Friday, August 15, 2008

Science Rejects Free Will

This article (link) is not going to convince anyone, and perhaps it shouldn't. The article basically says that a team of scientists have discovered that they can determine people's decisions (at least some simple ones) before the people themselves can determine their decisions. That suggests something to the effect of determinism. While I enjoy the article, and it is helpful to sort of tweak the noses of my Libertarian Free Will (LFW) advocating friends, there are some problems with it, and I'll be up front about them:

1) Science is notoriously erroneous. It is typically based on induction, and consequently it is frequently revised as new evidence arrives and the old inductions cannot accommodate them.

2) Even within science, the study of the human mind is usually viewed as a "soft" science. It's very difficult to ensure proper controls for studies, and there are some studies that have purported to verify very questionable hypotheses, such as telepathy/clairvoyance.

3) Science can only deal directly with the physical. We have reason to believe that at least some aspect of decisions are conducted in the spiritual realm. Thus, we would not expect that science could fully address the issue of decision-making.

Despite all those caveats, the article is interesting and is something that LFW advocates should be prepared to address.


1 comment:

Gordan Runyan said...

"something that LFW advocates should be prepared to address."

I wouldn't hold my breath, T-Fan. If after all this time they still haven't addressed the more major issue of having zero Bible behind the theory of LFW, this article's probably not going to be addressed for a while.