-sequitur argument! If I knew you would do something in the future it does not necessarily follow that I caused you to do that something. It only means that I had knowledge of you doing that something. There is no direct connection of me knowing what you will do to actually connect me to you doing what you do in the future. In the same way God, although he knows the future of each and every one of us perfectly well, grants us maximum freedom to make our own choices as to whether we will accept Him or reject Him (and even the infinite variety of free will choices of whether we will choose to raise our right hand or our left hand, or eat chocolate or vanilla ice cream, or etc.. etc..). Moreover, free will being real is not just a overwhelmingly logical conclusion, but this 'maximum freedom' we have is backed up by physics: 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 may provide some of us 'a loop hole' when they meet God on judgment day, since, according to Zeilinger's conception of God, not even God could know the infinite randomeness associate with quantum mechanics.
Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT - 2011 - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw
Here are a few background notes to give us a small glimpse into how Zeilinger may have been thinking:
In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2001-02/NS-Tmoq-1302101.php People Keep Making Einstein’s (Real) Greatest Blunder – July 2011 Excerpt: It was in these debates (with Bohr) that Einstein declared his real greatest blunder: “God does not play dice with the Universe.” As much as we all admire Einstein,, ,, don’t keep making his (real) greatest blunder. I’ll leave the last word to Bohr, who allegedly said, “Don’t tell God what to do with his dice.” ,,, To clarify, it isn’t simply that there’s randomness; that at some level, “God plays dice.” Even local, real interpretations of quantum mechanics with hidden variables can do that. It’s that we know something about the type of dice that the Universe plays. And the dice cannot be both local and real; people claiming otherwise have experimental data to answer to. http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2011/07/01/people-keep-making-einsteins-g/
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 stated, actually restores free will to its rightful place in the grand scheme of things, thus making almighty God’s final judgments on men’s souls all the more fully binding since man truly is a ‘free moral agent’. A free moral agent to the maximum 'infinite' extent allowed according to physics. Ironically, Zeilinger himself, after the 2011 video lecture I cited, solidified the inference to free will’s axiomatic position in Quantum Mechanics with this following experiment. 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 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. per physorg
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 present choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past? This experiment is simply impossible for any coherent materialistic presupposition that denies free will! Of related interest: Although the preceding experiment should be more than enough to shut down any denial of the reality of free will, physicists are currently working on performing an experiment that will close the 'free will-loophole' in quantum mechanics to an unprecedented, 'astronomical', level of precision:
Closing the 'free will' loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell's theorem - February 20, 2014 Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as "setting independence," or more provocatively, "free will." This loophole proposes that a particle detector's settings may "conspire" with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure -- a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector's setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics. "It sounds creepy, but people realized that's a logical possibility that hasn't been closed yet," says MIT's David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. "Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?",,, The idea, essentially, is that if two quasars on opposite sides of the sky are sufficiently distant from each other, they would have been out of causal contact since the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago, with no possible means of any third party communicating with both of them since the beginning of the universe -- an ideal scenario for determining each particle detector's settings. As Kaiser explains it, an experiment would go something like this: A laboratory setup would consist of a particle generator, such as a radioactive atom that spits out pairs of entangled particles. One detector measures a property of particle A, while another detector does the same for particle B. A split second after the particles are generated, but just before the detectors are set, scientists would use telescopic observations of distant quasars to determine which properties each detector will measure of a respective particle. In other words, quasar A determines the settings to detect particle A, and quasar B sets the detector for particle B. The researchers reason that since each detector's setting is determined by sources that have had no communication or shared history since the beginning of the universe, it would be virtually impossible for these detectors to "conspire" with anything in their shared past to give a biased measurement; the experimental setup could therefore close the "free will" loophole. If, after multiple measurements with this experimental setup, scientists found that the measurements of the particles were correlated more than predicted by the laws of classical physics, Kaiser says, then the universe as we see it must be based instead on quantum mechanics.,,, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm
Moreover, 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. Yet, 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 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 Theistic view of reality, we find two very different eternities in reality:
Special Relativity, General Relativity, Heaven and Hell https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit
Specifically, Special Relativity and General Relativity reveal two very different ‘qualities of eternity’ (as predicted in Christian Theism). In particular, the Black Holes of General Relativity are found to be associated with eternities of destruction and disorder. And Special Relativity is associated with an eternity of creation and order, (such as the extreme (1 in 10^10^123) order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang). The destruction and disorder associated with Black Holes is particularly frightful and is captured in this following quote:
“Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.” Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476
Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternity of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion! In light of this dilemma that these two very different eternities present to us spiritually minded people, and the fact that Gravity is, in so far as we can tell, completely incompatible with Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity (i.e. Quantum Electro-Dynamics),,,
A Capella Science – Bohemian Gravity! (The failure of string theory and M-theory) – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rjbtsX7twc
,,in light of this 'spiritual' dilemma, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:
Particle Radiation from the Body - July 2012 - M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images. http://www.academicjournals.org/sre/PDF/pdf2012/30JulSpeIss/Antonacci.pdf A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847 Turin shroud – (Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHVUGK6UFK8
We humans often know how people are going to act even though they make act out of free will. Of course sometimes we get it wrong. In principle I don't see why God shouldn't be even better at it than we are and know every free choice that everyone is going to make. Mark Frank
Mapou 11 "The concept of omniscience is crackpottery..." Well, I don't know about that! ;) anthropic
Mark Frank:
Free will is compatible with determinism.
This is about as dumb as it gets. Lord help us. Mapou
Both omniscience and infinity are brain-dead concepts. In the not even wrong category. Mapou
The concept of omniscience is crackpottery, the work of the devil. :-D And I say this as a Christian. Mapou
@#1 & #3 So let me get this straight: free will is denied based on the foreknowledge of the imaginary sky fairy. What if knowledge of the future were attributed to The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is that grounds to reject free will in the real world? To ask the question is to answer it.
If the future being already determined is a problem for free will (I'm not necessarily saying it is - although I can certainly see why some would make that argument) than omniscience or perfect foreknowledge is a problem for free will in principle, regardless of who or what has that knowledge, since that would mean that the future is, indeed, already determined. goodusername
RalphDavidWestfall, It has been many years since I've read Mere Christianity, but if I recall correctly Lewis seemed to agree that there's a conflict between omniscience and free will, and so Lewis limited God's omniscience (or at least redefined it) in that God didn't know what our choices would be. Skimming through Mere Christianity I find statements like this: "Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk." goodusername
Hey - I actually disagree with Seversky and goodusername. Just knowing what is going to happen doesn't mean it isn't happening out of our free will. Free will is compatible with determinism. Mark Frank
@#1 & #3 So let me get this straight: free will is denied based on the foreknowledge of the imaginary sky fairy. What if knowledge of the future were attributed to The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is that grounds to reject free will in the real world? To ask the question is to answer it. RexTugwell
Actually, an omniscient God who knows the future is what kills off any prospect of free will.
Not if there are any number of possible futures that are contingent on us. Joe
@goodusername #3 "Nonetheless, it would mean that the future is already determined." CS Lewis has a chapter--see Book 4, ch. 3—"Time and Beyond Time" in Mere Christianity--that shows why God's omniscience doesn't negate our compatibilist free will. God is outside of time and can look back from the ends of our lives, where we can only see back from the present. In either case, our free choices determine at least some of what happens. RalphDavidWestfall
This is bizarre. You and Eagleton seems to be attacking a position that most new atheists and neuroscientists don't hold - that there is no such thing as free will. You link to a piece by Dawkins where he says:
I am very comfortable with the idea that we can override biology with free will.
Eagleton's essay is very good but it comes very close to Dennett's position on free will!
Yet some of the versions of freedom these scientists throw out are not worth having in the first place. No reputable philosopher for a very long time has taught that when we decide to put the cat out, we make something called a conscious act of will a millisecond before we rise from our armchairs. To say that I downed the glass of Scotch freely is to say that nobody was holding a gun to my head. It is to describe a situation, not report on an inner experience. Free will in this sense is most certainly a myth, and one, as Baggini points out, that was scarcely known to the thinkers of antiquity. He might have added that for a medieval thinker such as Thomas Aquinas, the will is a matter of love and desire, not of steel-hard determination. Advertisement Equally vacuous is the idea that freedom consists in a total absence of constraint, as in the callow postmodern cult of “options” (the future, one postmodern thinker excitedly remarked, will be just like the present, only with more options). On this theory, the individual confronts a range of possibilities with complete freedom to decide among them. The only problem with this, as Baggini argues, is that such an individual would not be a human subject at all. We decide what to do on the basis of our values, beliefs, temperament, conditioning, predilections and the like – which is to say that it is we who decide, not some blank space. To be entirely free of such constraints would mean that you had no basis at all on which to choose.
This only differs from Dennett in assuming that our values, beliefs, temperament, conditioning, predilections and the like are immaterial. Why should it matter whether they are material or not as far as freedom is concerned? Mark Frank
Nonsense. Knowledge of future events is not the cause of futue events.
Nonetheless, it would mean that the future is already determined. goodusername
Nonsense. Knowledge of future events is not the cause of futue events. Strictly speaking, there's no such thing as future to God. RexTugwell
Actually, an omniscient God who knows the future is what kills off any prospect of free will. Seversky

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