Wired Article on Free Will

Wired Magazine has an interesting article on libertarian freedom: My First Act of Free Will.

The author Jonah Lehrer addresses the problems of scientific determinism – or having a purely mechanical view of freedom.

He notes that:

There’s a certain frivolousness to all these eloquent arguments over free will. The fact is, we are deeply wired to believe in our freedom. We feel like willful creatures, blessed with elbow room and endowed with the capacity to pick our own breakfast cereal.

The question is, why do we feel free? Why are we “deeply wired” to believe in our freedom? Perhaps it is because as creatures created in the image of God we really do have genuine freedom.

The article also referenced a study that correlated libertarian freedom with ethics. People who don’t believe in libertarian freedom are more likely to engage in unethical behavior. In the study “the amount of cheating was directly correlated with the extent to which the subjects rejected free will.”

What we believe about free will actually impacts the decisions we make.



Filed under free will

6 responses to “Wired Article on Free Will

  1. The correlation between ethics and freedom beliefs does not necessarily imply causality; there could be extenuating factors that lead people to both a)act unethically and b)believe they don't have total freedom. There are likely experiences, abuse for example, that may lead to both.

  2. Hi Ted, thanks for stopping by!Your point is well taken, one's experiences (particularly relating to helplessness) can no doubt influence one's belief in freedom.However, in the Vohs and Schooler study a correlation was observed. The group that was encouraged in deterministic beliefs was more likely to cheat than the control group was.

  3. Hey you get the Chinese comments too! Glad I am not the only one!

  4. I get those comments too, although I preapprove all comments before they are published so they never appear. They first appeared after I blogged about Brother Yun. I suppose the person used my blogger link list to find more blogs to leave these messages on. By the way, did you know that Roger Olson has a new website? He's not posting articles yet on it, but here is the link: http://www.rogereolson.com/

  5. Hi Mr Guthrie, thanks for the heads up on Dr Olson's site. I hope he starts posting articles there!

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