Humans Have Free Will

    The materialist view, taken to its natural conclusion, asserts that there is no free will. Neuroscience typically assumes this view, which it inherits from physics. It is reasonable to argue this way when discussing ants that cooperate for the greater good of the colony. It is reasonable to use it when discussing why a mouse chooses to go one way in a maze rather than another. It is necessary, but not quite as reasonable, to use it when discussing which medications we should give a person with severe depression. It is not necessary, even harmful, to use it when discussing what motivates a sane person to kill another or sacrifice his or her life for another. It becomes harmful because it turns us into animals with no reason and no responsibility. That is, it states that people are no more than complicated ants. I have shown that humans have both a physical and a non-physical side. Because we know that the laws of physics do not take into account humans' non-physical side (and are therefore fundamentally incomplete), there is no particular objection remaining to humans having free will. However, we must still ask, can we argue that humans do have free will?

    Look again at the knowledge argument. How do I know what it is like to see red? That is, how can I have a conscious awareness of redness? I can actually see red. If I was color blind from birth, you could never explain to me what it is like to see red. Similarly, I know what it is like to choose freely. I am familiar with the sensation of free will. If I had never been free, I would not know what it is like; and you could not explain it to me. Essentially, having free will is a necessary requirement for knowing what it is like to be free. Because we know what it is like to be free, we are free.

    Freedom implies choice. Choice implies that there is a better and worse choice, because if choices do not lead to better or worse outcomes, then freedom is purely illusory. We define better choices to be good and worse choices to be evil. This knowledge of the existence of good and evil (which is really the existence of freedom) informs our understanding of God. After that, we can ask in the next section how we should use our free will.

This page was last changed on 2011/08/28