Home » Intelligent Design, Mind, Neuroscience, News » A New Scientist editor acknowledges that the riddle of free will is unsolved

A New Scientist editor acknowledges that the riddle of free will is unsolved

Well, maybe. Most materialists resort to announcing that materialist neuroscientists don’t believe it exists. Here:

The problem is a familiar one. We live in a deterministic universe. Given enough information about its present state, we could extrapolate to any past or future state with 100 per cent accuracy. Everything that has or will happen was determined at the big bang – and given that our brains are part of the physical universe, free will does not exist. Depressingly, neuroscience itself offers little comfort that this isn’t the case.

Editor Graham Lawton regards quantum indeterminacy as some kind of an excuse that doesn’t work against this “hard and unforgiving core” of determinism. Heisenberg, where are you when we need you?

Free will reminds us of one of philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn’s more helpful insights: Schools of thought differ on what they regard as problems and solutions. Free will is a problem for the materialist, but not for the Catholic, who sees it as one of the outcomes of a growth in virtue.

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2 Responses to A New Scientist editor acknowledges that the riddle of free will is unsolved

  1. I see the existence of free will as simply a result of the fact that we are made in the “image and likeness” of God, and one of God’s attributes is free will.

    I think that Lawton is dead wrong in his view that with enough information we can “extrapolate to any past or future state with 100 per cent accuracy.” Quantum indeterminacy combined with the fact that chaotic systems (and most physical systems are chaotic) are responsive to arbitrarily small changes in initial conditions means that the future state of the Universe is inherently unpredictable, even without considering the effects of freely acting intelligent agents.

  2. Free will is a problem for the materialist, but not for the Catholic, who sees it as one of the outcomes of a growth in virtue.

    Free will is a reward for being good little boys and girls? Never heard that one before. So bad people lose their free will?

    Nice way to marry a belief in free will with an incoherent theodicy.

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