Free Will is an Illusion
October 10, 2009 6 Comments
Free will is an illusion. It is synonymous with incomplete perception. —Walter Kubilius
A single uncaused cause could destroy the universe.
“Everything that happens is followed by something else which depends on it by causal necessity. Likewise, everything that happens is preceded by something with which it is causally connected. For nothing exists or has come into being in the cosmos without a cause. The universe will be disrupted and disintegrate into pieces and cease to be a unity functioning as a single system, if any uncaused movement is introduced into it.” Chrysippus
Is God an uncaused cause?…yes he is according to Christian theology.
The puzzle of free will and moral responsibility
“Everyone believes himself a priori to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life. … But a posteriori, through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity, that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns….” Arthur Schopenhauer
Free will in the Hindu tradition
“Therefore we see at once that there cannot be any such thing as free-will; the very words are a contradiction, because will is what we know, and everything that we know is within our universe, and everything within our universe is molded by conditions of time, space and causality. … To acquire freedom we have to get beyond the limitations of this universe; it cannot be found here.” Swami Vivekananda
Buddhism on Free Will
In Buddhism it is taught that the idea of absolute freedom of choice (i.e. that any human being could be completely free to make any choice) is foolish, because it denies the reality of one’s physical needs and circumstances. Equally incorrect is the idea that we have no choice in life or that our lives are pre-determined. To deny freedom would be to undermine the efforts of Buddhists to make moral progress (through our capacity to freely choose compassionate action). Wikipedia
If the Christian God knows exactly what will happen, right down to every choice one makes, the status of choices as free is called into question. If God had timelessly true knowledge about one’s choices, this would seem to constrain one’s freedom.
Biblical fundamentalists tell us they know what will happen to the human civilization in the years to come. It seems God has this plan that he set in motion at the beginning of time. We are to see the “antichrist” take over the world at some point and the forces of “Good and Evil” will fight it out in Armageddon (Megiddo in Israel). Good will win out…of course, and those left alive, and those already dead and buried, will be resurrected and face a sort of heavenly Inquisition to determine if they will live forever in the Kingdom of God…you know, the one that Jesus said his followers alive in his time would live to see.
This plan is evidence that we have no free will at all, as everything that happens (and has happened) on earth is bound to lead up to the final days and the prearranged melodrama. All actions we take as individuals only contributes in some miniscule way to the final outcome…nothing we do by using our “free will” changes the prearranged outcome.
Now some fundamentalists say that they will be “Raptured” up to heaven before this happens and they will not face the final days of earths destruction, some say they will be left on earth to clean-up the mess and achieve a sort of paradise on earth were we will all (those left) live forever. In any event Satan looses and he knows it, and has known since the beginning of time…it’s all prearranged and set in stone…so to speak. I’m sure that some denominations have slightly different versions, but these seem to be the dominate view.
Having the story ‘out there’ and knowing the outcome just isn’t compatible with free will. The bible is no help, as it says we Do have free will, and it says we Don’t have free will.
What do you think?
Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived. – Isaac Asimov
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