T E D I S M
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!)
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
The 'chaos theory' may explain how apparently planned actions are caused by a set of random events conditioned by chaos.
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!
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
Only 13.74 billion years
ago was the 'Big Bang' (or the "Big Bounce ?").
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!
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