Free will in the light of secularism

Religious people and many atheists and secularists think we have got free will.  In other words, we truly own what we do for we freely create what we do.

Free will and free choice go with the concept of ownership. But what if you had a drug to give you free will or more free will? Using the drug would not give you ownership. Free will then implies freedom from chemicals such as genes and so on! So nobody has free will at all.

Ownership of the good and successful choices we make is what we want.  More accurately we want to feel we own and that is what matters.  We feel we own and we are happy and the really owning only matters as a tool for making us happy.  The really owning is only important for how it makes us feel.

Let us pretend for a moment that we do not know that ownership of actions is fraught with contradictions.

Do we have free will to cause good/evil and is it just something we have? Is it just there? If so it’s a brute fact. That means whether it is unfree will or free will there is no point in asking why it is there. Brute facts cut both ways. If x is a brute fact then non-x is a brute fact as well.

Suppose we have free will. Then what if we have no free will intrinsically? What if we need a God to give it to us? Then how can you call that free will?   You may wonder what the problem is for as long as it works it is free will.  But free will is a faculty but more than that it is what we are.  Free will is what we have because we are free agents.  It is about what we are. 

If God gave us free will there is no way to prove if he gives it from outside or makes us inherently free. The existence of babies and people who do not have it proves it is most likely he gives us free will from outside us. It is really his free will not ours. If I put something into white paint that is not meant to be there then it can never belong to the paint.

Determinism, it says causes get us to do what we do and it is not real choice, means you have no ownership over what you do. But is ownership really as important or useful as it is made out to be?

Compatiblism pretends that choice is just what the causes get you do and they call that free will and says that determinism and free will can fit together.  It means nobody knows much much or how little you own your action. Thus it would be judgemental and bigoted and arrogant to tell a person who does evil for its own sake that they are evil. You do not know for sure and neither do they.  There is no evidence that free will and determinism can agree and even if they can what use is that?  You cannot judge x as being guilty when there are issues with seeing how much free will he has got.

Is free will just there or is it there for a purpose? It is more important for it to be usable for a purpose than for it to have a purpose for it cannot have a purpose in the first place.

God believers see free will as being given so that we might choose the moral values and the moral virtures.

Even if values (even top ones such as love, mercy, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion) have inherent authority, we do not care if they do and do not treat them as if they do. We give them authority over us.

The real motive for religion preaching about God giving us free will is that they don't want to think we are just machines that don't feel like machines and the problem with that is that it seems to deny we have meaning and importance.  But if God gives you a purpose you have to make it your own so you are still giving yourself a purpose anyway.  If it is so terrible for you to make your own purpose, then it must be more awful to give yourself God's purpose!

Religion says God uses nothing to make all things.  That is the doctrine of creation.

Free will and the notion of creation from nothing are inseparable. Free will needs a God who can create the power to freely choose. It goes with him creating creatures who have that power. Free will is fundamentally a religious notion. What can the secularist put in its place?

Free will for the secularist will hold that the person is a sum of free choice, background influence, genes and programming. The secularist will hold that things do work like clockwork but free will is some kind of power to control the clock work.

It is clear that a universe that is not run like clockwork and which has pure randomness in it does not protect free will any more than one that does run like clockwork.

As we are free because of God and not in spite of him then it follows that it is more true to say God flew the planes on 9/11 than that man did. In fact his role alone really and ultimately matters. The ultimate bomber is the one that counts for the earthly one is nothing in comparison. Christians complain that unbelievers expect God to block your gun miraculously when you are about to shoot hordes of innocent people. They say that degrades God and makes him an over-protective immature parent. But the same will think and say that God probably does such things - just not all the time!

Causeless random action is as much unfree will as determinist will is. A person with a psychosis would seem to be directed by something uncaused and causeless. Yet this prime example of free will is really an example of unfree will!

Nothing is really up to us. It is not up to nature or chance either. What happens just happens .It just happens that we are organised people.

You would need to be able to reverse time, wind back the clock literally, to scientifically test the existence of and significance and extent of free will. If you do the experiment and the subject keeps choosing an apple but a slightly different one each time but not the banana that shows this is not really significant free will. Free will has to be significant to be able to give us moral responsibility.

I talk about taking responsibility. But there is no taking. I do not really take a breath for I have to breathe. I have responsibility but I do not take it.

Religion says that life is no accident. We don’t want to think it is for it makes us feel special to think that a God planned us. But surely the point is that I am me and not somebody else. That somebody else never got a chance. God or not it is still an accident for even God cannot have full control over what will be and not be. He has to make choices and though choice is a free faculty it works within possibilities. You choose from a menu but you cannot choose the menus contents. That is a restricted freedom rather than freedom.

Needing free will for moral responsibility to make sense does not mean free will must exist or even might exist. In fact the way people act as if it does and can’t stop doing so indicates that moral responsibility is an illusion. It means they cannot prove they have the right to condemn what anybody else does.

Those who say that you don’t need free will to declare anybody responsible for what they do say we are responsible simply because we understand and see the possible bad effects of what we do. We are aware of the consequences and the possible consequences. But are we? We overstate stuff like that for we don’t really know what the future holds and the unexpected always intervenes. The consequences subject helps a bit. Only a bit! It is not enough to build a big thing like responsibility on.

The bad side of believing you can act without responsibility is not proof that you are indeed responsible. Indeed you are being bullied by those who say you are responsible. They are not taking responsibility for defying logic.

It is hard for the secularist will be told, “You would not be bothering with secularism unless you felt that people can decide what to do freely and be influenced. You are trying to influence people.” The free will denier actually assumes that free will is true but won’t admit it.

To sum up: the secularist sees free will as something that is just there and that we just happen to be able to turn to a purpose. We give it a purpose. This does not mean we can make right right and wrong wrong. A calculator made to work by luck can still get sums right.

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