Tuesday, September 04, 2012

(Yet More On) the Implications of Determinism

I chose to paste this photo of a barn window
that I chose to photograph on Sunday

The issue of free will is not going to go away; indeed, it is growing bigger and bigger, by choice, as I type these words. See, e.g., the Templeton Foundation's now-ongoing and $$$-funded academic study on the nature of free will.

One matter that just won't go away is: if free will is an illusion, then how can we affirm the truth of anything, to include the theory that free will is an illusion? Physicist John Polkinghorne puts the problem this way.

"In the opinion of many thinkers, human freedom is closely connected with human rationality. If we were deterministic beings, what would validate the claim that our utterance constituted rational discourse? Would not the sounds issuing from mouths, or the marks we made on paper, be simply the actions of automata? All proponents of deterministic theories, whether social and economic (Marx), or sexual (Freud), or genetic (Dawkins and E. O. Wilson), need a covert disclaimer on their own behalf, excepting their own contribution from reductive dismissal." (Quoted in John Lennox, God and Stephen Hawking, Kindle Locations 973-977)