Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

A Scientist’s Defense of Free Will

By Mahir S. Ozdemir

Why scientists should not jump to the unwarranted conclusion that free will is just an illusion.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Our commonsensical view holds that everything we do in life is a choice and we are totally free to choose between the options which we think are available to us. Many scientists, however, see a fundamental problem with the conventional wisdom about free will and claim that it is nothing more than an illusion.

After all, the adult brain is a 1.3-kg mass of jellylike tissue made up of billions of neurons. And all those neurons consist ultimately of atoms obeying the exact same laws of physics as everything else in the universe. Everything that happens- in a physical universe such as ours- must necessarily have an inevitable cause. This means that for any decision we make, we could not have done otherwise. So, we have no true choice. No free will.

Amen.

Since the cause-effect relationship is the fundamental tenet of science, if you are in one fashion or another defending free will, then you are wasting your time and giving in to this anti-scientific nonsense, saying that here is something which has not been caused.

When talking about free will, the one thing that is almost invariably brought up by free will deniers is the famous Libet experiment.

Nearly three decades ago, a neuropsychologist by the name of Benjamin Libet at the University of California, performed one of the most thought-provoking and controversial experiments in...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.