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January 10, 2012

Ideas that Undermine Themselves

Ideas that Undermine Themselves

Ideas like this defeat themselves. I’m John Stonestreet, and this is The Point.

Yesterday I mentioned an article by Jerry Coyne that claimed to know with certainty that free will is an illusion and that physics and chemistry really determine our thoughts and actions. Of course, if that’s true, Coyne’s article was pre-determined by the same mindless process. And so is the choice to believe him or not.

But still Coyne says, we’re stuck with this illusion that we have free will. So, we have to pretend to have free will, even though we know we don't. We’ll have to pretend we can choose whether to buy his book Why Evolution is True or not. And if we read it, we’ll have to pretend that it makes some difference whether we choose to believe it’s true, and for that matter pretend that anything we believe has meaning when all our thoughts are determined for us. We’ll have to pretend the writing from the chemistry and physics inside Coyne's brain means something, and we’ll have to pretend that our brains' physics and chemistry can understand it. We'll even have to pretend to choose we're pretending to choose all this. Whew... that’s a lot of pretending. For, I’m John Stonestreet.

Further Reading

Why You Don't Really Have Free Will
Jerry A Coyne | USA Today | January 01, 2012

Free Will or No Free Will?
John Stonestreet | The Point | January 09, 2012

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