Monday, December 16, 2013

You don't have free will

According to atheist evolutionist Jerry Coyne:

...this sort of free will is ruled out, simply and decisively, by the laws of physics. Your brain and body, the vehicles that make "choices," are composed of molecules, and the arrangement of those molecules is entirely determined by your genes and your environment. Your decisions result from molecular-based electrical impulses and chemical substances transmitted from one brain cell to another. These molecules must obey the laws of physics, so the outputs of our brain—our "choices"—are dictated by those laws. (It's possible, though improbable, that the indeterminacy of quantum physics may tweak behavior a bit, but such random effects can't be part of free will.) And deliberating about your choices in advance doesn't help matters, for that deliberation also reflects brain activity that must obey physical laws.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. Coyne wants it both ways:

    "What is seriously affected is our idea of moral responsibility, which should be discarded along with the idea of free will."

    "That realization shouldn't seriously change the way we punish or reward people, because we still need to protect society from criminals, and observing punishment or reward can alter the brains of others, acting as a deterrent or stimulus."

    "If free will goes, so do those beliefs. But of course religion won't relinquish those ideas, for such important dogma is immune to scientific advances."

    He could have written a much shorter article by just saying "Free will is a lie. Hard determinism is the truth. Therefore, we need to jettison religion altogether, and all morality except where I believe it is necessary."