Free Will and Randomness
(Top Posts - Philosophy (General) - 050603)


If you perceive one's brain activity as both a result of naturalistic
factors -and- naturalistic ** randomness **

(i.e., competition between neurons / synapses),

therein resides the totality of being naturalistically explained,
apart from absolute determinism, and apart from so-called
absolute "free will".

Simply put, genes (no control) + stimuli (all resulting from
the genes one was born with and the envirnoment of those
genes, building upon one another constantly from incep-
tion) + randomness (see following paragraph) ...

Put another way, if you explain every act by every human in
terms of the totality of genes + stimuli + the random activity
of the human brain (i.e., the way in which neurons / synap-
ses "compete" and it's only by random chance that a par-
ticular synapsual connection takes precedence over alter-
natives), therein would reside a holistic and total explan-
ation for all human behavior.

I was on my way to a nearby drugstore last night, and I
thought many thoughts about buckling my seat-belt after
the journey had begun. The primary thought was an inci-
dence a few years ago when I saw a traffic accident, a
pivotal moment in my life in which I was influenced into
becoming a seatbelt-buckling devotee. Much later, in a
traffic accident, my seatbelt was buckled in no small mea-
sure due to my having witnessed that traffic accident years
earlier.

Many other influences were at play, few of which I might
access consciously, but all playing on the buckling-of-the-
seatbelt issue. All were neuronally/synapsually induced,
naturalistically.

I bought something at the drugstore.

After leaving the drugstore, when I entered the van, my
brain invoked a buckling seatbelt reflex, but it was totally
different than the memory-experience on the way to the
drugstore. It was simply a get-in-the-van and buckle-the-
seatbelt experience.

See how that works? I, a biocarbon unit, within a physical
medium, was acting on the physicality of brain activity,
as imparted naturalistically, through genetic-stimuli-random
brain activity ... no more, no less. Both the trip to the drug-
store and the trip back home, totally a result of naturalistic
influences imparting the totality of that which is me, no
more, no less ...

Put another way, if you add up the electrical, chemical,
and hormonal activity within each brain and body, and
parse it down to every instance of time (far beyond human
comprehension experientially, but examinable if humans
had the capability to examine each minute instance of time,
on every level), therein would reside the totality of being,
a physical manifestation of that which is existence ...

Why did ______ (enter person here) do that? Simply a
result of the totality of that person's genes + stimuli +
random brain activity ... and therein resides the totality
of human behavior ...

If one views oneself as the totality of a naturalistically
encapsulated experience, as a result, rather than as a
godlike entity existing apart from the physicality of human
experience, what has one lost, really? Seems to me one
has come much closer to verity than one is capable of
if one surrounds oneself with myths / legends / religions
imparting some godlike "free will / self-determination"
which is so far removed from the actuality of existence
that it's absurd and self-defeating, when all is said and
done ...

Religious folks tend to fear the diminishment of free will,
as if one cannot act in a responsible, moral, and self-
respecting manner if the myth of free will is put to rest.

I submit, the myth of free will is best buried 'neath the
verity of naturalism, and in the recognition of our natur-
alistic state, therein resides the hope that humans can
master that which is our destiny, seeking to understand
and control the physical parameters in which we are
forced, by the physicality of our being, to exist within,
in actuality regardless of the tendency for many to
pretend (and believe) that their existence is apart from
naturalistic constraints which are far removed from the
illusion many have of godlike control over one's ultimate
fate ...