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Is free will real?

So I just want to poll the room and ask what you all think about the idea of free will. I consider myself a natural determinist which means I think our conscious decisions being controlled by the physical workings of our brains that we have no control over cause us to experience the illusion of free will. Thoughts?

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Hamiltron9000 4 May 10

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It needs a 'sometimes' option which I would click on.


Yes, we have the illusion of free will, but it is not true free will. And most people have no idea how much power their subconscious mind has over their day to day decisions. A lot of our decisions are in fact made for us by details processed in our hidden subconscious master brain, and we just think what we decide was done all by our conscious selves. But the system works very well and it works so fast and so seamlessly with our slower conscious mind that we get the illusion we are deciding things entirely on our own. Our conscious mind has no real direct connection with the outside world except for what our subconscious mind decides to show us.


You can argue both ways until the cows come home so I decided to vote but......I'm not going to say because that could influence your free will in a response πŸ™‚


If I vote yes, it could be because I am programmed to, believing that I have free will
If I vote no it could be because I can, having free will.
Can I have a bandage for my Head?


I did read about a scientific study recently where it is determined that the brain lights up before somebody thinks about moving a certain muscle. So your brain knows you're going to lift your hand or wiggle your toes before you think about and/or do it. While following where the reading led me, I learned that I am not the only weirdo who sometimes, when laying down, just sticks my arm straight up in the air. So after reading about that study, I wonder why our brains do that. Well, I've always wondered why, but not realized anybody else did this. Apparently, tons of people do. Yet I don't have a conclusion on whether I think this negates free will. I mean, my brain may decide on little motions or whatever, but I believe it's more than electrical impulses that decide things like where I'm going to move and such. Well, no, I mean, it is electrical impulses, but with the input of - wait. I don't believe in souls exactly, but am I just nothing more than a combo of electrical impulses?

Uh oh. I think I shouldn't have answered this shit, and surely not at 2:58 AM. Who am I? What am I? WTF?


This topic has come up in the past and I will reiterate what I wrote then -

There is an old Jewish saying that goes -
God gave us two ears - we cannot not listen…
He gave us two eyes - we cannot not see…
God gave us a nose - we cannot not smell.
God also gave us two hand - we can choose to touch or choose not…
He gave us a mouth - we can say something or choose not…
God gave us a brain - we can think and change our minds.

I am a non-believer, an atheist, but understand the meaning of this short pithy.

like it, Dave, overall. But I find often that I tune out conversations around me when listening seems like eavesdropping or it's tedious. So, I'd modify God gave us two ears to we can listen but we don't have to hear or something along those lines
also, when you say old Jewish saying...can you narrow it down to geographic/historical origin? Are we taking NY? Eastern Europe? Biblical? πŸ˜‰ or unknown?

@crazycurlz Unknown - I read it in a Jewish newspaper years ago in Denveer.

@SageDave cool. And, is Denveer somewhere in the US of A? πŸ™‚

@crazycurlz Yes ma'am, in Coloraado. LOL Typing on my phone is not easy for fat fingers.

@SageDave makes my day to tease a journalist about their spelling. πŸ˜‰ have a good week.


I hadn't thought too much about the question until seeing a video on YouTube with a discussion between Cosmic Skeptic and Rationality Rules... they discussed Sam Harris' Free Will... and after reading the book and watching their discussion a second time, I came to the same conclusion.

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