Do we have freewill?

What would be your definition of freewill, or does it even exist? I have heard nothing but people saying that there is no freewill, that it isn’t possible. I would disagree, being an atheist means not having to listen to their nonsense or practice any of their beliefs. I think organized religions only exist to control other’s lives and to make a few very rich. I have nothing but contempt for all religions equally. I live in my own little world with few friends and a very religious family that practices their beliefs very openly. I choose to ignore them and live my life as much as I can the way that I choose too.(does that make sense?)

The song FREEWILL by RUSH can really make you think about the way the world works around us. I choose to live my life on my own terms, including how much longer I want to stick around this fucked-up society. In my opinion, I do have freewill, I neither practice nor participate in any worship of anyone or anything. NON SERVIAM.

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“Of course we have free will because we have no choice but to have it.” – Christopher Hitchens


Another “hitch slap”

I’ve met lots of people who say we don’t have free will. I’ve never met anyone who lives their life that way (they only pay lip-service to this belief).

If you want to have some fun with them; drop a nasty insult on them. When they freak out and want to know why you did it; shrug your shoulders and tell them you don’t have freewill, you had to do it; it isn’t your fault.

Or just refuse to take responsibility for anything with them; and repeatedly cite your lack of freewill as the reason.

Trust me; you will find very quickly that they do in fact believe in free will.

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Depends on the definition of “Free Will.” I think the current trend is to simply call it “Will” and omit the ‘free’ part. There is absolutely no way at all to discover if our ‘will’ is free or not. We can not go back in time and change an activity or decision. We can not demonstrate that any choice we make is not determined by all past events in out lives and who we are as a person as a result of all those influences, just one big chain of causality.

While this is true, we are still stuck with the idea of holding people personally accountable for their choices / actions. If determinism is true, no one is directly responsible for the things they do and free will is an illusion.

What we end up doing, what I have done, is for all intent and purpose, imagine I have a free will and I am directly accountable for my decisions and my actions. I live my life ‘as if’ I have a free will. But not only that, I treat others as if they have the exact same free will that I have. In my world view, ‘choice’ is always an option. And frankly, I could give a shit what the philosophers say. You are responsible and so am I.

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Based on my personal experiences, I am capable of making decisions without an external agent. Thus, to the best of my abilities, I believe I have free will.

At least on a personal scale. I understand the basic science in how this universe was formed and evolved, and to me, those large scale events are a result of the initial conditions immediately after the rapid expansion. Would our sun have formed in the exact method and timing it currently enjoys? I have no way of determining that, so I won’t lose any sleep worrying.

Is “free will” even testable?

Just so. As metaphysical claims tend to be, it’s unfalsifiable as far as I can tell…

It’s one of those questions which has confused me for decades.

I have accepted the notions of genetic and psychological determinism and concluded that free will is probably largely if not entirely an illusion . I have no idea when if ever free will applies.

Day to day, I feel as if I have free will and the outside world is predicated on the existence of free will. So, I live my life as if I have free will. That’s the best I can do without tying myself into permanent knots over something over which I cannot control

Please do excuse my grammar and spelling. English is not my mother tongue.

The consept of not having free choice is an interesting one if you consider the consequences should it be true.

Sam Harris has a book called Free Will which might help, it just confuses me more.

I think free will does exist but is not as free as we like to believe. The choices we make are influenced by the experiences we have had in life up to that point and the way we feel.

In his book Sam Harris says that when he is thirsty he might open the fridge and choose between having water or having a beer, both perfectly valid choices, but having orange juice never occurd to him. Did he have a choice to not drink orange juice if he did not see it in the fridge?

Do we hold people accountable for not choosing options that they did not know exist?
If your actions are influenced by your hormone levels at that point, do we hold those actions as taken under free will or are you a ‘slave’ to your physical makeup?

Why do so many serial killers show signs of psychological ‘damage’ as youngsters, is it because they are born that way, or do they choose to become that way.

Maybe they are born that way, but do not choose to change?

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Our life experiences do determine our psychological makeup. So early trauma can definitely mess a person up.

I fully agree that our “instincts”, emotions, and hormones can determine a decision. But for most of my daily activities, IMO I am free to decide as I choose.

A few days ago I was holding a precious piece of glass artwork. It slipped through my fingers, but I easily caught it. But for a fraction of a second, my adrenaline spiked. Obviously, I had no control over that adrenaline rush. But I had full control immediately after.

I agree with you.
I might even go as far as to say that the adrinaline spike is what caused you to react, a reaction that came naturally without choice.

I believe that free will exists, but it is not as ‘free’ as we like to believe.
In most of my day to day life I think I choose freely, but I am sure that sometimes I subconsciously default to the option that agrees most with who(experiences) and what(nature/hormones/phisycal) I am.

There is a lecture on human behaviour biology on youtube that does stress, for me atleast, the lack of the ‘freeness’ we excersice in the choices we make.

No, we don’t have free will.

Sorry, that was an involuntary response.


But why did you have full control?

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For a fraction of a second my body was in automatic mode. But as soon as I knew I had the glass safely in my grasp, then I was able to think and observe my surroundings and my body state.

A similar thing happened to me at the weekend, when I inadvertently launched a small dumbbell across the bedroom floor using the little toe of my left foot.

Except I seemed to be observing myself afterward from outside of my body. And making involuntary sounds like a dolphin giving birth, that set every dog in the street barking.


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That does not sound like something that would come from an atheist.

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I got stressed because I replied to quickly please forgive me I make mistakes very easy when I am stressed :pleading_face: .I became atheist in 2019 and I have a lot nightmares from my past I think I suffer from Ptsd sometimes I struggle to concentrate .If I made a mistake I am very sorry please forgive me :pleading_face: . I may not debate very good but I lost all faith back 2019 I was once religious but time is over.


You can not base your argument against free will on a book that is not considered true.

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No problem good sir. I am very aware that detaching yourself from this disease can be painful and take many years. I have made similar mistakes.

But you did the honorable and mature thing. You owned up to a mistake, and offered a very valid explanation. For that you have earned my respect.


Well there is pretty good evidence that the world is not determined.

So if one was to believe that the world must either be determined or have freewill; I’d say the verdict is pretty much in, in favor of free will.

Personally, I suspect the demand that either determinism or free will is true, is a false dichotomy. If that is the case: then the rejection of determinism doesn’t necessarily endorse free will.

I’d go so far as to made the wild speculation: I don’t think free will is defined well enough to test if it is true. Often hard questions are hard because they are phrased poorly. And when they are later re-expressed in a more helpful way, the answers become obvious. I’m suggesting that the concept of free will is suffering from this problem.

Not sure about that. “Soft determinism” is a popular alternative. There is also ‘indeterminism’, which is not so popular.

I return to my basic position about matters metaphysical: No one knows. The answer to the question is unfalsifiable as far as I can tell… Reality may not be argued into or out of existence as far as I know.

In my reality I feel as if I have free wil and live accordingly.

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