It’s interesting that a science writer sees through the most fundamental materialist rot. Unfortunately, it sounds as though he hopes to replace it with a different one.
Egnor is responding to a reader’s question about whether neuroscience has disproven free will.
Denying free will means that totalitarianism is a viable government idea.
Michael Egnor: “Except for action of any quantum events”? I challenge Coyne: What in nature isn’t the action of quantum events? Certainly, every event in the brain is quantum in nature—every brain state, every action potential, every secretion of a neurotransmitter, every bit of protein synthesis or ion flow—is the consequence of quantum events.
Egnor: “An intellectual seizure would be a seizure that caused abstract thought, such as logic, or reasoning, or mathematics. People never have, for example, mathematics seizures—seizures in which they involuntarily do calculus or arithmetic. This observation, which is as true today as it was in Penfield’s time nearly a century ago, begs for explanation.” He offers an argument for the immaterial powers of the mind.
Egnor: [fMRI isn’t decisive.] But fMRI is worthless in the neuroscience of free will. To understand why, note that fMRI has very poor temporal resolution. fMRI measures changes in blood flow in the brain in response to activity of neurons, and these changes lag neuronal activity by at least several seconds.
Also, let this sink in: Despite believing in determinism, Hossenfelder believes we should “decide” against a new particle collider… We can decide? On that account, to other naturalists, she is “anti-science.” Naturalism is weird like that. Eats its own.
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.