I’m finally catching up on posting items about our monthly meeting programs. This brings us up to date.
This program involved a recent presentation on the concept/topic of free will given by Jerry Coyne at the Imagine No Religion 5 conference held in Vancouver, Canada. Jerry has had a long time interest in the idea of free will and has staked out his own position by arguing that free will is merely an illusion and doesn’t really exist. The title of this talk is, appropriately enough given his view, “You Don’t Have Free Will”. The argument for his position is based on his perception that everything we know about the brain and its relationship to our behavior supports the view that it and the associated concept of mind ultimately reduce to material events and there is no real gap into which one can insert an immaterial, supernatural or spiritual essence. If the brain has only a material existence, all our actions can be explained by material events which could, in principle, be reduced to physical events which would lead to predictable outcomes. We have no choice in our actions separate from these material events even if we feel we do. This is not a position likely to produce a lot of jolly agreement from most of us.
So, watch the video, load up your arguments, take aim and give old Jerry hell for trying to wreck one of our favorite ideas even if it doesn’t feel religious.