I’ve been reading a book called 13 things that don’t make sense – baffling scientific mysteries – by Michael Brooks and one of the chapters is Free Will.
The evidence we have so far, leans towards no free will; that we are just brain machines.
One of the more compelling proof for no free will, is that if a person exposes various parts of your brain to an electro-magnetic field, your body parts will move – a hand, finger, leg, arm – the part dependent on the intensity and location of the current.
The person waving the device has control of your body, totally.
By using less current that would result in actual movement, subjects reported the urge to move some part of their body, and by increasing the power, the body part actually moves.
Other tests show brain activity 350 milliseconds in advance of actual movement.
So it appears that consciousness is a trick the brain plays on itself in order to avoid dealing with the cognitive dissonance of being self aware as an entity, but not self aware of brain functioning.
But the idea that we are brainbots, is disturbing, and it’s an aspect of consciousness to be unware of the brain’s importance to being exactly who and what we are. Especially when you consider that brain injuries cause major personality changes.
We reduce the brain to just another organ, and maintain the illusion that we are something else, something spiritual or energy matric that in inhabiting the body and brain, that somehoe the brain is what connects the pure spirit self with the physical meatbag body, that the brain is both the operating system of the body, and what connects the matter body with the energy self.
Our bodies become the mechanical devices that transports our brains to where there’s food, shelter and other brains to interact with, because we don’t want to be just the clever animal or meatbag supporting the grey glob.
This cognitive dissonance of not wanting to be just a brainbot is likely why so many people cling to being godbots – that something higher makes us more than a brainbot animal, but imbues us with specialness.
It actually make sense then, that a group who is true believers in a deity that makes them special, with purpose and makes them not animals, could then view other people who don’t share the belief, to be as animals, so provide the justification for slavery and other atrocities against fellow, but to their godbot justified brains, less than human.
But, what does there not being free will really mean?
If we really aren’t in control of our decisions/choices, and are just brainbots – then it’s not really possible to hold people accountable or responsible for their actions, since, they had no choice, given their personality program – which undermines our legal system for starters.
An uncomfortable thought, no one being accountable.
My Premise is that genetics determines a lot about us – not just physically but also personality. The debate of nature v nurture isn’t really which one, but rather, what’s the ratio of each side’s influence? Can it be altered over the course of a life, that is, will treating people different, result in their behaving differently?
The biological imperative of organisms is survival and reproduction.
So, if we are just brain support systems, it doesn’t make sense that we would be able to make decisions that would work against survival and reproduction opportunities
Yet, we do.
People who can rationalize extreme criminal acts are not working in their survival/reproductive interests, nor are suicides, childless by choice (rather than lack of opportunity) or sacrificing your life for a stranger’s.
Yet, these event occur regularly, some people even make it literally their jobs to put their lives at risk for other people’s lives or for maintaining social order.
There must be some portion of our behaviours and decisions that are randomly up to whatever we are individually; much like, while genetics drives your body development and appearance, fingerprints are not genetically driven – they are unique and random – even between the closest appearing of identical twins.
So, that we have fingerprints is genetically determined, but what those fingerprints end up looking like, there is no genetic code for, it’s random as far as we can tell.
So, genetics must give us our emotional range, our skill potential – but the limitations are based in the quality of our nurturing, our experiences, our personalities.
Much of what and who we are does seem to arise from genetics, given the decades long study of twins separated at birth, but who, despite having being raised in different households, end up leading parallel lives – making similar career choices and having similar families as adults. But en then, there’s random variation, small differences that make each twin unique.