Science and Science Fiction for All!3

The argument about whether or not we have Free Will is not a new one. It’s been debated time and time again between Determinists and Free Willy’s (yes, I support this name). So here are some thoughts I’ve kicked around that I haven’t as of yet heard anyone else mentioning.

For the record, I believe in Free Will. This stems mostly from different experiences I’ve had linked to one another directly or not-so-directly but that’s not what I want to write about. What I want to write about is looking at Free Will from the Deterministic side of things. It’s a good exercise for anyone to try to see things from an opposing point of view so off and on, I’ve been trying to think as if all thought was determined before hand, and all choices were the sum total of events going back to the beginning of time. It’s been an interesting thought experiment and obviously beyond my comprehension. I mean, think about that for a second. Everything I’ve ever chosen from my choice to start this blog to my favorite flavor of ice cream, has been determined by my birth, my parents choices, my grandparents choices, interaction and intervention of other people throughout my life and my ancestors life, possibly even weather, to the formation of the Earth, all the way back to the beginning of the Universe. So the very precise moment time began, my love affair for CheeseQuake from Dairy Queen had been determined. I never knew ice cream and man could be so romantic.

Then I started thinking a little deeper. If I knew and understood all of the events from the beginning of time that lead to my decision to shamefully order a large CheeseQuake blizzard, what if I chose Turtle Pecan Cluster instead? In other words, if I knew of every event, every affect, every domino in my life that determined the choices I would make, wouldn’t I then, and only then, be free to choose? If I had a God-like knowledge to understand every process that we call existence from quantum physics to sociology, then I would immediately know what choices I would make if I didn’t have said knowledge and choose something contrary.

Even if you believed in Determinism, wouldn’t this lend to the concept that at some point Free Will can exist?

Just a thought.

What do you think? Share in the comments below.



7
  • R.D. Coste

    September 26, 2013

    Good post and well thought out. I do have to disagree however. Lat’e assume for the moment that you can rewind the clock and view every event that led up to your choosing the CheeseQuake blizzard (good choice by the way). In your scenario you are viewing it from an outside perspective – in this case God, or a being with God-like knowledge. From that perspective you could say that “yes, I would choose to not eat the blizzard”. Just like from, from our present perspective we could say, “No…if I were Lee Harvey Oswald, knowing what I know now, I would choose to certainly NOT do what I did.”. It’s one thing to witness the events but another thing to be part of the causal chain of events.

  • Lily

    September 26, 2013

    I have to agree and though I’m a theist (which much of the academic community doesn’t like), I’ve got to give this funny paraphrase from Jewish sermon that I heard before and loved:

    “I don’t believe that every detail of my life is just going to passively happen. If so, I would go back to bed and take a nap, because everything’s been determined anyway. If God wants me to have a house, he’ll be laying down the house or dropping it from the sky and I won’t even have a choice. Now I need a car to drive away. I don’t want the house! I need a car to drive away from the free house now. As we can see, proactiveness does in fact matter.”

  • Rustin Odom

    September 26, 2013

    Thanks, R.D. I didn’t want to make a distinction between a God who told you what was going to happen and yourself, but what if you knew for yourself what you would choose and the influences that dictate your decisions. A bad example but one to illustrate the point would be someone subjected to Nike commercials all week and then going to the shoe store, decides he wants Nike’s. But what if he recognized the advertisement dictation and caught himself being influenced and decided against Nike and went with Reebok? This is obviously incredibly simplified but you get the gist.

  • Rustin Odom

    September 26, 2013

    Lily, that’s just plain awesome sauce! Thanks for sharing!

  • Pawel

    September 27, 2013

    Your rebellious will about choosing “Turtle Pecan Cluster” is also a product of your character built by genes, experiences and so on, so your decision is still determined, isn’t it?

  • Rustin Odom

    September 27, 2013

    Pawel, but what if you understood even your rebelliousness and you decided to choose Peanut Butter Cup mint? (which for the record sounds disgusting)

  • Is our Consciousness simply a collection of responses? » TheorySerum

    March 5, 2014

    […] influencer in our lives, we then have a real, 100% genuine choice. We can accept or rebel. See my other post about free will being possible even from a deterministic point of […]

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