Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Illusion of Choice: Free Will and Determinism

By Vexen Crabtree
Science and Truth Versus Mass Confusion

1. Nothing Escapes the Laws of Physics

Free will is an illusion. Our amazingly, wonderfully complex brains are comprised of various cognitive systems cycling amongst themselves and generating our thoughts, consciousness, choices and behaviour. These systems and their effects all result from the mechanical, inorganic laws of physics, over which we have no control.

Consciousness is presented to us as a result of our neurons, our brains, our senses. When we lose these, we lose consciousness. These systems are governed and controlled by neurochemicals, hormones, ionisation, impulses: in short, by biochemistry. Biochemistry is in turn merely a type of chemistry, and when we look at the molecules and atoms that make up our chemistry, they obey the laws of physics.

Balls bouncing around a pool table have no free will. The basic chemicals that make up our bodies and minds have no free will. Neurons fire when they should fire, according to their electrochemical properties. They don't randomly fire: They fire when they're stimulated to fire by other neurons or by environmental inputs. Stimulation results from a constant biochemical cycle. These natural cycles determine our states of mind and our choices. Through a long and complicated series of cause and effect, our choices are made. As such, all our 'choices' are ultimately the result of impersonal and mechanical forces. There is no "free will force" that causes neurons to fire some times and not at others. They fire in accordance with the rules of physics, firmly beyond our control but not beyond our appreciation. These facts are proclaimed also by none other than the foremost physicist Albert Einstein:
“I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.”
Albert Einstein (1954)
Sociologists and psychologists have studied the subliminal, subconscious and external factors that affect our behaviour, and a vast number of studies that have found that our behaviour is determined by outside agency but that we always think it is caused by our own will.

The entire blog entry is here.
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