The Mind is Willing but the Body is Unable

The Battle to Reclaim Free Will

Most neuroscientists today are materialists who believe that everything we do is determined. But this ignores our rationality and free will. There must be a better way.

An article from our friends at Mercatornet. I recommend it to you.

A few issues back Tom Gilson made some great points about this in the pages of Salvo. A very amusing read too.

Hunter-Gatherer Nut Cases: Let’s Just Reduce Our Altruism, Morals & Love to Brain Waves

I opened up “The End of Morality,” Discover magazine’s latest article on ethics and the brain (July/August 2011),1 and I wondered, “Will this be any different from the others?” Articles on this topic seem to follow a consistent pattern: (1) Researchers can pinpoint physical events taking place in people’s brains when they make ethical decisions. (2) Thus, science is discovering, finally, what ethics is all about: it’s chemistry and electricity doing their chemical and electrical thing inside your skull. And that’s it.

It’s an approach many thinkers call reductionist. Reductionism in this context means that crucial aspects of human experience, like consciousness, love, ethical decisions, the ability to make choices (free will), and so on are best understood as biological processes, which in turn are best understood in terms of chemistry and physics. It’s a matter of bringing down—reducing—these things to the lowest level of physical explanation.

According to reductionism, in fact, the only real thing going on is what happens at the level of chemistry and physics. Everything else—whether it’s an ethical decision, a seemingly free choice, the love we feel for that special someone, whatever we think makes us human—is just a by-product. Some say everything but chemistry and physics is an illusion. So society is an illusion? Love is just a neuron in heat?

read the rest . . .

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