Sunday, August 8, 2010

Free Thinking

Jerry Coyne on Why Evolution is True has been pondering the question of free will lately. It's a good question. An excellent question!

Is everything we do predetermined by the way things come together in our brains based on what's going on while we're still developing?

By the way things came together in our parents' brains before us? By the environment around them? Around us? Experiences that shuffle our mental chemistry?

If you could account for everything that might have an effect on how the dice fall, you know how they'll land, right? It's just the not being able to account for everything that makes it worth betting on the outcome.

It's a question extremely worthy of pondering, and I'm enjoying the posts on it, but I suppose in the end it's not something that makes a whole lot of practical difference in day to day life.

I mean, we presently have no way of accounting for every possible variable, for dice let alone for peoples' brains, so we may not have free will, but we can still make unpredictable decisions.

Whether or not we're technically responsible for those decisions, well, that's the real question. I vote for continued investigation.


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