I want to give the viewers my conclusion at the beginning because I know how much time you guys spend reading lengthily ATS threads without being able
to draw any solid conclusions. So here it goes:
Question: Do we have freewill?
My short answer is: No
Another short answer is:
The very idea of freewill is a non-existing and self-contradicting idea. So, it's not like Freewill is something that exists but we don't have it. The
problem is that there's no such thing as Free will. It's a fallacious concept to begin with. Like an object that is both bigger and smaller than you
at the same time. It's a non-existing idea.
Now, that you know my conclusion without having to read a long boring thread, you can either choose to close this thread or continue on reading.
Before I start I have to set some rules:
1- This thread assumes that all religions known to man are made by and only by man. Any arguments from any religious perspectives will be politely
2- This thread doesn't aim to disprove 'a creator' of the universe, nor does it aim to prove it/him/her. However, the claims in it automatically
disproves the idea of the mainstream Abrahamic God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
3- This thread will only use logic and scientific facts and data that is currently
known to man, which is subject to change in the future.
We all know that any event has a cause and effect. This is a scientific observable experiment-able fact that can't be wrong or partially correct or
anything other than completely correct; 100% of the time. Let's pick a random event like throwing a rock at a window. The cause is the force applied
by your arm to the rock and the effect is a broken window. Wars are caused by political conflicts and their effect is millions of people dying. But
when you think about it, you will find that causes themselves are nothing but effects to events which are caused by other causes, those causes are
effects of events that are caused by causes. So, in our first example, where:
Cause: force applied by your arm
Event: throwing a rock
Effect: a broken glass
the cause itself, which is the force applied by your arm, is an effect of the event of you deciding to do that, which is caused by the cause: you felt
like destroying something. And, feeling like destroying something is caused by being raised in an improper environment that allowed such behavior to
be acceptable to you. Such environment is caused by, say, your parents having very little time to spend with you to tell you right from wrong because
they are busy with whatever is happening in their life. This is what is called: a causality chain.
But this is putting it simply. The fact of the matter is that the causality chain is an unbelievably complicated network that connects events with
their causes and effect that if you try to illustrate it you will see a crazy meaningless chaotic set of lines that will make it impossible to trace
the all events back to their original cause. The big bang of causes. If very simplified it will look something like this:
This internet map gives you a very basic idea of how the causality chain may look like. It's not a linear chain. Now, why am I telling you about how
complicated this chain is? Because it's a key factor to why we can't
break the illusion of freewill. Everything you did, do, and will do...
said, say, and will say, thought, think, and will think... everything about you... is a part of this gigantic chain. It has a cause and effect, and
its causes trace back, along with other things, to the mother cause... the big bang of causes, the one single cause which sparked our universe into
existence... whatever it is.
Now, knowing that everything you do is part of that chain, here comes the big question: can those chains be broken? The answer is, simply enough:
depends on how strong the chain is. Well, how strong is it? What is the glue that holds this chain together? Well, it's the strongest glue we know
of... laws of physics. Let's take an example.
Here is a causality chain:
You throw a rock at a wall -> the rock hits the wall and causes a loud sound -> the rock lands on the ground scattering all over the place.
Let's try to break that chain. But, what do I mean by breaking it? I mean let's see if there's any point where something else, other than what
actually happened, might have happened.
Now, if you successfully throw a rock at a wall... is there any possible outcome other than it hitting the wall? and if it hits the wall will it
sometimes cause a sound, and some other times not? No. Every time you throw the rock it will hit the wall and every time it hits it, there will be a
sound. If you repeat that experiment a million times you will get the same results every time. So, what does that tell us? It tells us that laws of
physics are so consistent and reliable that we build our whole science on that beautiful consistency. If laws of physics worked randomly we wouldn't
have any science. It would have been chaos.
What does having freewill mean?
It means that we, humans, have the ability to violate laws of physics and infringe its consistency, by our choices. It means that, even though we are
bound by causes, we can, every once in a while, ignore those causes and act the way we feel unaffected by the system. And this, my friends, is where
all the whole freewill thing falls apart.
Let's introduce the definition of freewill now:
Wikipedia: Free will is the apparent ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints.
There's also that: The power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one's own discretion
My argument, in the light of those two definitions is:
You have no ability to make choices because you are not free from a certain kind of constrains which is being part of an enormous causality chain that
can't be broken at any stage due to the scientific fact that laws of physics are infinitely consistent and its impossible to "choose" the effect
whether you are a human or a rock because humans are not any more alive than rocks because they both adhere to the same laws, which are the laws of
physics. Humans, as a result of this conclusion, are nothing but very intelligent robots and the whole universe is nothing but a highly complex clock.
The key here is: you can't choose the effect of the things you do, because physics does that, or even choose the causes of your actions, just as much
as you didn't choose to come to this world.
What does all that mean? It means fate is actually very real, but not in a religious context this time, a scientific one. It also means that the
future is 100% predictable to the finest most tiny detail. That doesn't mean that we will necessarily be able to do that, that's why I said
predict-able. It's possible to whoever has the power to do the extremely complicated math to predict the future given the initial conditions and the
laws of physics. Likewise, it is possible to regenerate the whole past and create a video that shows everything that happened since the beginning of
the universe (if such a thing exists).
Now, here is where it gets ugly. Let's say that I am wrong and that even though we are all bound by laws of physics and causality, we can somehow
break those rules and act freely ignoring those causes. That will mean that we some of the time or even all of the time act independently in a random
way that is impossible to predict. Doesn't that itself mean that we are not free? We do random stuff for no reason?
edit on 9-10-2011 by
TheAlmo because: (no reason given)