on free will and other questions


Folks, those of you who have followed this blog know yours truly does hold the view that we don’t have free will. I have written quite a number of posts that can be found here, here, here, here and here that try to espouse my thinking on the idea or opinions by other philosophers of old on the same question. At the same time, those who have followed the discussion know of my friend whom whereas we agree on many issues, we don’t seem to find common ground on this question.

He recently did a post where again this question was raised and in which he introduces a new dimension to the conversation. First he offers a definition of consciousness and stages of consciousness that I would like to borrow, especially since I have not read much about it, but which I think is appropriate for our use. He writes,

Firstly, consciousness can be defined as the waking state. This essentially means that to be conscious, one needs to be awake, aroused, alert or vigilant. The stages of consciousness can range from wakefulness, to sleep to coma even. Secondly, consciousness is defined as experience, a far more subjective approach. This notion suggests that consciousness is the content of experience from one moment to another. Consciousness is highly personal, involving a conscious subject with a limited point of view. Thirdly, consciousness can be defined as the mind. Any mental state with a propositional content is considered conscious. Thus this includes beliefs, fears, hopes, intentions, expectations and desires.

We can agree that these definitions, for lack of a better word, represent the stages of consciousness but doesn’t necessarily tell us what consciousness is nor does it add to the knowledge of what the essence of ‘I’ as a being that thinks is.

I want to introduce a third position to this very interesting and ongoing debate. The third is the position, that I believe, Hume, the great skeptic would have offered, that we can’t know whether we have free will or not and should suspend judgement. The reason for this being that we are trying to answer a question about us as an object in itself, a cognition we are not capable of making. Whereas, this answer is not satisfactory to many, I think it is one that need some thought. In advocating skepticism, I shall in the meantime, maintain, not dogmatically, but from reason that we don’t have free will since as things in nature, we are not exempt from the cause – effect continuum.

I have been, in the past 2 or so weeks been reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and he writes that the following four questions are at the apex of all cosmical questions that human reason aspires to find answers but that it can at least as far as we can tell, we can’t have the correct answer. The questions are

  1. does the universe have a beginning and a limit to its extension in space
  2. do we have a soul
  3. are we free agents
  4. is there a supreme being

What are your answers to these questions and can you justify your answers. Are there any other questions that you think I[he] left out and which are these questions?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

95 thoughts on “on free will and other questions

  1. Mordanicus says:

    Hi,

    When I am finish with revising my BA thesis I will write a post “Free will an punishment”. But to answer your questions: 1. I tend to support the theory of “eternal inflation”, our universe is just a part of a multiverse, which is truly eternal without begin and end. 2. I am a monist, so I don’t believe in a soul in the sense of some external to our brains; or our brains are our souls. 3. I agree with the “third position”, we cannot know that for sure. 4. Yes, and I would call it nature/the universe or the multiverse.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      There are several posts am waiting for you to write, get the BA thesis out of the way first then write them. I know they will be interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. what reasons do you have for supporting an always existing universe? Don’t you think with the BB cosmology that our universe had a beginning in time or rather don’t you think there was a time our universe didn’t exist?

      2. do you have a basis for this belief

      4. why

      Like

      • Mordanicus says:

        The theory of inflation, acknowledge the BB cosmology. Only according the BB has been caused by the colapse of a false vacuum in another universe. (See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_inflation ). I admit this theory or hypothesis is far of “being proven”, although it explains our universe in way which make sense.

        I subscribe to monism, because there is no evidence for dualism or the existence of even more “substances”.

        The laws of physics are enforced absolutely, we cannot defy gravity or radioactive decay. In that sense the laws of our universe are acting as if it were an supreme being, Although this more poetical language, then that the universe is an actual being.

        I am busy to finish my thesis.

        Like

  2. Hi there, Mak.
    I’m impressed that you’re reading Kant.
    On the questions: I could answer them, but I could never justify the answers. I always have some trouble with words like ‘soul’. I don’t believe in an immortal soul, but I can imagine a ‘soul’ to be a core, an essence of things. And in that sense I think humans can be a mass of conflicting drives and emotions in which something like a soul does play a part. And that is just the first thing that comes to mind…

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Hi and how are you? Hope you are keeping well.

      I was reading Schopenhauer’s World as will and Idea, then he says there that to fully grasp what he is writing one has to be acquainted with Kant’s writing and I thought this was a good place to begin and it has been a great read so far.

      The idea of a ‘soul’ makes much sense to the religious mindset, and I think after that one has a real difficulty to explain what would be meant by such words.

      Like

  3. Ben Nasmith says:

    Hello, I think we can answer half of question 1 at least: “does the universe have a beginning.” I’m pretty confident that the universe has a physical beginning. I’ve explained why here: http://wp.me/p3mheW-4q.
    The general idea is that an expanding universe (or inflating multiverse) cannot have been expanding forever. This is because free falling objects slow down when expansion occurs and speed up when contraction occurs. Never-ending expansion would require all free falling objects to exceed the speed of light at some point in the finite past, which is impossible (probably).

    Like

    • john zande says:

      Ben, hi, we’ve been through this before. Inflation has a beginning, yes… and no one knows squat about before. Simply inserting your “god” because you can’t count to infinity is ridiculous.

      Like

      • Ben Nasmith says:

        That’s all I said. Inflation must have a beginning. Are you following me?

        Like

        • john zande says:

          Inflation does have a beginning. That is known. Inflation, though, doesn’t mean in any way, shape or form the universe has a beginning.

          Like

        • makagutu says:

          Granted inflation has a beginning, how do we get from here to the universe having a beginning and its extents in space-time?

          Like

          • Ben Nasmith says:

            Any (net) expanding universe has an edge (or boundary) to space time (be it a single point like on a cone or a surface). Physical time is only defined within space-time. So I don’t really understand how one could avoid a physical beginning if space-time has an edge. It’s like talking about “time” before time. What is that?

            The only way to avoid a space-time beginning is to show that the universe is not expanding (on average).

            Like

    • makagutu says:

      Hello Ben, hope you are well.

      I have read your link. To be pretty sure that the universe has a beginning is betting too much on speculation. The problem I find with your argument, and I could be wrong, is when you claim that because free falling objects slow down when expansion occurs and speed up when contraction occurs. This objects happen to be in the universe and can be experienced, but you can’t say the same of the universe. Where is it falling into? This is a problem of deductive reasoning and I think me and you will agree that to apply things of experience to the universe, which is the foundation of all our experience could be in the least absurd.

      And while on it, when you say the universe, do you mean, the universe as we know or do you mean all space and time?

      Like

      • Ben Nasmith says:

        Hello and thanks for taking a look!
        I’ve just attempted to explain what is known as the Borde Guth Vilenkin theorem in plain English (the physics-speak version is here http://arxiv.org/abs/grqc/0110012).
        I’ll try to explain why free falling objects slow down due to expansion. Suppose that a space probe is headed towards another galaxy and is free-falling (no thrust). It departs from earth at some speed v relative to the earth, and the space between earth and the distant galaxy is increasing with time (cosmic expansion). That mean then the probe gets to the other galaxy, it will be slower than v relative to that galaxy because that galaxy is receding from the earth. So all speeds taken with respect to the stationary (yet mutually receding) galaxies will decrease with expansion.
        The idea then is that space-time (our four-dimensional playground) has an edge or boundary in the past. This is true for any expanding space-time, even an inflationary multiverse. So there can be no eternal inflation.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          Ben, thanks again for responding but it appears to me you didn’t read my objection or you read and ignored. Falling objects are things we observe in the universe, a space probe is still within the universe. No one has observed anything “beyond” the universe and as such to say that since objects in the universe behave this way when they fall, the universe must also behave similarly. It is a category error, and too large for us to cognisize. You must know that the BB theory represents what is known happened after Planck seconds and not any further and refers to our observable universe alone. It doesn’t deal with multi-verses.

          An inflationary universe may have an edge as you posit but this doesn’t rule out it existing in a different state before the start of inflation. Two you nor I nor anyone else with the current knowledge can make comments about the conditions of a multi-verse without resulting to deductive reasoning which again you and me agree have no basis other than on experience, an experience we don’t have of any other universes except this one which we are trying to unravel, a portion at a time.

          You realize am not making any claims on whether the universe has a beginning or not, am asking you to consider your answer in depth.

          Like

          • Ben Nasmith says:

            I read your reply. I chose the most pressing point to reply to. As for the idea that there is some sort of category error in my thinking, I don’t see how that is. If you understand the universe as all potential physical trajectories (geodesics) then maybe that will help clear things up.

            The paper that I’m quoting proves that for every free falling object, if that object experiences net cosmic expansion overall during its travels, it’s trajectory (time-like geodesic) must be “past-incomplete” on pain of exceeding the speed of light otherwise. So if we take space-time to be the collection of all potential free-falling trajectories, then there will be an edge: a surface or point beyond which no four-dimensional trajectory can pass. (An inflationary multiverse, which is really just one big universe with separate expanding pockets, would prey to the same theorem should it exist.)

            That surface or point is “the beginning.” Anything “beyond/before” it is out of bounds to all physical matter and energy, anything that has a trajectory. Talk of “time” before the initial space-time boundary sounds metaphysical at best. Every (potential) trajectory in the universe has a beginning.

            The last word is yours, all the best.

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              I will respond to what I think is a category error. You say free falling objects behave in a certain way and ergo, the universe must behave in the same way. In essence, you are saying what is true of this category[things in space] is true for all categories [the universe].

              I will read the paper and get back to you.

              Like

  4. themodernidiot says:

    1. I don’t care
    2. I don’t care
    3. Yes
    4. I don’t care ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

    • john zande says:

      Shit, you really would make a terrible enemy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      Hey, for the one which you answer in the affirmative, I would be interested in knowing why.

      Like

      • themodernidiot says:

        Had you no free will, you wouldn’t be interested at all would you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          hahaha ๐Ÿ™‚

          Like

        • makagutu says:

          I really would want to know, free will or no free will

          Like

          • themodernidiot says:

            I know I have it. That’s all I need to know. I cannot speak for anyone else. My ability to question things tells me I have it. My choice to type this tells me I have it. Physics plays its part in giving us something to suspend in, but I decide what I do. I cannot control beyond me always, and beyond me can shape my decisions; but relinquishing my free will to external/internal natural forces is as stupid to me as giving it up to some god idea.

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              if accepting that you share an ancestor with chimps and basically to a degree to every living organism didn’t strike you as stupid coz it’s a fact, if this too can be proved to a level of certainty I don’t see how stupid creeps in.

              Like

              • themodernidiot says:

                because claiming a lack of free will is like fatalism or predeterminism, which to me is as stupid as believing in a god.

                i know what your saying about physics. yes, these laws shape our existence, but we influence physics as well. you have to include both sides.

                Like

                • makagutu says:

                  believing in a god is a belief that can’t be tested, and is not given to us by experience. And god, whatever god, hasn’t been defined and those who claim they exist can’t tell us anything about it. Going to the question of free will and determinism- it is possible that we could map your actions on a given series and show that the decision to act was made before you were even aware of it, would we have proved that you don’t have free will or will you still insist you have it just for practical reasons? That is, you want to feel responsible?

                  This is the part where you lost me, “we influence physics”. Please help me understand this one

                  Like

                  • themodernidiot says:

                    “believing in a god is a belief that canโ€™t be tested, and is not given to us by experience.”

                    i do not think i understand your meaning, because on the surface, this statement sounds like you’ve lost your marbles, and completely contradicts the idea of being able to show that everything i do was predetermined. the problem there is that you are starting from my decision and going backwards. you are not going forwards and watching what i’ll do next. what i’ll do might be predictable given the physical conditions i’m in or those leading up to it, even using the predictability of human action, but there is always a choice i could make that was new and unexpected. that’s the beauty of imagination. no one expected we’d ever fly, but we can. no one expected after years of racial modeling that we’d ever evolve to have a black man in the WH, but we do. physics is universal and constant, but it makes these ever changing combinations that change circumstance. that’s what’s cool about life on earth. it evolves.

                    if the wind pushes on me, my presence affects where it moves. i am a chunk of matter that can affect air flow. same with all the elements. as i change nature, it changes in response, thus the physics (again although constants) shift an morph into something new to accommodate me. if i pollute your rivers, invent a new super drug, find a new atom, i’ve impacted things. i chose to impact things.

                    i don’t want or need to feel responsible, i just am responsible for the space i take up and the stuff i touch. we all should be. trying to tell people they aren’t leads to problems of people not heeding the damage they inflict upon things, and how as you’ve said they change events down the line.

                    Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Let me explain what I mean by

                      believing in a god is a belief that canโ€™t be tested, and is not given to us by experience

                      in reference to your response that believing we don’t have free will is like believing in god. I contended that these two beliefs are different on the basis that I think it is possible to devise tests that allows us to see the causal links of a given definition whereas the idea of god is just an idea. It is an hypothesis given us by pure reason and not experience since experience relates to our interaction with the sensuous world. Please tell me where I have lost my marbles here.

                      How you react will in a given circumstance, if the situation is different, be new, it doesn’t follow from that that it is a choice. It only means you have acted differently in a given scenario. The question here is, do you think all things being constant, would you have acted differently? The examples you cite e.g having a black man in the WH are not questions of free will but of ideas. The idea of having a black in the WH was a question of probabilities, and one depends on a few things one of them being the presence of black people in the population or else this idea would not even have been conceived.

                      If you could look at my last response, I didn’t imply you want to feel responsible. I asked if it was possible, through whatever means, to show convincingly there is was no free will, would you accept it or would you still want to maintain the idea [of free will] for practical reasons?

                      Lastly on affecting physics, I could pump water upwards, but this would not change the basic principle that water will follow the route of least resistance. This principle is universal but I admit that we can modify the behaviour of particular things in nature in a given local condition but we can’t modify the laws of physics for example I could throw an object upwards but it will still come down.

                      Like

  5. john zande says:

    1. No. There was no beginning as nothing can be nothing. As Kraus says, watch nothing for long enough and something will happen.
    2. Nope. The closest thing we have to an immortal something are the atoms we borrow… but even they cease to be as they’re fused into heavier elements. A physicist friend told me there is scope for an atom to record information in quantum numbers (I donโ€™t know exactly what that means), but retrieval of that information would be next to impossible.
    3. At moments, yes. Mostly no.
    4. Nope, not required.

    Like

  6. Ishaiya says:

    Can I justify anything that I’m about to conjecture? Not to you or anyone else, but then I don’t believe it is necessary. Knowledge is just that, make of it what you will. If you find it useful then it is valid.
    Here goes…
    1. I think yes of a sort, though I think it isn’t physical in the way that we understand it, so no. I used to have panic attacks when I was a young child whenever I thought about what lay beyond the universe. It was inconceivable to me that it had a limit. Something had to be beyond it.
    2. I too have never been too comfortable with the term soul, but if it refers to a layer of consciousness, or conscious focus then we have many.
    3. Are we free agents? Yes. My reasoning is, why would you not want to believe that? What purpose does it serve to limit your capabilities by holding limiting beliefs?
    4. No, not outside of ourselves. We are about as supreme as it gets, and then some. As human beings I don’t think we are the sum of our parts, but a manifestation, a version of many parts. I do believe in parallel universes, I do believe in multiple lives and lifetimes, I do believe in counterparts. Again, it suits my model of thinking and is about not limiting myself.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Dear, I have a small problem with saying knowledge is just that since I think we as human beings are interested in justified true beliefs or else we would take all conjectures as representative of truth.
      2. Is the soul/ consciousness permanent or destructible for this is what is at the core of the question and is there a way of knowing if this is true or false?
      3. my question is two fold. i) do you think the cause-effect continuum explains things in nature ii) are we free from its effects and how do we know this? And to answer you, I don’t think accepting we aren’t free agents limits our abilities, it only means I act as I do because it is how I become, nothing more nothing less.
      1. thinking about the extents or boundaries of the universe is inconceivable to our minds. On this we are in agreement.

      Like

      • Ishaiya says:

        Please do not condescend to me by calling me dear. You asked the questions I answered. Knowledge is not hard concrete fact, it is theoretical in nature. A concept of the mind. Our desire to justify everything is a nervous twitch if you like that is fuelled by self doubt. That is what I think and what I know, and I certainly do not expect you to agree, nor do I wish you to agree unless you have arrived at those conclusions for yourself. You may never arrive at those conclusions. And so what?
        As far as I am concerned truth is what you decide it is. As I said my model of thinking works for me and that is all that matters to me. As you are part of my created reality then I accept that there are things that I have to learn from you, and I will decide what that is in due course. I appreciate your friendship and your input but I don’t really desire to justify my opinions in the name of a greater force, be it religion, or science, or established philosophical thinking. When I am lying on my death bed I wish to look back at my life and feel as though I have lived it well. When faced with death, and I have been many times, life acquires a certain sharp focus. It has become important to live life to the best of my abilities, and to eliminate all negative and restricting beliefs, because ultimately what limits you does you no good. So the choice is yours to believe something that has worth and brings you peace and happiness. I know you enjoy debating, I do too. But I will not put my head on the chopping block in order to have it stricken from my body without due reason.
        I wish you a peaceful and happy day, and may it be a long one my friend.

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          I have no reason to be condescending towards you or anyone else for that matter. I meant no harm and apologise if it came out that way.

          My asking the question is not to put in a box of any -ism but as a way to explore the basis or foundations of knowledge and where we are in [dis]agreement I can point out and ask for a clarification or explain why I disagree. I agree with you that our chasing after truth or requiring justification could be a result of evolution. What is the use of all this? Maybe nothing or maybe it helps to build on the available information that those coming after us can use to further the good of humanity in whichever way that is possible.

          I like your goal in life. In fact I think our goals are similar and maybe for my being vain I want it written on my graveyard wherever that will be, the world is better because he lived.

          Have a pleasant day too hope you did manage to finish the commission and are working on a new portrait.

          Like

          • Ishaiya says:

            The world is a better place because you live Noel. My world is a better place. I enjoy your friendship and that is worth more than any -ism. I think my biggest realisation has been that even if my beliefs are wrong, if I have the option to empower myself and believe in something that fires my creativity, my imagination and my passion for life, then it’s worth believing in. Why be unhappy if you can choose not to be? I’ve spent so much of my life in turmoil because I felt powerless to change it, but it changed the moment I realised that I didn’t have to subscribe to that anymore. If I felt empowered then others around me felt empowered too, and that is a wonderful thing to watch. It’s wonderful to be empowered by someone who exudes confidence.
            So I stay positive no matter what, even as now I feel that I am just about done with it all ๐Ÿ™‚ (yeah right!). My life could change irrevocably in at any moment, so I choose to appreciate what I have because I can.

            I wish you a pleasant day too. My commission is done and yes I’m working on a new portrait.
            Your friend
            Maria

            Like

            • makagutu says:

              You can’t be saying that when am just getting to know you! You still have a long time around here, unless you met some doctor who gave you a different story ๐Ÿ™‚

              I have learnt to be positive about life, to live it only as Noel can and most of all, I wouldn’t want to be a slave of the dead, the living or the unborn. I live this once and whatever duration it’s gonna be, it must be a pleasant ride.

              Thanks for reading and commenting. I value our friendship too and you are a great inspiration and teacher. Don’t get impatient with me when the questions appear as if I want you in any specific -ism.

              Like

              • Ishaiya says:

                My impatience is to do with the gruelling discussions I’ve been participating in of late. I don’t like being called ‘Dear’ because it makes me feel old and infirm! ๐Ÿ˜€ Cultural quirk I suppose. I’m sorry if I came across a little sharp.
                I can only hope that I have a long time ahead of me still, but my health is a tricky thing, and it near enough caught me out again very recently. I accept that my time may be short it’s part and parcel of having a heart that doesn’t function as well as it should sometimes, it forms part of my day to day reality.
                Thank you for your honesty, it means a lot.

                Like

                • makagutu says:

                  I understand why you don’t want to be called dear. And it is always good talking with you:-P

                  I hope your heart gives you many more days.

                  Like

                  • Ishaiya says:

                    My heart will give me as many days as it needs to I suppose my dear! ;P

                    Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Agreed, I think all we can do here is to have a positive outlook and to see ourselves as being on the stage. The act will be as long as it wishes to be, then we return to mother nature!

                      Like

                    • Ishaiya says:

                      Yep agreed, we all have many parts to play in the day to day drama that ensues. It does help if you are prepared to change hat and costume frequently, it makes things more interesting.

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      You have many costumes my friend. Master artist, teacher, philosopher, mother and much more. It is indeed a pleasure to make your acquaintance ๐Ÿ˜›

                      Like

                    • Ishaiya says:

                      And yours with your equally flamboyant change of costumes ๐Ÿ˜‰

                      Like

  7. I do appreciate the link and continuation of the discussion but I cannot claim to have made those definitions… apparently I did not attribute appropriately as they are straight from Wikipedia… mea culpa.

    Like

  8. I feel obliged…

    1a – I’m with Krauss, nothing we know about is not nothing.
    1b – Any limit that might be imposed may have more to do with the shape of the universe we know than how much space there is to expand into. The matter of the universe we know may indeed be folding back on itself. These are things we do not yet know.
    2 – A soul as has been discussed in philosophy and theology does not exist. There is no reason that I am aware of to believe other than monism.
    3 – Yes, we are free agents, freely interacting with the universe around us – or that part which we can physically interact with.
    4 – There is no evidence for a supreme being. As we readily dismiss the idea of an invisible red fire breathing dragon for lack of evidence, so too can we dismiss the idea of a supreme being… until such time as there is credible evidence to support such belief. Just as surely as Christians know the Hindus are wrong, so can we non-believers know there is no creator god/supreme being. On the chance that you are asking in terms of deism, We cannot know of that which does not have credible evidence. In as much as we can know anything, science is the only reliable way we know of to know things. We can declare that many things that can’t be tested by science exist but this does not mean that they do. It seems that only in theology do we allow such frivolity. When you go to buy a car, you want a guarantee that the dealer has the car you are purchasing… without proof you’re not going to fork over cash.

    Like

  9. Arkenaten says:

    Simply put. We are part of the universe. If the universe is NOT the result of divine will then, obviously neither are we.
    Thus, we are part of this randomness and have free will.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      how do we know that the universe is not part of a will outside of it divine or not.
      How can there be free will if it is all random

      Like

      • Arkenaten says:

        Well, now we venture into the realm of philosophy once more.
        I don’t do too well with such speculation.The thought that I might be part of some ‘controlled experiment’, no matter how it manifests is anathema.
        Based on physical evidence: such as me deciding to write this post, I conclude that I have free will.
        And until my long life batteries run out or a great big hand appears from the sky and switches me off I’ll run with that thought ….or delusion!

        Like

  10. themodernidiot says:

    We’ve run out of space, so I’ll put my response to your response here. ๐Ÿ™‚
    With physics, everything is constant, and predictable. But it has the cool property of change as well. So, like animals, we choose what we do by instinct in most cases. Unlike animals, we can choose based on the abstract, which is built on what we know. What is god other than an image we’ve created from our knowledge of the tangible.

    But all this digging into physics and reaction covers up the basic premise of choosing things. If you choose it, you were free to do so. it is your will to do it. I really don’t think it’s something we need to really question it. What would be the point of that? People do, but I still don’t understand why. If you believe god controls you, you technically wouldn’t have free will. When you decide what socks to wear that day, apparently you do so because god is your fashion coordinator. However, most people do not believe that, even if they believe in a controlling god. otherwise why would they spend so much time telling you how to do things?

    I think it’s a shite argument, and an incredible waste of time to wonder about whether my choice is really mine; so I choose to say, yeah, it’s mine. It doesn’t matter what relevant physical reactions shape it, I can always opt to do nothing at all and rot where I sit.

    Free will implies possession. Why wouldn’t I possess it? We cannot argue personal freedoms then deny free will. Free will just exists, like physics. So why piss around with arguing against it? No matter what one chooses to believe, one still chooses that belief. No other argument against free will can hold if you argue that it exists. Hell, just arguing against it argues for its existence, for it has to exist if it does not.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      My friend, first, thanks for your response but I think you have lost it in the last sentence. Last I had this discussion about god’s existence, they said the fact that we can say god doesn’t exist, god must exist or we will not have the argument.

      We can argue for personal freedoms even if there was no free will. I will say you have a right to this or that not because you have free will but because you are you with unique desires and are an independent being. This in no way affects the argument against free will.

      Am almost certain that you can’t choose to do nothing and just rot because it is against your nature.

      Like

      • themodernidiot says:

        No, people do nothing and rot all the time. It is not against everyone’s nature to do nothing, perhaps yours, but definitely not everyone’s.

        If I had no free will, rights would be irrelevant.

        Like

  11. cocacolafiend says:

    Have you read Sam Harris’s book on Free Will? I read a small portion of it as my brother asked for it as a Christms present. The part of it I read articulkately explained how I’d really felt about the issue but had never been able to put into words.

    Why people do the things they do is one of the reasons I rejected religion. It makes no sense to judge people who are merely a product of the environment God decided to put them in or influenced by the body God gave them.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I have the book somewhere in my to read folders but I haven’t gotten to reading it as yet.

      There is a problem with religion, they claim god gave man free will and in the same sentence claim too that he will condemn men for taking a particular choice. It makes no sense.

      Like

  12. Real real me says:

    First, you’ve been very active on your blog, my friend, the questions make you think profoundly.
    1) I believe that this material universe HAS a beginning
    2) We do have a soul, it’s what keeps us alive, it’s what makes us have feelings (Christianity holds that animals do not have soul)
    3) We are free agents and I think you, as an atheist, understand it. We have free will to decide for example whether to believe or not.
    4) You know my answer, yes, a supreme being exists.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I haven’t been very active this days though I still post regularly.
      1] as long as you hold it as a belief and not a fact, there is no problem
      2] that’s wishful thinking. There is no evidence for a soul
      3] as an atheist, the only claim I make is I lack a belief in gods. Being free agents has little to do with my atheism but my little understanding of how we act and that we are part of a larger whole governed by laws
      4] fair enough, am not going to ask you the nature of this supreme being because you and me are aware you’ll not be able to answer coherently

      Like

We sure would love to hear your comments, compliments and thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s