“No evidence can be found for the common view that it [free-will] is a function of our brains that causes behavior” – Mark Hallett, M.D.
“We assume that we have free will and that we make decisions, but we don’t. Neurons do. We decide that this sum total driving us is a decision we have made for ourselves. But it is not.” – Rodolfo Llinás, PhD
“Free Will is a fictional construction, but it has applications in the real world” –Steven Pinker, PhD
Atheists being inherently stupid people from the beginning to the end are incapable of independently thinking or reasoning, so it’s up to Theists to teach and educate them. Atheists have always threatened the progress of science and mankind by valuing authority and incredulity too highly. Most of the comments from the fools (atheists) have just been about authority and incredulity.
Now I will do something that atheists do not – give valid reasons and empirical observations to support my assertions.
It takes more faith to believe in free-will than it does to believe in God. How so? Well I’ll now explain how in a way that has never been done before.
First a definition, let us define free-will as the “ability to control decisions with your consciousness”. Note that we are not talking about whether or not a decision is predictable or unpredictable, but whether you have control over the decision.
For instance if someone has a brain disorder which causes them to spontaneously act uncontrollably (and have unpredictable decisions), that is not an act of free-will because the person has no control over their decisions.
What matters is whether or not the individual has control over their decisions, not whether the decision is predictable or unpredictable.
Next on how we objectively measure the amount of faith that it takes to believe in something. We can objectively measure the amount of faith it takes to believe in something by the amount of scientific evidence contradicting a claim.
Take for instance believing in multiple universes vs. believing in the geocentric theory. It takes more faith to believe in the geocentric theory because there is far more scientific evidence contradicting the geocentric theory than there is against the existence of multiple universes.
The geocentric theory is empirically testable and fails the test, multiple universes are not empirically testable and do not fail or pass any test.
In this case, free-will is analogous to the geocentric theory failing empirical tests, and God is analogous to multiple universes neither failing nor passing any empirical tests (since God is an empirically untestable hypothesis).
Right now there’s a massive overwhelming amount of scientific evidence against the existence of free-will.
Free-will has a certain degree of empirical testability and has so far failed all tests.
Since there is much more scientific evidence against free-will than God it requires far more faith to believe in free-will than to believe in God.
The Scientific Evidence against free-will:
Since atheists are inherently stupid people it is only common to run into atheists who understand virtually nothing about physics.
In deterministic physics (Newtonian or General Relativity) free-will exists as an illusory perception or a feeling that human beings have, human beings have absolutely no control over their decisions, and their decisions are predictable.
In indeterministic physics (Quantum Mechanics) free-will exists as an illusory perception or a feeling that human beings have, human beings have absolutely no control over their decisions, and human beings cannot predict their decisions.
In other words:
– Determinism would be like saying “someone who has an uncontrollable predictable brain disorder, but feels as if they’re in control has free-will”
– Indeterminism would be like saying “someone who has an uncontrollable unpredictable brain disorder, but feels as if they’re in control has free-will”
Neither determinism nor indeterminism allow for free-will.
So if someone lies, cheats, steals, or kills in both models of modern physics that individual had absolutely no control over their decisions even though they would’ve most likely strongly felt that they did.
In both models free-will is just a feeling or perception, neither model allows for free-will.
The only way real free-will can exist is if the observer or consciousness plays a special role in reality, which would favor an afterlife and the physical brain not being the mind.
Since neurons are macro-particles and not quantum particles the neuronal correlate explanation strongly favors the deterministic model of physics. Quantum Mechanics would not work at all for neurons.
We know that modern physics works extremely well and accurately for electrical technology. If Maxwell’s equations hadn’t been extremely accurate and reality hadn’t followed systematic repeatable rules that human beings can use to predict events most electrical technology would not work. So believing that human beings can control their physical brain would be like believing that a radio, TV, computer, or other electrical devices have free-will.
Believing that human beings can control electrical signals in their brain is like believing that human beings have superhuman powers. It’s just like saying you can control the laws of physics or behavior of neurons with your mind.
So modern physics by itself eliminates free-will.
Libet’s Experiment – A repeatable experiment which indicates that decisions are made in unconscious first, prior to human beings feeling that they had made a decision. The results of Libet’s experiment have been reproduced over and over again.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimuli Experiments – In these experiments magnetic stimulation was shown to bias the choice of finger movements, even when the subjects consciously felt that they chose the decision to move their finger. The TMS affected the physical brain much in the same way that a TMS would effect electrical devices.
Reaction Time Experiments – Show that the “free-will” feeling comes after an action, not prior. The order is stimulus-response-perception not stimulus-perception-response (which would be expected if free-will existed). The free-will perception comes at the very end in the RT experiments.
Neural-Correlate Explanation – The neural-correlate explanation claims that all experiences exists as electro-neuro-biological reactions in the physical brain. This explanation would leave no room for any free-will. All decisions would be made by electrical signals in the physical brain that human beings have absolutely no control over.
Drugs and chemicals altering conscious experiences – Alcohol and other drugs alter consciousness, this tells us that our conscious experiences are at least heavily influenced by chemical reactions which would favor the the neural-correlate explanation and no free-will.
In conclusion physics, the experimental data, and empirical observations all strongly favor the hypothesis that free-will exists as an illusory perception or feeling analogous to the sensory perception that the Sun moves around the Earth. Human beings can all observe with their own eyes the Sun moving around the Earth but the empirical data says otherwise. Similarly human beings can all strongly feel inside that they make decisions and control their decisions, but the empirical data says otherwise.
The scientific evidence against free-will is overwhelming, staggering, and massive. We can clearly see that there’s far more scientific evidence against the existence of free-will than there is against the existence of God.
Common Flawed pro-free-will arguments:
– Probably the most common pro-free-will argument, this type of argument is usually phrased like this:
“Free will exists because I can choose”
“I make decisions everyday, of course free-will exists”
“I chose to type this message”
“I can choose to move my arm”
“Free-will exists because I can chose to do [some action here]
“The problem with all of these arguments is that they pre-assume that free-will exists. You can’t conclude that you chose to make any decision unless you already assume that free will exists.
So all of these arguments are equivalent to saying “Free-will exists because I already assume that I have free-will”.
All of these arguments are equivalent:
“Free-will exists because I can choose to move my arm”
“Free-will exists because I assume that I have free-will and can choose to move my arm”
“Free-will exists because when I my arm moves I assume that I have free-will and chose to do so”
“Free-will exists because I assume that free-will exists”
If you don’t already assume that free-will exists you wouldn’t be able to conclude that you chose to move your arm or chose to make any other decision.
Giving an example of an action and assuming that you chose it tells us nothing about the existence of free-will.
How do you distinguish your arm moving, and you simply having the illusory feeling that you had controlled your arm even though you didn’t versus actually having controlled it? You can’t by pointing out an action and assuming that you have free-will.
If you don’t already assume that free-will exists you would simply conclude that your arm moved and that you had a feeling inside that you chose to move your arm, not that you really through your own free-will chose to move your arm.
We also know that your arm can move involuntarily and that certain disabled people cannot move their arm. So the mere feeling that you moved your arm or made any other decision tells us nothing about the existence of free-will.
So pointing out an action and assuming that you chose it is just circular reasoning.
Indeterminism – A common argument used by free-will believers. The only problem is that indeterminism doesn’t support any degree of free-will, it supports unpredictable will. Meaning you don’t control any of your actions and human beings cannot predict your decisions.
Another problem is that neurons are not quantum particles and Quantum Mechanics would not work at all for neurons.
Even if we assume that the indeterminism model applies this would be equivalent to believing that a person that always has a spontaneous uncontrollable brain disorder acts through their “free-will”.
Sensory Perception – Another common argument. This argument is that our senses clearly tell us that free-will exists, so how can our senses be wrong?
Our senses tell us that the Sun moves around the Earth and gives all kinds of inaccurate data. It’s been shown that memory perception, vision, and other perceptions can be wrong and give false data so there’s no reason to assume that the feeling that you have free-will cannot be inaccurate as well.
If you believe that free-will exists because you strongly feel so then what about people who strongly feel that something bad is going to happen, an afterlife exists, or God exists? Is strongly feeling that something is true equivalent to scientific evidence?
Since we know that many sensory perceptions human beings have are wrong and inaccurate, the sensory perception argument shows nothing.
No evolutionary need – Another argument I’ve heard. It goes something like “there would be no need for consciousness if free-will was non-existent”. There’s a problem with this, the illusion or feeling that you have free-will could very well have been chosen by natural selection.
It could be that species that really believe that they have free-will some how survive longer than species that do not. So natural selection and evolution would favor the species that believes that they have free-will and there would be an evolutionary need for consciousness.
Studies and data support this hypothesis that people who believe they have free-will are happier and more prone to survival than people that believe that they do not.
Since the feeling or perception that you have free-will makes a species more likely to survive, natural selection would favor a species that really believes that they have free-will (even if they do not).
So there really is an evolutionary need for the free-will perception or feeling, even if it is completely illusory.
If anyone has any pro-free-will arguments not listed here, propose it to me so that I can destroy the argument.
Connection to an Afterlife: Free-will is connected to an afterlife, how so? An afterlife has to do with how consciousness is generated, and free-will has to do with how consciousness is generated. The belief that consciousness is composed of electro-chemical signals in the brain favors no afterlife and no free-will.
The argument against an afterlife goes something like this “consciousness exists as electrical signals in the brain, after death these electrical signals cease, and therefore consciousness ceases after death, so there is no afterlife, no consciousness after death”.
This belief that consciousness is composed of electrical signals in the brain favors the non-existence of free-will, that is that all decisions are results of uncontrollable electrical signals.
Meaning that if someone goes out and rapes and murders someone that decision to rape and murder someone was the result of electro-chemical reactions in the person’s brain that they had absolutely no control over.
It’s the same belief – that consciousness is composed of electro-chemical signals in the brain, that is used to support the non-existence of an afterlife and free-will.
So anyone who questions whether or not consciousness exists as electro-chemical reactions is also questioning the existence of an afterlife as well.
For these reasons many pro-free-will arguments resemble pro-afterlife arguments.
So any atheist who believes in free-will will have to admit that:
– You don’t believe in modern science
– You don’t have any problem with having beliefs without evidence
– You don’t have any problem with invoking more faith than it takes to believe in God
– The reason you don’t believe in God has nothing to do with science or evidence
– You believe that consciousness plays a special role in reality (which is nearly the same argument used for an afterlife)
– It takes more faith to believe in free-will than to believe in God
– There is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of free-will
– There’s more scientific evidence contradicting the existence of free-will than there is contradicting the existence of God
– All the scientific data clearly matches the hypothesis that “free-will” exists as an illusory perception or feeling
– All common pro-free-will arguments are flawed
– Believing in free-will indicates that you don’t care about science, evidence, or faith
Like I said, I would explain free-will in a way that has never been done before in the course of human history since this Earth first came into existence.