Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H


Main Points - I choose is to redefined as I wish therefore I do.   Whether you are free or not that is all that matters - the theory of freedom is nothing compared to that.  Free or not it is only wishing that counts.  If free will is important and good then it is more important to be regarded as free than to be free or to be treated as free than to be free.

Could it be that free will, the existence of which is taken for granted by nearly all religions and by the state, does not exist? Could billions of people who accept its reality be wrong?
“You may choose to act the way you wish, but you do not choose the way you wish to act” Barbara Smoker. Another way she puts it is, "While we may choose to do what we prefer, We cannot chose what we prefer to do".
COMMENT, You cannot control how you will feel about things. If you fall in love or are depressed there is nothing you can do about it. If you try and help yourself out of depression, it only works not because of you but because there were other feelings that were there to deal with them and they too were feelings that happen to you but which you didn’t make.  How we feel about things causes how we act and the “choices” we make. If you really love your child you will not be able to kill her because of how you feel. Even if you have free will you cannot use it for your feelings control it and it is because they do that that you think you feel free! To correct Smoker we must have, You may “choose” to act the way you wish, but you do not choose the way you wish to act. The choosing to act the way we wish is only an illusion. We can do other than what we do because of the way our feelings control us. No matter what we do it is in response to some feeling that cries for gratification. Sometimes that feeling cries for a painful gratification such as when you admit you stole $400 though you don’t have to admit it.
Another way to put what Smoker said is to say, That you cannot do other than what your nature makes you do. It is objected that nobody believes this for a paedophile for example has the nature of a paedophile and yet it makes no sense to say that he cannot help abusing children. But it is possible to have the nature of a paedophile who will abuse or the nature to have a paedophile nature that does not draw one to abuse. So we are back where we started.
In the absence of proof or evidence for free will, we are entitled to deny it. The burden of proof is on those who say we have free will.
Barbara Smoker argues that free choice is often confused by philosophers with free will. What can she mean? She says free choice means you are not forced by other people or what is outside of you. Free will is the idea that you are not programmed by past and present circumstances to do what you do now.
The first disproof of free will
Determinism means that our will is caused by our past and present and so just as cutting somebody’s head off kills them so we cannot do other than what we do.
Indeterminism means our will is uncaused by anything but then if we don’t cause it then it is not our will!
Do we cause our choices as compatibilism, the view that free will and determinism are compatible says? One interpretation of this view says that determinism is absolutely true but mistaken in saying that because what is in our minds makes us do what we do that this means we are not free (page 159, Ethics: Key Concepts in Philosophy). In other words, even though deterministic forces made me feel I freely chose my coffee this morning I am free though I couldn't choose any different. This is simply pretending that an unfree action can be called free.
If we cause them we need no other causes. And if we cause them without other causes then that is indeterminism. Confused? Good. you should be for compatiblism makes no sense.
How can we be free when the two options, indeterminism and determinism have no room for the concept of free will? How can compatibilism defend free will when the two components, determinism and indeterminism are mixed to create it and deny it themselves? They cannot any more than water and wine can make cement.

For compatibilists to hold that being caused to do something by your past and by your present environment agrees with free will is believed not because it is possible but because they think or want to think we have free will and they cannot deny causation so they hold the two in paradox and call the result compatibilism though there is no need for the paradox for there is no proof for free will or evidence. To say we are free because of the consequences of denying freedom is like saying that a paedophile priest never touched children for his family would never get over it if he was guilty and convicted. But that’s the nature of the evidence that is used for compatibilism for it makes no sense and has to be mere wishful thinking.
Time refutes free will

As William of Ockham taught, the moment I make a choice I am not free to avoid the choice because the past has led me ineluctably to it. So if I sin at moment X, I am not free to avoid sin and I haven’t incurred it at moment X for I am not free and cannot help it. Ockham dubiously solved this problem for he wanted to believe in sin by advancing the nonsensical solution that I must have sinned before moment X. So you the sin happens before it happens and not after! He was desperate. If I decide to sin that happens only in the present. That is obvious. I can no more incur the same single sin before I incur it than I can incur it after I incur it. I cannot sin and so I cannot do what is immoral and if I cannot do what is immoral I have no free will.
Desire refutes free will

When you unconsciously put one foot past the other you are said to be responsible because you knew what you were doing. But if you are sleepwalking you are not responsible because you are unconscious.

We do not have free will because when we make a so-called decision we do not know what we are doing and you need to be aware to be responsible. We might be free if we could concentrate on several things per moment.

Some would say that when you walk down the street and are reading the paper that you can be free in walking and not know what you are doing. They say you freely walk down the street or that you are using your freewill to walk down it. You freely intend to walk down it. But it is just a part of your brain that obeys a past command from you that does it while you engage your consciousness with another activity. It is like you commanding a computer to print and it doing it while you organise the filing cabinet. You might have freely chosen to walk and your brain obeys you though you no longer freely command it to for it is working by a command in the past. You program the brain to carry on without being directed consciously by the will. Yet it is said that I am walking intentionally. It is nonsense to say I am intending to walk now when I am not aware of anything but the paper for intention is something I have to be aware of. The intention that caused the walking is in the past and it programmed a part of my brain to carry on without it and it does not exist any more.

When I make a choice, it is the strongest desire I am aware of that moment that causes me to make that choice. So, I only do what I want to do under the circumstances. Free will is the power to do other than what I would like to do plus the power to do what I want. Since I am egoistic (not egotistic which means selfishness that abuses others) and incapable of selfless love I do not have free will. And if I only please myself there would be no point in me having free will either.

Religion itself does not sincerely believe in free will because it says that we only do what we think is right. This renders evil to be insanity rather than deliberate badness though religion insistently denies it and still strangely still says it is insanity. Religion says we cannot have free will to do good unless we have it to do evil as well. But if evil is insanity then it follows that we are only free when we do good and should be set to do good only and have no desire to do evil implanted in us by nature.

We know that we can only do what we feel or think is good, so evil is a sickness that commands our concern and compassion as much as any other sickness does. Evil is not a sign of strength but of weakness. Evil is not a sign of cleverness but of foolishness. It is not a sign of badness or criminal responsibility but insanity.

Religion says that when you sin you damage and hurt yourself and yet many of its victims allow anger against sin. Jesus often got mad. But if you damage and hurt yourself where does the sympathy come in? You need sympathy if sin is its own punishment or part of the punishment. And yet when it is self-inflicted there should be no sympathy! To damage yourself is worse than to damage another person for we all know we care about ourselves most and love others not for themselves but ourselves and can’t help it from which it follows that sympathy for the sinner should be predominant. It implies the person hurt should not resent you but pity you.

Some have argued that determinism misunderstands the nature of mental phenomena. Feeling is a mental event and they admit that this occurs in the mind. But then they insist that that which makes the difference between voluntary and involuntary acts is not a mental event for you cannot feel anything in your mind. This implies that the source is something outside what is determined by nature. But nature could determine this source too. There is more to nature than what we see. And we know we have subconscious feelings that we are not aware of and these influence our actions. In short, they think the force that makes us follow one feeling and not another is not a feeling itself and is something spiritual. That is untrue for the crave for happiness is a feeling and is the reason why one feeling is gone for and not another.

The doctrine that when a being with free will does evil just because they think it is good (page 71, Moral Philosophy; chapter 95, Summa, Book One) is really a repudiation of free will. You can’t even say evil is deliberate ignorance. Ignorance is bad and you can only be ignorant on purpose if you are attracted by the good side of the ignorance not the ignorance itself. Choosing to be ignorant could not be meant to be evil if you can only choose what seems good.
The doctrine of free will assumes that only rational or good creatures can exist. In what sense? In the sense that even when we are evil we mean to be good and are being rational as we know it. But be this true or not, it need not be true and you only need your eyes opened to see that. The doctrine is founded on a circular argument and circular arguments are not only stupid but downright evil for they logically undermine reason totally. A real free agent could choose something simply because it is evil. The doctrine of free will is anti-rational therefore it is anti free will for you cannot use the power to choose good or believe in good if you reject reason to believe in free will. Free will is supposed to be the power to do what is really good or really real good so it is supposed to exalt rationality but we see that it does not and tries to stunt it. If your starting point in philosophy is absurd the whole edifice you built on it is as well even if it looks rational for anything that is based on an irrational assumption is irrational itself because of the foundation it rests on.

Socrates and Plato said that all virtue is intellectual which implies that nobody is to blame when they do wrong (page 70, Moral Philosophy). In other words, if you are smart and know what you are doing you will not do wrong and if you do it is stupidity which is not your fault. In response to this, the Church says that though it is true that stupidity causes evil actions it is still a mistake to say that virtue is all intellectual. It says:

A. The will does not always follow what the mind knows to be right.

B. The voice of reason can be made faint under the grip of emotion and weakness.

C. The mind has to know what is right and impose its will on the body which rebels (page 73-74).

B and C really say the same thing that the body clouds the mind. That has no relevance to answering the problem for virtue can be intelligence through and through and still be twisted or silenced by powerful forces outside the intellect or thinking function. For example, when you are scared out of your wits, the intelligence is silenced for you cannot think. One of the oldest tricks used by religion is to give you reasons for believing in something that do not work in the hope that you will not think for we all tend to oversimplify out of laziness and or busyness so that the quantity of arguments for their position looks convincing if you don’t study it out.

The first consideration, A, says that the will does not always follow what the mind knows to be right. It is invalid for it makes a profound logical error. Virtue is intelligence and that remains true even if the passions are unruly. You can believe you know something. But if it is untrue then you only thought you knew it. Knowing is a psychological state. The mind always follows what it senses it knows to be true in the sense of experiencing that it knows. However, only an objective standard can show if it really knew this.
A computer remains intelligent even if you put a virus in it for what the virus does is make the computer intelligently misinterpret itself. A man whose mind is set to think that 2+2=5 can be the most intelligent man alive. He is just wrong but that does not make him stupid. He has the virtue of intelligence. The Church is saying that though it is true that you can only do evil because you turn stupid, part of you knows what you are doing when you do wrong so you are guilty.
What happens when you know that something is right and do not do it but do the opposite? You have got a desire for it to be wrong and not right. The reason is that it would be more fun if it were wrong. The result is that what your intelligence sees as right is changed by the fact that the desire has appeared and made good look less good just like the man who sees 2+2=5 sees 2+2=4 as bad. The evil act is caused by a computer virus in the brain if you like. The more evil the act you perform the more deluded you were. So the worse the act the less responsible you are if you have any responsibility or free will at all. What happens is a defect in the intelligence hits it and you do wrong. You cease to know as well as you did before that the act was wrong. You may tell yourself as you do it that it is wrong but you do not really believe that anymore for you have to see it as good or believe it is good to do it.
To say as the Church does that evil is not a thing but a perverted good and that if evil were a thing there would be no solution for the problem of evil (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, page 132) and then to claim that virtue is not intelligence is to say that evil is the absence of intelligence which makes no sense as we have seen. Evil must be a real thing and not just a perverted good or perhaps it is not a perverted good at all but only a thing.

The main problem with A is that all our actions are caused by our feelings and our thoughts and the feelings are the most powerful element. Therefore A is the same as B and C and is to be condemned with them.

If you read no other discussion in this book and read this one you will have all the proof you need that free will is nonsense and tends to result in vindictive rationalisations.

We can’t choose evil because it is evil but because we think it is good. Religion admits this though it obviously refutes the free will doctrine. But when you choose anything, it is not chosen because it is good or evil for when you only have one thought in your mind the very milli-second when the will acts, you are not thinking of it as good or evil. Suppose you had free will. If two choices were equally good and bad you would not be able to choose if you choose only what seems to be good to you. You would seize up. But if we are programmed we cannot seize up. If we are programmed then there is no such thing as real choice.

Finally, we love the desire we have for the thing we desire and not the thing itself. This is the doctrine of Maxim 175 of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. And it is absolutely true. Some will find it silly for it seems to imply that you desire the desire and desire that desire and so on ad infinitum which we know by experience is not true. All Nietzsche meant was that anything we want it is not it we want but the happiness we think we are going to get from it. The one desire for happiness is behind it all and so there is only one built in desire for if you desire to be happy. We have no free will to care about God or man or ourselves and all we care about is our happiness which is why religion is sheer bigoted hypocritical nonsense. You want money? It is not the money you want at all but how you feel about it. You want it for gratification. It is not money that causes you to feel that way- you just do.

Paradox halts free will

Suppose you have no proof for or against free will and believe in it or assume that it is true. Or suppose that it is a paradox and so you don’t know if it makes sense or not for you can’t prove its existence. Examine yourself. Are you really sure that you are free? You won’t be sure. And you are so sure then why do you practice so much determinism? For example, you always assume that such and such an action will lead to a person doing X and another will result in Y. For example, if you offer Boris a baked Alaska or meringue you can know that your act will make him choose meringue.
Free will is no good to you when you are not sure if you have got it or not. You need to consciously use your freedom to be responsible for your acts. I cannot be free even if I have free will when I don’t know if I have got it. Christians will accuse me of dishonesty but this is a slur. They will say that when a man can see he still sees even if he is not sure if he is really seeing the object. They will say that you use your free will even if you don’t believe in or remember it. But the man physically sees the object but in a sense he does not see it for he does not believe it is there. He doesn't see it for he refuses to take it in.

The disproof from consciousness

The existence of free will can be undeniably refuted. To be responsible for an action, I have to know what I am doing the very moment I am doing it. But I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. The moment I will something it is one thought in my mind that makes me do it. I am not conscious of my motives so I do not know what I am doing in that particular moment. I cannot be responsible for what I do therefore determinism is true.

Everyone who has examined their conscience is aware of this truth that there is no free will because that job requires examination of whether or not you were conscious of what you were doing the moment you acted badly. Even those who do a less thorough job would realise that at the very least they don’t know if they have got it or not. Nobody can say we do evil freely and fail to be unfair.

Free will is one hundred percent disproved. There is no question about it.

Hume said that when he looked for his self or what made him a person he could find nothing but only a perception. But you have to have a self before you can have perception for there has to be something to have the perception. Hume’s argument that there was no self but only a bundle of perceptions would eliminate free will if it were valid.
The disproof from egoism

Altruism is doing good for no other reason than for another person’s benefit without seeking anything for yourself. It is sacrifice or something you don’t want to do and it hurts you. Egoism is doing whatever is best for yourself and means helping others because you want to do it and enjoy it and it is really about just loving yourself. The two are opposites and are opposed because when you make the “choice” that directly results in the action you can’t have both motives at the one time. If you carry a stranger ten miles to the hospital and seek nothing back you have in fact got something back. You wanted to experience doing this difficult thing and that gratified you. Analysing the act proves there is no altruism in the act. Yet it would be taken by wishful thinkers to show a combination of altruism and egoism.

Altruism is absolutely impossible because when you “choose” something it is the strongest desire you are conscious of at that moment that makes you do it. And you wouldn’t be doing it only to fulfil or relieve that desire to make you happy. Even if you desire to suffer for some good you only desire to suffer because you see and feel the suffering as the lesser evil. Sometimes we want to suffer to experience it or to remind ourselves of how great the joys of life are or just to feel that we are not driven by pleasure-seeking all the time. Examine yourself and this will become clear. 
People may object that doing good because of the desire is not the same as doing good to satisfy the desire. But then you are doing it because you feel like it and not because of other people. Thus it is selfish or egoistic. And their argument ignores the fact that you are only aware of one moment at a time and the desire you have in one moment determines what you will do the next.

So we have no free will to be altruistic.

If we have free will we only have it to choose between different types of self-indulgence.

  We cannot choose to love other people for we only value ourselves but we can choose to do good to them. We only value them for ourselves, which means we really just value ourselves.

The view that free will is for deciding between self and others is mad. If I can only choose for self-indulgence, then it follows that I only go for what I see as the best for myself. I cannot help my desires. Even when they change it was because I had the pre-determined desire to change so I could not help changing. Free will in the sense they mean is meaningless and impossible. It can only be true if altruism is possible. This would imply that altruism alone is moral no matter how much harm it does for it is what we are naturally meant to practice for free will was given for its production. Egoism would be like trying to destroy free will. If altruism is bad so is the free will hypothesis and altruism is rotten.

Are we free because we feel free?

People think they have free will because they feel free. You feel free when you are drunk though you are not. A drug is affecting your mind. The main argument for free will, the reason so many who should know better can't discard it, is that we are led to think that we seem to be told by our experience that we are free. We seem to feel that we have different options and that nothing programs us to choose one of them and not the others.
Feelings prove nothing. If I feel that Jesus is God that does not make me right. You can be programmed by nature to feel free. And we are for we simply cannot be free.
Even free willists know that we can feel free and not be free like when we are mad or when we have a lucid dream that seems very real and when we are making decisions in that dream for even they agree that these are not decisions or choices for most of the brain has been closed down. Dreams prove that free will is only an assumption.

Does progress refute determinism?

It is said that if we were not free we would not make progress. That is an odd argument for progress has to be made in one form or other for us to even survive in the first place. For example, even a caveman eating, that is progress!  If that kind of progress is possible so is progress as in man leaving the caves to build houses.


Is free will a form of progress?  Yes - to have something and use it is progress in itself.  In what way?  Even to do evil is to do something and to experiences something.  Doing and experiencing are still good in themselves even when used to do bad for it is not the power to do or to experience that is the problem.  It is how you use them.


A computer that always performs at the same level of efficiency can contain an element waiting to work that makes it improve. It does not need free will to do that.  A dog can learn tricks sometimes on his own and nobody says a dog has free will. Often our memory makes mistakes that turn out to be for the best. Our memory is not under the control of free will but does what it wants and experience shows that we can progress and improve without free will. For example, when we are drunk


We could still be programmed though we may feel free for we could be set to feel that way and to act free though we are not really free at all. Nobody is able to explain how free will works. Indeterminism and compatibilism tell us nothing. Occam’s Razor says that you must always follow the simplest explanation which is invariably the one easiest to understand. We can understand programming therefore to believe in free will is to oppose his principle and to oppose reason. You cannot believe without reason so the result is faked belief. Free will is a fascist doctrine for its proponents claim to know they have free will and they cannot know and they are often hostile to anyone who contradicts them. The doctrine calls them to be hostile to deniers because it claims to exalt human nature so it follows that deniers do not. It calls on them to discriminate and ostracise deniers for the deniers would have to be seen as insulting them and hating their dignity. Free will then is a battle cry against the rights of the determinist or the person who believes in free will but that we have so little of it that we are only a tiny bit accountable for what we do and so nobody should punish us much no matter what we do.
The opposition of free will to logic tells us that guilt is abnormal and a sickness caused by the perception of moral responsibility but there is no such thing as moral responsibility and there cannot be.
The divorce between logic and free will also tells us that religion is abnormal for if there is no free will we should not need religion. We should not need it to program the environment we are in to be good. We should need only ourselves and our reason.
Any system be it religion or whatever that claims to be founded on reason and then says that free will exists is a sham. That is because when free will is a fundamental issue to be solved, it has to be the bedrock on which the religion system is built just as our system is built on the abnegation of freedom. Free will as a doctrine is the root of religion and if the root is bad and useless so is the tree.
If Occam’s Razor is wrong as free will tells us, then it follows that there is no such thing as morality or right and wrong as distinct from morality. Right and wrong are founded on the principle of doing the good the simplest way possible. In other words, follow the Razor! The atheist who understands his or her philosophy and the need for atheism to improve the world has to dispense with free will. It is a purely religious hypothesis anyway and does not belong in atheistic or secular ideologies. The reason I say that is because none of the reasons given for believing it work so it is only an excuse for turning to belief in a God of love. The only reason people want the free will belief is because they want to believe in a God who evilly condones their sin. They want to believe in sin and condemn everybody for sinning but themselves while they are smugly assured that they themselves are forgiven.
Free will has no relevance to making the world a better place but is just a recipe for trouble and whatever trouble comes about because of the doctrine is as much the teachers of free wills’ doing as the disorderly persons. The only thing you need is to give people reasons to do good and that can be done without the doctrine of free will for people do nothing without reasons.
Even if we do have free will we cannot know it. Believing something and being right does not constitute knowledge but luck.

We must destroy belief in free will for free will does not exist and put determinism in its place for the sake of truth and human welfare. We must reject everything, for example, belief in God, that depends on the sinister doctrine of free will. The notion that disbelief in free will is in some way harmful has nothing at all to do with free will existing or not. Just because an idea does harm doesn’t mean that it is false.
The Amplified Bible
A CONCISE INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY, William H Halverson, Random House, N.Y. 1967
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CONTROVERSY: THE HUMANIST CHRISTIAN ENCOUNTER Hector Hawton, Pemberton Books, London, 1971
DOING AWAY WITH GOD? Russell Stannard, Marshall Pickering, London, 1993
ETHICS, KEY CONCEPTS IN PHILOSOPHY, Dwight Furrow, Continuum, New York, 2005 chapter 7
FREE TO DO RIGHT, David Field IVP London, 1973
GOD A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED Keith Ward, OneWorld, Oxford, 2003
GOD AND THE NEW PHYSICS, Paul Davies, Penguin Books, London, 1990
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
MORAL PHILOSOPHY Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
MORTAL QUESTIONS, Thomas Nagel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1979
ON THE TRUTH OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH, BOOK ONE, GOD, St Thomas Aquinas, Image Doubleday and Co, New York, 1961
PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS AND ARGUMENTS, James W. Cornman and Keith Lehrer, 2nd Edition, Macmillan Network, 1974
PHILOSOPHY – THE PURSUIT OF WISDOM, Louis P Pojman, Wadsworth, California, 1994
RADIO REPLIES VOL 1, Frs Rumble & Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1938
RADIO REPLIES VOL 2, Frs Rumble & Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1940
RADIO REPLIES VOL 3, Frs Rumble & Carty, Radio Replies Press, St Paul, Minnesota, 1942
REASON AND RELIGION, Anthony Kenny, Basil Blackwell Ltd, Oxford, 1987
RELIGION IS REASONABLE, Thomas Corbishley SJ, Burns & Oates Ltd, London, 1960
THE BIG QUESTIONS, Simon Blackburn, Quercus Books, London, 2009
THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY, AC Ewing, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1985
THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, Brian Davies, Continuum, London-New York, 2006
THE SATANIC BIBLE, Anton Szandor LaVey, Avon Books, New York, 1969