This weeks topic was suggested by Ramana.
Wikipedia says "Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action." On the surface it sounds simple enough. Further examination suggests otherwise.
Christians, for example, claim to have free will. So the God that created man in his own image created a bunch of flawed human beings that can choose their own way in life, but unless they choose to follow God's way they are doomed. That is not free will in my book, simply the typical religious my way or the highway proposition.
Consider that we live much of our lives by habit. We cannot handle the stress of making a conscious decision for everything so we make many decisions simply by rote. Coffee with or without cream, route to drive to work and things like that. That frees up our brain power for the more important daily issues which must be resolved. Are those decisions the result of free will? Some - not all. Some decisions are made as the result of a set of specific causes.
Yep - this free will stuff can be very confusing. Religion, guilt, cause/effect, praise, sin, responsibility and more can effect decisions. .
Looks like free will is not often free after all. Fate? Is everything in life predetermined? That's a topic for another day.
One final comment - today is Thanksgiving here in the USA. I am relatively certain I exercised free will while eating far too much turkey, stuffing and roast pork to say nothing of sweet potato pie. Sorry Dr Tyson - we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
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