A Conversation for Talking About the Guide - the h2g2 Community

Free Will

Post 1

John Doe

Is there really such a thing as free will? I doubt it.

Well yes, we can choose to go out or stay at home although even this rather trivial decision may be weighed down by circumstances and environment.

To speak of free will is to deny our makeup, our attributes or origins and even our gender. All these are "givens and not chosens" as you might say.

The more that I think, and I have spent a long time thinking about it, the more I come to believe in a higher guiding hand that controls destiny. It seems that we are all assigned to a "Controller" of sorts. A super being, and here I am not talking about God, I'm talking about a lower one, a sort of Guardian that reports into the Universal Will.

Let’s examine the scientific basis that rejects determinism as in classical physics. Newton’s laws that are still used for calculating position and motion of large bodies, say that the motion and position of a body at any time can be determined by initial conditions. When we apply a force to a body we can calculate where it will be at a later time. It’s a pretty accurate law and were it not so we could not have put the men on the moon.
Therefore, the force or disturbance in circumstances determines where we will be at any time and there is little that we can do about it.

You can think all about a beautiful calm sea but if you get hit by a giant wave you’ll go where you’re thrown, like it or not.

So much for free will!

Free Will

Post 2

Yael Smith

Hmmm... I didn't exactly get the scientific reference, but then I'm rather tired right now and should probably read this another day.

I do believe in free will, you choose to have a god, or a God or whatever. It's like fairies, I suppose, if you don't believe in them they don't exist. Or the tree in the forest.

I do however think that the planet we live on might have some form of consciousness and as we're the plague that sucks the life out of it at the moment it's trying to get rid of us. Poetic justice has it, in my opinion, that we're actually helping in our own extermination by polluting our environment.

So to sum up: yes, there is such a thing as free will and even not choosing is, actually, a choice.


Free Will

Post 3

Mini Mon

i know that this convo was started ages ago but i've just joined the site and thought i'd just quickly add somthing...

i'm not sure about all this destiny/fait stuff, i think that if your life was mapped out for you then the choices that you make would change the outcome...
however the choices that you do make could be due to circumstance and you were always going to make that decision but i beleive that comes down to nature rather than a supreme other or gaurdian as you said, after all what we beleive is in our nature and in the end nature will always beat us, as everyone comes to a natural end, on that point i agree with you elly we do contribute yet the planet/ nature has the final say.

free will probably not


Free Will

Post 4


Welcome to the site! Glad you can join us. I've left a message for you on your Space (just click on your name to get back there) so say hello.

Shout if you need me,

smiley - fairy

Free Will

Post 5


Free will and nature - im pretty sure there is some kind of a watcher over us - something that perhaps has a program.
Most people feel there is something, but man being what he is, has used this to create a system which has been used in many and varying ways to control us - namely religion.
The idea of good and evil being punished or rewarded may not be as far from reality as it appears - nearly every animal specis has had its day - molluscs,reptiles,insects and now man - every time some kind of natural disaster has ended the reign - intellegent insects, molluscs capable of holding a conversation or even having a civilisation - what a load of rot - that would first of all make them as important as us --- but supposing there is an element which our conditioning does not allow us to see.
We make rules to understand the world by, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the language we have, the restrictions we have of concepts are limiting us severly in our understanding of nature and the surrounding universe.
Even here on this --- open forum - there is a powerful tendancy to pressure others to conformity.
Free will - im free are you?

Free Will

Post 6


I think we exist for a while because of our species has one over-riding purpose. That purpose is to procreate. We must continue our species and we are designed, along with all the other species, to do just that. And only that.
We have changed along the way (Darwinian style) but only the best/strongest/most successful survive and prosper to pass on their genes.
We cannot raise children if we starve so we have no choice but to eat. Those that do starve lose their place in the gene pool.
We have eventually become so good at providing the basics of life that we can now afford time to study. We can ponder about our choices or free will but we must still eat. This makes a mockery of free will because we are not free to make bad choices or decisions because the consequence may be death.
It is possible that bad choices about our environment may seriously harm the species but if we are lucky the strongest/wisest/most capable will survive and not make the same mistake again.
Or maybe we will end. Ultimately unsuccessful as a species and our fossilised bones pored over by whatever species comes next.
So lets continue exercising our free will over which brand of coffee we drink and nurture our children into whatever future they make or endure. And they will do the same.


Free Will

Post 7


As a rational, well indoctrinated human being i would agree with you - the purpose of any specis is to reproduce. Our system is built for that - however it is very finite.
As a rebel, as someone who likes to think that vandalism is creative, that is very creative, i like to disagree.
The ability to create something unique and startling has to come from somewhere else, belief, the belief that it is possible -
otherwise everything descends to the banal and dull.

Free Will

Post 8

Mac the Internally Distracted

Hi Yael,
"The plague that is sucking the life out of the planet"???
What a dreadful opinion you have about yourself and the rest of humanity.
Humanity is the current dominant species but we are a real component of the planet, neither invader nor parasite, we belong here and have lived here and will continue to for as long as the conditions on the planet allow us to live.
We did not make our lives and we are not destroying out life, our behaviour is little different from any other animal which ever is, was or will yet be.
Your statement denies the right of humanity to exist and denies any idea of freedom or free will.
How sad to be like this, please just enjoy life and living for the true personal experience it is and allow the rest of us to enjoy the world for what it is. Be Free.

Free Will

Post 9



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