THINK ABOUT THIS: Free Will Is Impossible If We Live In A Strictly Material Universe

Among the attributes that most distinguish humans from all other creatures is our ability to perceive alternative courses of action and to make choices among those alternatives. That’s called “free will.” Our laws and system of justice assume we all have this unique ability.

But if we live in a material universe that is a product of and is governed only by the action/reaction processes of atoms and forces in motion, then there can be no such thing as free will. Our decisions to act in a certain way are nothing more than the consequences of those atoms reacting according to the sequence of causes and effects.

“No set of dominoes is held accountable for how they fall,” contends NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace in the following brief video. “Dominoes have no choice in the matter because they fall in a certain way based on prior physical causes.” Think about it, are you just another domino?


Ever Wonder ‘Who Made God?’

That’s a question often posed by those who deny God’s existence, but, as Tom Hammond explains in “What Time Is Purple,” wondering who made God makes about as much sense as pondering where on the clock does the royal color appear.

“What Time Is Purple” is a mere 45 pages, but it’s full of clarity, logic and common sense about the most important questions we all think about it at one time or another. Be careful, though, as it may cause you to revise how you answer those questions.

To get a free copy of this challenging book, just click on its cover in the sidebar to the right and I will get yours in the mail ASAP.

NOTE: IF THE CONTACT BUTTON DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU, SEND ME YOUR SNAIL MAIL AT mt.hillfaith@gmail.com.


 

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/

17 thoughts on “THINK ABOUT THIS: Free Will Is Impossible If We Live In A Strictly Material Universe”

  1. “if we live in a material universe that is a product of and is governed only by the action/reaction processes of atoms and forces in motion, then there can be no such thing as free will.”

    The notion that consciousness is not natural to the universe is the fundamental error you commit.

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  2. I believe the answer to the question of is there free will in a materialistic universe is “no”. The political and sociological implication of world where people believe in such a philosophy are profound. In such a world people are treated not as moral agents but as widgets to be manipulated by algorithms.

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  3. Pingback: IS INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY EVEN POSSIBLE IF WE’RE ALL JUST A BUNCH OF DOMINOES? Dominoes have no choice a… – The usa report
  4. I think Rad4Cap might be onto something here. If atheists believe there is no God and so everything in the universe is a result of solely materialistic interactions between cause and effect / action and reaction, then they must also believe that consciousness – the basis of free will – is a result of those same interactions, even in a completely materialistc universe. I have never heard even the most ardent atheist deny that humans have consciousness (or maybe I just missed it when one of them did). And if they acknowledge that the basis for free will exists in a materialistic universe, then so can free will itself.

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    1. Great point, Andrew. And I think you are right on. A huge problem with consciousness in a material-only universe is that it can’t be independently measured in concrete terms, it being neither liquid, solid or gas. A case can be made (I don’t agree with it, but recognize it is often made) that emotions like love and hate are merely products of environmental and behavioral conditioning, but consciousness is a whole different issue.

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  5. Yes, sir, the fact that consciousness is a wholly immaterial entity is indeed a huge problem – for materialists. Because if they admit that one immaterial entity exists in the universe in which we humans exist, then they must also admit that the universe in which we humans exist is not a solely material universe and so how can they claim that other immaterial entities (such as, say, God, for example) do not exist in this universe as well?

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  6. The general responseS to this line of argument are
    1) emergent properties – essentially a Materialistic miraculous Event
    2) quantum physics – that at the quantum level, deterministic properties become indeterminate

    1) should be laughed off the stage
    2) needs further argument about knowledge and knowing. Moving the debate to epistemology. Jim Slagle’s “epistemological skyhooks” is a good text to read.

    2) implies that you might have true knowledge but even then it is accidentally true and so you can never have any warrant for believing it to be true

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    1. Two points here:

      1. It seems to me that true knowledge is still true, whether accidental or not and so, because it is true – even if accidentally – I have a warrant for believing it to be true.

      2. Does the person making this quantum mechanics argument implying this have a warrant for believing quantum mechanics to be true? After all, it could be true knowledge but it would only be accidentally true and thus the person making the argument would have no warrant for believing it to be true, thus making their argument moot.

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