On 3/11/2010 1:26 PM, m.a. wrote:
*Bruno and John,*
* The confusion is my fault. I copied the URL from a Kurzweil page heading when I should have gone to the article itself, so the wrong feature appeared. This is the one I requested comments about:*
*PhysOrg.com) -- When biologist Anthony Cashmore claims that the concept of free will is an illusion, he's not breaking any new ground. At least as far back as the ancient Greeks, people have wondered how humans seem to have the ability to make their own personal decisions in a manner lacking any causal component other than their desire to "will" something. But Cashmore, Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, says that many biologists today still cling to the idea of free will, and reject the idea that we are simply conscious machines, completely controlled by a combination of our chemistry and external environmental forces.*
*To put it simply, free will just doesn’t fit with how the physical world works. Cashmore compares a belief in free will to an earlier belief in vitalism - the belief that there are forces governing the biological world that are distinct from those governing the physical world. Vitalism was discarded more than 100 years ago, being replaced with evidence that biological systems obey the laws of chemistry and physics, not special biological laws for living things.“I would like to convince biologists that a belief in free will is nothing other than a continuing belief in vitalism (or, as I say, a belief in magic),” Cashmore told /PhysOrg.com/. *
*There seems to be an evolutionary rightness and inevitability to the idea that free will is taking its place as just another illusion like vitalism, religion, aether, absolute time and space, geocentric universe, single-galaxy universe and so on. But I think people will have an even tougher time dealing with the implications of strict determinism. It's an idea that could tear through the entire fabric of society even though acceptance needn't change one's behavior in the slightest respect. marty a.*

But it's certainly not a deterministic universe.



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