A hastily contructed article on free will. Please edit, tidy and modify as you see fit.--Graham 07:15, 17 September 2007 (EDT)
practical use of free will
I think the article should mainly focus on the logic people use in daily life when they talk in terms of choosing.
- Free will applies to a thing turning out one way or another. The act of realizing an alternative is a choice. The alternatives are in the future in respect to the decider. What is said to do the job of making it turn out one way instead of the other in a choice, like "love" and "hate", is only known to exist by deciding it is there, not by measuring.
Free will is generally not accepted to be real by most scientists, philosophers, atheists, rationalists, humanists, nazi's, communists, liberals, socialists, and parents. Specifically the spiritual part which is only known subjectively by deciding it is there is not acknowledged. Often also it is simply not accepted anything can turn out an alternative way. -
I added in "parents", so it becomes deniable for socialists, atheists, and the like that it is not seriously true, eventhough ofcourse it actually is true. --Syamsu (talk) 15:46, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
science about free will
In 2006 American scientists demonstrated (Hosten & Kwiat 2006) that they could search a database of 4 elements by only possibly running a search algorithm. "only possibly running" means a decision was made on the alternatives that would run the algorithm or not, and the decision turned out that the algorithm didn't run.--Syamsu (talk) 22:21, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
A comment by some journalist:
"there can be no such thing as free will for the committed scientist, in his or her professional life" 
I can get several more of quotes such as these from established scientists like Robert Rosen, and Daniel Dubois which indicate a general resistance in science to knowledge in terms of having a future of alternatives.
For as far as rationalists go:
"a decision or situation is often called rational if it is in some sense optimal, and individuals or organizations are often called rational if they tend to act somehow optimally in pursuit of their goals" 
Like a chesscomputer calculating an optimum from many alternatives, but then the chesscomputer is forced to do the move it calculated as best, it can't turn out an alternative way. This is also the definition of decision that is used in artificial intelligence. The result comes from a calculation, and is therefore forced and can't turn out an alternative way. In science these different definitions of "decision" are usefully distinghuished by "weak anticipation" (calculating with alternatives / making a model etc. ), and "strong anticipation" (where the alternatives are in the future)Dubois
I mainly put rationalists in there because in the rational wiki article on love it is suggested love is some chemical process in the brain. So that is to objectify love, and that is not consistent with the generally subjective reference to love in common practical logic about free will.
Nazi's objectify the spiritual as heritable things in the blood. So that is also not subjective. etc. I can provide some quote from historian Klaus Fischer that the most lethal aspect of both nazism and communism is to rely on predestination.
I don't think these references are neccessary in the article. It is obviously a fair enough comment from the practical point of view that freedom is real that people have in daily life. It's not neccessary to evidence that atheists generally don't accept a category of things that can only be known to exist by deciding it is there, known by faith and such. --Syamsu (talk) 14:19, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Why is there a picture of a brain on the topleft corner on this webpage? It's because we believe decisions are made in the brain, and for each decision that occurs there, we may decide what the spiritual quality of it is that made it turn out one way instead of the other. There is no need to reference philosphers and the like on free will, we should just explain the logic we use in daily life. --Syamsu (talk) 12:54, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
A Knotty Tread
"Rationalists can consistently take any of them, although some are more popular than others." That's a cite that will never be found, and I'd say "rationalists" can both consistently and inconsistently take any of them. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 02:44, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I heard some criticisms of the Benjamin Libet experiment mentioned in the article.
“”Alfred Mele has criticized the interpretation of the Libet results on two grounds. First, the mere appearance of the RP a half-second or more before the action in no way makes the RP the cause of the action. It may simply mark the beginning of forming an intention to act. In the two-stage model [of first generating multiple possible choices and then evaluating them before making a decision], it is the considering of possible options.
Libet himself argued that there is enough time after the W moment (a window of opportunity) to veto the action, but Mele's second criticism points out that such examples of "free won't" would not be captured in Libet experiments, because the recording device is triggered by the action (typically flicking the wrist) itself.Thus, although all Libet experiments ended with the wrist flicking, we are not justified in assuming that the rise of the RP (well before the moment of conscious will) is a cause of the wrist flicking. Libet knew that there were very likely other times when the RP rose, but which did not lead to a flick of the wrist.
A few questions:
- Are these two criticisms legit, or are they BS?
- Does this "window of opportunity" after the W moment really exist, or can it simply be explained as the nervous impulses taking a non-zero amount of time getting to the muscles in the wrist or finger?
- Is there an alternative explanation of the results of the Libet experiment?
- Libet himself said more or less the same thing later on. See his cited paper in Journal of Consciousness Studies. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:18, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Why do people think Libet's work "disproves" free will?
The determinists' reasoning on this seems to be as follows:
- Libet has shown that a decision is unconsciously made some time before it is consciously detected by the nerves in the brain.
- Therefore, free will does not exist.
- Neuroscience has shown tha
t light hits the retina some time before it is consciously detected by the nerves in the brain.
- Therefore, sight does not exist.
- However, sight exists, therefore, 2 cannot be concluded from 1 with a scientific perspective.
Reductio ad absurdum. Libet's experiment does not disprove free will, with both this and the "free won't" interpretation. Should we include this in the main article, or is my logic flawed somehow? Don't want to add it if it's flawed. Constructive criticism welcome. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 19:09, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
- It doesn't disprove free will, but I'd say it provides some evidence that, in the very least, we are not fully in charge of our own 'decisions'. GodothasArrived (super crazy fun time!) 19:12, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
- And, by the way, your logic is flawed. One, you could make an argument that free will is the conscious choosing of one out of two or more possible choices, and if our subconscious makes our decisions for us, then we cannot have free will (which I suspect is the argument most of the people you're supposedly refuting are making). Two, we know sight exists, but we don't know free will exists. An American Fallacy (super crazy fun time!) 19:20, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
- It's a bit of neuroessentialism. It demonstrates an unconscious mechanism in one task, but it doesn't generalize to a whole swath of other types of decisions (though there are unconscious mechanisms involved in all types of decision-making, this paper alone doesn't demonstrate that). Again, see Libet's own interpretation above. — Unsigned, by: Nebuchadnezzar / talk / contribs
Okay, trying to say what my point was with this. Some determinists say, by the article's own admission, that they think Libet's experiment disproved free will, as the decision was made unconsciously before. To rephrase my initial argument:
- In Libet's experiment, it was found that a decision is made some milliseconds before it is consciously percieved.
- From Item 1, we can conclude free will, i.e. the ability to consciously pick one course of action out of one or more alternatives, does not exist.
The basic form of the argument is:
- X occurs some milliseconds before the relevant information is consciously percieved.
- It is commonly believed A, that is that Y is the conscious perception of X.
- Therefore from Items 1 and 2, A is false.
Rephrasing the determist argument, we get:
- Decision-making occurs some milliseconds before the relevant information is consciously percieved.
- It is commonly believed A, that is that free will is the conscious perception of decision-making.
- Therefore from Items 1 and 2, free will is false (read "does not exist").
I am plugging in different values for X and Y so:
- Light hits the retina some milliseconds before the information is consiously detected.
- It is commonly believed A, that is that sight is the conscious perception of light hitting the retina.
- Therefore from Items 1 and 2, sight is false (read "does not exist").
Via reductio ad absurdum, there is no way to get around this without special pleading. Could somebody point out if my logic is flawed? I am trying to figure out any flaws on my own, and if I find any, I will modify/retract my argument as necessary. I am not trying to say that free will exists, but simply that this one "evidence" against free will and the reasoning behind it, is flawed. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 15:27, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
I did a rollback on this not because I necessaries disagree with what Syamsu wrote but because such a massive rewrite of a bronze level article should not happen without discussion.
It was talked about 2 years ago. The opposing view is that we treat a thermostat as a decisionmaker having free will (compatibilism). I don't feel that position is worth talking about, other then mentioning that a great many people support this view. --Syamsu (talk) 12:52, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Free will means for a thing to have alternative states available from one moment to the next, and choosing one. Free will in this sense of alternatives and decision is the most fundamental logic in creation science, more fundamental than cause and effect. Most all theories and facts within creation science are based on a logic of free will. With freedom things are created.
The logic of free will has two main parts, the agency which does the chosing, and the alternatives which are chosen over. These two parts are wholy different from each other, the agency is called spiritual, what is chosen is called material.
The way in which something can be known about material is relatively straightforward, through measurement we can know the properties of a material thing. For instance when a videocamera is turned towards the moon, then it receives the light reflected off the moon through the lens of the videocamera. The videocamera then stores this picture on a storage device such as a videotape. The information travelled from the moon by medium of light, through the lens, through the circuitry of the videocamera, onto the videotape. This transferring or copying of information unchanged (also known as rewriting) is called being objective. The videocamera provides objective information about the moon. When somebody looks at the moon, then in the same way as the videocamera, information transfers from the moon, by medium of light, through the eyes, to the memory in the brain, resulting in objective facts about the moon in memory.
The way in which something can be said about the spiritual doing the chosing is very different from objective measurement, instead we must form a subjective opinion. We can't rely on evidence to form a subjective opinion, because evidence forces to a conclusion destroying the freedom neccessary to reach a subjective opinion. Instead of relying on evidence, if we want to identify the agency in a choice, then we must make a choice related to the choice we are investigating.  
For example: suppose there is a birthday cake, with 10 slices of cake, and 10 people attending the party. Suppose Joe takes 2 slices, which neccessarily means that 1 of the people will get no cake. As said, to investigate the agency of this choice to take 2 slices instead of 1, we have to make a new choice in turn, related to the choice we are investigating. To make a new choice we need new alternatives, for example the alternatives “hate” and “love”, so we get:
B Joe was “loving” in choosing to take 2 slices instead of 1.
Overview of the dual categories in free will
The leftside of the table belongs together and the rightside belongs together. The spiritual and material domains are directly connected with choices, yet the choices don’t provide any evidence of a spiritual domain. It is perfectly valid to express a feeling of emptiness in regards to agency, to subjectively reach the conclusion that the spiritual domain is empty, and God does not exist. The only requirement in the logic is that the conclusion about agency must be reached through choice.
However logically valid an expression of emptiness may be, that does not mean that such an expression is morally good. In creationist theory the universe starts with a free act, and ends with a final free act. The morality of any individual choice is often portrayed in relation to these choices of original creation and final judgement. In creationism morality is about the spiritual content of the choice, and is focused more on the way in which a choice is made, then on the result of a choice.
The biblical doctrine outlined in the book of Genesis, during the creation of the world captures the source of choosing in regards to morality. The original parents of mankind, Adam and Eve as real historical persons, made the first human choice. The choice between the will of God which they were influenced by since their creation, and also their own will influenced by Satan. Both original and separate influences offer a distinct alternative that persons decide to follow based on their free will, in relation to experience filtered through their sensory system, which is analyzed by logic within the mind, which offers up alternatives for the human spirit to decide. The free will exercised by Adam and Eve severed the covenant with God by acting outside of His will. This act of free will had the consequence of a generational curse upon the rest of mankind, fundamentally altering life as they (Adam and Eve) knew it because of their sin. The original sin against the will and therefore nature of God physically and spiritually had a sort of epigenetic affect on all of biology, introducing death and the struggle and survival that comes with it. By eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil Adam and Eve less felt what is good and bad, instead they became more emotionless and calculating in determining their course of action. Calculating in terms of survival and death.
(bible quote|1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" 2The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" 4The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! 5"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.|book=Genesis|chap=3|verses=1-6)
Words such as “selfish”, “altruistic”, “hateful”, “loving” etc. are commonly considered to be words of judgement relevant to agency, and should therefore only be used in this subjective way. That means you have to chose to arrive at the conclusion “selfish”, and you cannot measure or calculate somebody to be selfish. To make assertive statements about people being “selfish”, “loving” or “hateful” as a matter of objective fact is illogical, and is considered pseudoscience. (Although sometimes scientists use a different meaning of the words “selfishness” and “altruism” which has nothing to do with agency, in which case the selfishness and altruism can be measured). The same holds true for asserting the existence of God as a matter of fact, that is also considered pseudoscience. God is considered an agent who choses, and therefore God is only possibly known through faith, which faith neccessarily involves a choice.
Politics and Ideology
Theories about free will which treat agency as a matter of subjective opinion are strongly related to democracy. Theories about free will which treat agency as a matter of objective fact instead, are strongly related to ideological and political doctrines in which freedom plays a subordinate role.
Social Darwinist doctrines about the heritable character of people, based on the theory of natural selection, greatly influenced intellectual and political climate of opinion in the past, and continues to do so at present.
For example in the early part of the 20th century the influential Darwinist Ernst Heackel treated the “loving” agency of Jesus Christ as exhibiting an “Aryan” blood character. Heackel was not a Christian but an atheist, he treated the love of Christ as a matter of scientific fact, not a matter of faith. Social-Darwinism is considered the main ideological impetus in the rise of Nazism, which led to the holocaust. Specifically the denial of free will in Nazism is considered it's most lethal aspect.
China is currentely drifting towards Social-Darwinism.  The overwhelming majority of scientists in the world at present support some form of Social-Darwinism where agency is treated as a matter of objective fact, and moral imperatives are derived from an interpretation of natural selection theory.
Pscyhological research has found that disbelief in free will is related to increased agression and reduced helpfulness. 
Inducing disbelief in free will has been found to alter brain states related to preconscious motor preparation 
Belief in free will predicts better job performance.
Free will of organisms appears to contribute to their survival in many ways. The variation in use of muscles caused by free will reduces wear and tear of them. Search algorithms for food are more optimal when based on freedom. Free will also appears to give predators surprise in attack, and prey unpredictability in escape. Note again that subjective opinion is entertwined with objective fact in creationist discourse. When an animal is fleeing then we might consider some high risk decisions the animal makes “courageous” or “dumb” alternatively. What is objectively observed then is a decision with a high chance of being killed, and subjectively we might note “courage” as the agency which made the decision turn out the way it did. One should not interpret these writings of creationist scientists to posit a “science of courage”, they are merely expressions of personal opinion of the scientist.
DNA consists of chosen alternatives C,A,T and G. When looking at any particular string of DNA one should consider the alternatives that could have been chosen instead. DNA from one generation to the next is constructed based on informed and reasoned choices.  The DNA is kept in a state of indecision, at which point the alternative states C, A, T, and G present themselves, and the organization of DNA as a whole is chosen.
In a choice information is created, namely the information which way a choice turns out. The information is new in the universe, and therefore the information is derived from nothing. Commonly this principle is referred to with the latin phrase "Creatio ex nihilo". This nothing where the information derives from is objectively measurable. The measurements and calculations about where the information derives from simply turn out zero for position, mass, velocity, and so on. For instance the noise in a random number generator, which is used for encrypting data so that it remains secret, is derived from the socalled quantum mechanical zeropoint. When scientists look for the origin of a thing, then they always find nothing at the origin, and not a creator. The creator can only be found by deciding about the agency of the choices found.
Non-Creationist views treat the agency in a choice as a matter of objective fact. Compatibilism and Determinism are views on free will in which agency is treated as a matter of fact, and therefore in these views the same logic is used for describing freedom, as is used for describing force. For example Darwinian philosopher Daniel Dennett regards a thermostat as an agent which chooses, eventhough he says that in it's workings the thermostat is completely forced.  The overwhelming majority of scientists currently support a compatibilist or determinist position on free will, and thereby the majority of scientists currently acknowledge no proper place to subjective opinion or faith.
Right at the start you have Free will means for a thing to have alternative states available from one moment to the next, and choosing one. No, sorry, bollocks. That definition says nothing about the freedom to choose. A computer, completely deterministically, can have two alternative states and be able, depending on the state of other registers, to choose between them. Has this computer free will? Not in my book.
And, after that, you go off on a list of logical fallacies that's almost text book. Splendid stuff but not quite what the article needs whether there are great many (appeal to popularity) people support this view or not. Bad Faith (talk) 14:15, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Could someone please add this to the article? I'm not quite sure where it fits in. Anyway, some people believe we will eventually be able to simulate human brains. For example, the Blue Brain project seeks to simulate mammalian brains down to the molecular level. If we ever succeed at deterministically simulating particular people's brains, or simply creating unique intellects that choose and act just like humans do, it will cast doubt on the idea of a special "free will" possessed by biological brains.Abraxas (talk) 00:53, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
The bottom line about Free Will is the observation of people's actions being unpredictable, and more so as the time horizon expands. Philosophic positions can be summarized as: (1) Actions are, indeed, unpredictable. (2) Actions are predictable, but we just don't know the full deterministic model to run a simulation. Position (2) rests on the assumption that a deterministic models would bring predictability, but Deterministic Chaos theory has proven it's not the case. Sensitivity of the model to initial conditions (butterfly effect) shortens the prediction horizon. Additionally, the initial conditions can never be determined beyond a level of error, and the deterministic model becomes random. So in fact (1) and (2) have exactly the same implications regarding Free Will and no more knowledge is gained from one position relative to the other.-- Brasov 14:57, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Free will article rewritten
Easily take a position on the free will article rewrite
FUCKING ASSHOLES WHO LEAVE NO ROOM FOR SUBJECTIVITY
Also known as atheists, rationialists, communists, nazi's, liberals.
The agency of a decision can only be identified in a free way. This practice is called subjectivity, expressing emotions. This means objectivity, reaching a conclusion forced by evidence, is wrong for identifying agency. — Unsigned, by: 22.214.171.124 / talk / contribs 10:04, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
There seems to be a bit of an edit war here. Care to talk?
I must say that the bit about denying free will being like addiction does not come off as well reasoned at all. It is fortunate that free will does not exist. If it did, you might be responsible for your actions, and who the hell wants that? - Smerdis of Tlön, for the defense. 15:19, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Determinism and Calvinism
A cursory glance at this article seems to reveal a "sceptical" predisposition to determinism of one kind or another. And yet, I see no reference to one of the first modern notions of determinism: Calvinism. You suppose there might be an addition some time soon? 126.96.36.199 (talk) 06:47, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Omniscience and free will
Technically, if the omniscience of such a being was inherent rather than total (that is, if he could pick and choose what he knows), he could create humans without violating free will, at least not of the compatibilist variety. This requires the being to limit his omniscience whenever interacting with the universe, lest he manipulate a person's thoughts or actions. A totally omniscient being, on the other hand, would violate compatibilism, but only if he interacts with the universe in a significant enough manner to manipulate a person's thoughts or actions; if such a being never interacts with the universe at all and only observes, no free will is violated.
Needless to say, any kind of omniscient being conflicts with libertarian free will, even if that being never interacts with the universe at any point in time, and even if that being is powerless to do anything at all. A being with inherent omniscience doesn't need to use his selective omniscience on a person to violate libertarianism; his mere existence would violate libertarianism.
A determinists' disbelief in free will does not demonstrate free will from such a perspective: their apparent choice to disbelieve could be the result of their brain construction, which is the product of a deterministic universe. Much of the first paragraph in the "Problems with the Wager" section is questionable. — Unsigned, by: 188.8.131.52 / talk / contribs 02:57, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
Karl Marx on free will
If there is no free will, how should we view arguing about free will?
Heh, I re-editted my change in non-gibberish form. Sorry about that; I think my cursor was jumping around in my original contribution. Please discuss concerns, though, even when an initial change looks . . . off. --Bertrc (talk) 21:27, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
- Harrison-Barbet, Anthony. "WILLIAM of OCKHAM". Philosophos.com. "we can have no knowledge of an immaterial soul; nor can we prove its existence philosophically. Instead we must rely on revealed truth and faith"
- Yaffe, Gideon and Nichols, Ryan. "Thomas Reid". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition. "Reid staunchly refuses to speculate on the substance of the self,...he describes souls as beings of a quite different Nature than material bodies"
- Epigenetics Offers New Solution to Some Long-Standing Theological Problems: Inherited Sin, Christ’s Sinlessness, and Generational Curses Can be Explained By Norman L. Geisler, 2010
- Dikötter, Frank. "Throw-Away Babies". Times Literary Supplement,. "Whether the regulation of sexuality has replaced ideological control as the main tool of repression in the People's Republic is an important question which is open to debate. It is beyond question, however, that the signs of a drift towards an authoritarian form of government guided by biological imperatives have been accumulating in China for some time, and anybody with a serious interest in that country and its people should consider the implications of that drift carefully."
- Taborsky, Edwina. [http://ebookbrowse.com/gdoc.php?id=180133786&url=0d3490b8c6d0e279f0b2fef473f4a08a "Biological Organisms as Semiosic Systems: the importance of strong and weak anticipation"]. Signs vol. 2: pp. 146-187, 2008 ISSN: 1902-8822. "a framework that rejects anticipation and is instead based around a primary random or uninformed mutation of a single model supported by a post hoc ‘natural selection’ of that model – is an inadequate analysis. The semiosic biological system is not a random or mechanical process but an informed, reasoned and selfcontrolled process. pp 161"
- Torley, Vincent. "Anatomy of a minimal mind". philosophy department University of Melbourne. "Dennett, on the other hand, regards the attribution of intentionality to thermostats as more than metaphorical: he argues that if we are to explain what all thermostats have in common, we “have to rise to … a level that invokes belief-talk and desire-talk or … semantic information-talk and goal-registration-talk 1995a."