Yoshi5020 has made a comment on Steven Pinker & Richard Dawkins on Free Will:
Sunday, June 27, 2010 7:26 AM
I’m one of those who believes that everything is mechanical. So free will is about as real as “you” or “me”. The proper response to that is: yes we are very real, in fact the only things that matter; even though consciousness is simply atoms following laws. So yes, we may also think of it as free will, because our very thinking about it is part of the structural changes. I believe the future is determined; life is on rails… but it’s not like any of us, or a computer, could ever know it.
Unseenstrings replied: The human has the capacity to believe contradictions. For example: My 80 year old mother knows her death is inevitable; she believes she shall experience an eternal life of absolute happiness after death with those whom she loves and misses; but she really doesn’t want to leave this painful existence for eternal bliss in the “hereafter.”
People also hold contradictory ideas in regard to causality. They look for causal explanations for behavior (especially in defense of themselves). And people also use adages expressing causal law in that regard. For instance, “One rotten apple will spoil the whole barrel.” But the average individual is also religious. And free will is religious dogma that contradicts the observations and experiences of reality (such as contradicting the adage-analogy of the rotten apple, and also such as contradicting the nature+nurture analogy used by Jesus and commonly known as The Parable of the Sower).
However, one should always bear in mind that the will is analogous to the wind. The wind doesn’t literally exist as a independent thing. In fact, the wind is nothing more than moving air, which means the wind not only can never be free from the world of cause and effect, it can only exist as a result of causality (natural forces acting upon air). Thus it would be a contradiction of reality to say the wind is free. Likewise, no physical thing exist within the brain that can be called the will. But if we happen to label the consequence of certain processes of the brain as the “will”–as we do when we label the consequence of physical processes acting upon air as the “wind”–then to say the “will” is free is a contradiction of reality.
Free will arose as a consequence of belief in an invisible and immaterial soul. This soul was thought to be capable of causally effecting physical things, but itself could not be affected by anything at all. Free will also was believed to be the result of our primordial ancestors having eaten a magic apple that gave them absolute and universal knowledge of “right” and “wrong.” Free will is religious dogma that is preached from the pulpit of practically every religion in the land. The belief in free will acts as blinders that prevent people from being able to see and come to understand the causality involved in human behavior.
In fact, belief in free will is a form of childish naiveté that has been handed down to us by our ignorant ancestors. Humanity needs to recognize it as such and file it into the superfluous and illusory section of human explanations. We shall never understand the inner workings of the mind as long as we are deluded by the notion of free will.