Scientists weigh in on both sides but accepting free will allows us to avoid some serious problems around logic and personal freedom.
Egnor: Now let’s get to the neuroscience. Neuroscience has a lot to contribute to the debate over free will and all of it supports the reality of free will. There isn’t a shred of neuroscientific evidence that contradicts the reality of free will.
By accepting the fundamental, unequivocal logical fact that our experiential existence is necessarily, entirely mental in nature, and accepting the unambiguous scientific evidence that supports this view, we can move on to the task of developing a functioning and useful theory of mental reality. I will attempt to roughly outline such a theory here, with Read More…
They think it’s an illusion, of course. Dawkins recommends Richard Dennett on the subject but Dennett also thinks that consciousness is an illusion. Michael Egnor would say, if your proposition is that consciousness is an illusion, then you don’t have a proposition.
George Ellis: If you seriously believe that fundamental forces leave no space for free will, then it’s impossible for us to genuinely make choices as moral beings. We wouldn’t be accountable in any meaningful way for our reactions to global climate change, child trafficking or viral pandemics. The underlying physics would in reality be governing Read More…
This is not an excellent time to be a materialist. Materialism is losing its Cool. It’s not even making sense.
Egnor: 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.
When New Scientist’s world comes away feeling empowered by stuff like this, what does it mean for the rest of us?
Sometimes, says Michael Egnor (below right), misrepresentation may be deliberate because Libet’s work doesn’t support a materialist perspective.
At first, Libet thought that free will might not be real. Then he looked again…
He wants to and he tried to—at a speaking engagement at Williams U. But if he is a meat puppet, well, …
He does not really address the fact that most naturalists don’t actually believe that the free will he assumes actually exists.
In everyday life, we casually throw around the terms “confidence,” “chance,” and “likely.” We sometimes attach numbers too. We say that an event has a 90% chance of occurring. But, what do we mean by a “90% chance”?
If it was just noise, you may not hear that any time soon from the textbook mill.