When growing up in my teens and twenties I had the opinion that there was no free will, but did not have the ability to argue it very well. In my thirties and forties, I developed the idea of 'limited free will'. (an apparent contradiction in terms!)

I have now concluded that we do NOT have free will!

Compare the forces controlling weather and climate, with the forces controlling the brains of humans.

The weather does not 'decide' to rain on
London any more that a person 'decides' to travel to London. The rain on London is caused by a long stream of interactions of heat, moisture, and sea movements. In the same way, a person's 'decision' to go to London has been preceded by a long stream of interactions of genetics, upbringing and contacts with others.

Writing this as a good example! It would not be being written; if a long, long stream of events going back, at least, to me buying a computer. But, it must go back even further than that. Again, at least, to my birth. AND .......... ! Even my birth was the result of the same 'soup' of interactions.

Think of the domino effect. The first domino moves in an arc but a fraction of an inch. Yet, it initiates a wave of reactions that causes a stream of effects. Even this stream of effects, is affected by the precise placement of each domino.

Now! Imagine a four dimensional domino effect - in space and time. But, instead of dominoes, substitute particles. The interaction of events would be impossible to predict.

We, and everything around us, are made of particles that combine to form all the material of the universe.

When thinking of free will, think of the brain as being a micro weather system. Small changes at random times can cause large effects. It is said that, "A butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can cause a hurricane in Texas !"

The 'chaos theory'  may explain how apparently planned actions are caused by a set of random events conditioned by chaos.

Think of our brains as being subject to sequential, random and chaotic events, then you may get a glimpse of the picture in my mind.

On a Melvin Bragg programme on TV, the topic of free will was discussed. This is an abstract of the views of Baroness Susan Greenfield, a leading neuroscientist and author of 'The Human Brain'. She reflects the thoughts that I have put here.   Hear this - click here.

Extending the point above, of the dominos, to the snooker table. Once the white ball leaves the tip of the cue, its path is predetermined by the mass of the balls, the friction of the table, the angle of contact, even if there is chalk on the white ball (a kick), and many other variables. The route, actions, and reactions following the ball leaving the cue, are, at that time, predetermined. The skilled player, having extensive experience, can, with some certainty, predict what is going to happen to the balls. You see? Predict! Therefore, he assumes that the ball has a predetermined path. However, his ability to predict is not perfect. He cannot take into account all the parameters, because he does not know them. But, I repeat again, once the ball leaves the end of the cue, its path is predetermined. "Stop!" I hear you say, "Someone could come along after the ball has been hit, and affect its path." My premise, at this point, does not consider this. But, later!
There are programs based on snooker (and golf) where the computer gives you a set-up and asks you to strike the ball. The computer then takes the strength of the hit and direction, and develops the graphics for the outcome. You could stop the graphics, and ask the computer to give you the co-ordinates of the ball, after it has been struck. Predict the predetermined path of the ball!
If you could put a camera above a real snooker table, and feed the image into a computer, and the camera could give the computer ALL the data necessary, and the computer was powerful enough, the predetermined path could be predicted.
Back to the pin-ball machine. Think of me as the plunger, the snooker player. I come through the door to play snooker. At the same time another person is coming though another door. The series of events take place that brings us together. Me, hitting the ball with the cue, him diverting the route of the ball. The actions of the two of us are predetermined. If nothing changes to the conditions that caused the coming together of us, the outcome is predetermined.

Again, I hear you say, "But, Ted, there are a million things that could happen, You are not both robots."

Relating all this to the weather. If we have enough data, we can predict quite complex interactions. Your problem is not that ANYTHING can happen, only that only ONE thing CAN happen, conditional on a set of 'pre-actions'. Your problem is that you cannot collate and analyse all the complex variables affecting those actions.

All this talk of extraneous, actions affecting the route of the cue ball, are now going to become irrelevant!
For, I am now going to direct your attention, to an event in the pass.

Only 13.74 billion years ago was the 'Big Bang' (or the "Big Bounce ?").
There was this ball, kind of thing. It was all on its own. Nothing, NOTHING else! And, it had all the material of the universe(s) in it. Remember - nothing extraneous - just the ball. It imploded, exploded, and all the material shot off on its merry way! Its future was predetermined, for there could not be any extraneous action to affect its action, reactions. (There were nuffin - nuffin - else there!) The only outcome, was for it to obey the physical laws affecting it. The future of all the material was predetermined. The Earth was formed as a result of those laws. The creation of Earth was predetermined at the point of the 'Big Bang'. EVERYTHING that has happened since, has been dependant on that moment, and therefore, predetermined.

We are all part of an extremely complex set of interactions We carry out apparently random patterns of behaviour, that are, in reality, predetermined, and relate right back to the 'Big Bang'. These are, at this time, too complex to predict. However, that does not negate my premise!
"We do not have free will. All our actions are backwards related to the one original action, the 'Big Bang'."

When a fortune teller, successfully predicts the future, is he/she just able to be aware of the myriad data affecting the subject? Is he/she just a souped up version of the weather forecaster. A wonder to consider!

To conclude? You cannot decouple what you are doing or thinking, right now, from the few things you were doing or thinking, immediately before that action or thought. Nor can you decouple those actions or thoughts, from the myriad actions or thoughts that went before over the past 13.74 billion years! Every reaction must have an action preceding it. What you will be doing at midday next Thursday, has been, and will continue to be, predetermined before midday on Thursday! These simple statements prove that we have no free will.

The keyword in demonstrating that we have no free will is, “BECAUSE”. What you are doing now is BECAUSE of some thing(s) that have preceded it.

We have no more 'free will' than a Poo stick !! Now go here

…….. QED.