Do some people really have a clue what the fuck they are talking about?
I left this comment at a blog discussing how the ‘fact’ that free will is an illusion can help to better society, or at least the treatment of certain individuals:
The thing about acknowledging that we lack free will is that it does not lead to the type of behaviour Coyne and others imagine.
It leads to more selfish, less considerate, behaviour. Suddenly, we are absolved of moral consequence and may as well just kill everything we don’t agree with.
It only follows that if we do not have free will, anything we do was/is inevitable anyways, no? Do you think we would even bother trying to decide how to treat criminals and deranged and sick people if we think we don’t have the ability to make decisions to change or act differently in the first place?
How about the realization that we don’t choose the behaviours and direction we take that give our lives meaning? If we don’t have free will, we don’t have free will in any conceptualization of the idea, long term or acutely.
In fact, what exactly is anyone talking aboutin relation to picking actions or directions or understandings as individuals or society if we can’t in the first place? How can you talk about altering individuals or society or attitudes in any preferred or imagined manner if we can’t make free choices in the first place?
Just watch TV or lock yourself in a closet and pretend you are the King of the universe, for all the good it would do you, if your life is nothing more than a trip in a roller coaster ride following a track that you really cannot steer away from?
Sorry, I can’t find the stuff on researching how the belief that we don’t possess free will influences behavior, but it was at Science Daily. Subjects kept more for themselves, and helped others that needed it less, when they were told that they didn’t have free will.
I would caution people like Jerry Coyne, and you, Veronica, to think very carefully about the consequences of learning that we don’t have free will.
Of course it can lead to more humanitarian considerations in treated others in certain situations, that is without question, but at what point do others stop taking you seriously anymore when you insist on an approach to behavior that is so obviously contrary to everyone’s common sense and experience?
As always, there ensues very interesting discussion like the one at Canadian Atheist