I couldn’t help writing about this… Scott Adams’ Dilbert Blog spoke today of the Illusion of Free Will.
He refers at one point to the scientific fact that we can make decisions before the neurons in the rational part of our brains become active, and then we ‘remember’ the action as having been caused by rational thought.
This phenomenon is referenced in Robert Sawyer’s most recent book, Mindscan (which we don’t, unfortunately, have in audiobook format yet).
Part of me thinks that it’s irrelevant if we have free will or not.
After all, you can’t really test it, and frankly, it doesn’t make much difference if we do have free will or not, we should just go ahead and pretend we do, and everything will work out the same.
But part of me wants to just start doing stupid things and claim that the absence of free will made me do it.
Of course, then all the other people who are ignorantly still pretending to have free will would either put me in jail, stone me, or worse, not notice.
While the thought of leading a short-lived life of grandeur is appealing, the thought of being stoned overrides it. Then again, if I don’t have free will, none of this matters anyway.
If you read in this blog tomorrow that Sanjay won’t be writing any more due to his becoming a phrenologist’s dream, don’t blame me. I had no say in the matter.