Free Will and Determinism Provide Philosophy Professors with Job Security. Free Will Provides Religionists with...

...Free will provides religionists with a means to inculcate guilt and shame, and to gain control.

Is it possible to not remember having been told you have free will?

While chatting with a friend a few days ago, he mentioned free will as if he believed he has it.

I asked "Are you sure you have free will?" In a few minutes I became convinced that he doesn't remember having been told that he has it.

During 12 years in Catholic schools, I didn't think to count how many times I was told I have it.

In college I heard the free will / determinism debate and "filed it away" for further consideration, quit Catholicism for agnosticism, graduated, and found work I liked that paid well. In short, I was a happy agnostic.

After ten years of that I dove into hardball politics (water in the Western states).

Did I choose to do that?

I doubt it; I told people "How dare they put a dam on a river I used for recreation?"

After four years that were more exciting than any I could imagine, I started telling people "Those politicians took my head off, shook some crap out of it, and gave it back to me."

When I calmed down I decided that they had done me a huge favor. The crap they shook out of my head included my uncertainty about free will and determinism.

Free will?

Not when the amygdala instantly provides the body with the energy required for flight or fight, and sends another signal to the brain where it gets processed more slowly.

Determinism? Until calm returns, yes.

Free will and determinism are not the issue. The issue is "Who takes the rap and maybe goes to prison?"

Philosophy professors will go on influencing students and religionists will go on inculcating guilt and shame.

Damn, those were exciting years! Those politicians paid me one huge compliment! They acknowledged me.

Do you remember being told you have free will?

Tags: academia, determinism, free, reality., religion, will

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I don't specifically remember being told that we have free will. Society certainly treats people as if they have free will. Christians use the concept of free will to justify certain things - like "God" allows evil to exist, so that people can have free will. That is incoherent anyway, but it seems that we only have free will, so that we can be blamed for our actions, and brought into line with the threat of "God's" wrath.

Th fact is that we don't have free will, what each of us is capable of doing is limited. This applies to all of us. Take a shy person, [ me :-) ]. Such a person may be unable to treat people as well as they would like. Shyness insecurity and embarrassment can stop this. The shy person is not free to be as good as they would like to be.

So our actions and capabilities are limited at best. I cannot imagine anyone who is not limited in what they can do of their own free will. Yet the majority of us are told that we have free will, and we'd better look out about how we use it, or we might end up in "hell". Yet science suggests that we may not have anything like free will. See . . .

BHA Annual Conference 2013: Susan Blackmore on Free Will

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHP6fWwVqrk

________________________________________________________

...like "God" allows evil to exist, so that people can have free will.

Gila, I'd forgotten. I also didn't count the times I heard nuns say God allows evil to exist so that, with our free will, we could choose good.

Wikipedia says the pre-xian Greeks started talk of free will and here's how I understand what followed. The early xians took a lot of stuff from the Greeks. When Constantine and the early xians cut a deal, xianity started its climb to domination in what became Europe. People came from Europe to America, brought their beliefs with them, and put their beliefs into the laws they passed.

And so, using one example of many, the blue laws when I was a kid, pharmacies were the only stores allowed to open on Sundays.

My initial reaction to this article was to not comment, since I find free will to be such a farce of a concept to begin with. It's a nonsense term IMO. I exercised my ability to make a decision contrary to my instincts (ie free will) just by commenting here.

Lobsters eat their boogers. Wait, wth? That nonsensical statement is entirely and unpredictably random! That is the farce of free will. We all have an ability to act completely out of character at any time we choose, and the same goes for any organism that exists in nature. There simply is no such thing as the opposite of free will in a natural organism. For religious zealots to make the claim that it is a gift from god to humanity is the most laughable statement imaginable. What other gifts did Mr. Omnipotent give us? The wetness of water? The whiteness of the color white?

Coming up in the 1950's I first heard sayings like "Well, it's a free country." I'm going to suppose that had to do with the term "godless communism." My first time of hearing about "free will" came as we were attending church. The preacher wanted to make a big deal about how you have free will. It appeared to have something to do with your "destiny" and your immortal whatumacallit. (I couldn't resist that one.) Then we are hearing that god could have made robots to worship him, but "the robots would not have free will." This was all a decission we had to make.

Today I am very much aware of free will.

The murderer has the free will to murder you.

You have the free will to be killed by the murderer.

That just about does it.

Michael, folks who do brain scans say there's more to free will than that.

They measure the elapsed times:

1. between an event and a related physical movement, and

2. between that physical movement and a reaction in the brain.

The body is faster to react than the brain.

Choosing among responses is slower yet.

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