Showing posts from May, 2020

Free Will, Determinism and Choice

Every now and then, I encounter someone who raises the free will | determinism paradox in a discussion about a choice. It usually goes something like this: Me: We have to make a choice. Either we regulate our population and genome ourselves, or nature will do it for us, with war, disease and famine. Joe Shmoe: Your assumptions are wrong. There is no free will, so we don’t really have a choice. I imagine Joe delivering this brilliant insight with a smug little smile, as if it is the ultimate “gotcha”. In this essay, I will explain why Joe’s comment is an absurd non sequitur. I will also talk more generally about the relationship between free will and determinism. First, what is the point of bringing up the free will | determinism paradox in the middle of a discussion about something else? The real motivation is to derail the discussion, while asserting one’s intellectual superiority. The intended meaning is something like this: You idiots think you have fr