...computer programs with simple instructions and no random variables can lead to complex and beautiful patterns.
There's no better example than such fractals as The Mandelbrot Set.
Mike doesn't seem to get that randomness doesn't get him anywhere. He has yet to define "will" for us as well.
The notion of metaphysical freedom is unfortunately not clear. Philosophers have been arguing this point for thousands of years.
Epicurus believed that we were created from tiny "atoms" that behaved in regular and lawful ways, but were capable of the occasional "swerve" ie. acting on their own.
This is a quote from "Metaphysics The Elements" by Bruce Aune:
"According to him (Arthur Eddington) the fundamental laws governing the behavior of basic physical entities are irreducibly statistical and certain quantum transition involving those entities are inherently unpredictable and therefore undetermined by antecedent causes or conditions." (p. 188)
"According to the conception of metaphysical freedom, espoused by many contemporary philosophers, it is only when people act as "unmoved movers" that they truly act freely." (p.189)
Here's a rather tongue-in-cheek look at this idea. I read a while ago.
its a good read.
Some deterministic ideas might be falsifiable if there was some deterministic model of prediction for human behavior, if given a set of controlled conditions, and pre-conditions such as mental state, genetics, memories, etc. That particular model of behavior could be falsifiable, but determinism could not be falsifiable. It could be argued under most conditions that there was some unobservable affector/s that causes any action. It might require knowledge and observation of every force in existence to disprove determinism, similar to another theory this community is well aware of.
The problem isn't disproving or proving determinism, the problem is that the whole notion of "free will" doesn't really make sense. Given that there are only two alternatives (three, if you are religious), it's hard to figure out what free will even means. The two alternatives are that our actions happen with necessity driven by the same laws that have water boiling and planets circling around suns. Or else the randomized world of quantum mechanics is responsible. No actual meaningful freedom there. Religious people can introduce the soul, but it's even more problematic (how does a spirit cause worldly things to move, for example. Answer: with the help of God.)
Brain science has established that our subconscious makes decisions a fraction of a second before we are aware of them. We aren't in control of our subconscious. No free will there, either.
There literally is nowhere for free will to be hiding, unless you have some idea where that might be.
Basically, if you want to believe in free will, believe in God. Me, I don't believe in free will.
I agree with you here. I actualy wonder if free will is even something we would want, as it implies being able to make purely random decisions divorced from all past experiences, thoughts, feelings and actions, such a world would likely be pure anarchy and one where it would be entirely impossible to have any expectations about what anyone will ever do. It would be the type of world where a devoted father could come home feeling happy and calm and then the next second murder he's children, not because he was stressed, angry , scared or even because the voices told him to etc , he would do it for no reason at all, because that is what free will implies
We all want to live in a deterministic world where we know how to boil water, where things fall down instead of up and where if a bullet kills someone, we can count on striations on the bullet to determine the murder weapon and where we can establish through powder burns and a timeline who the likely murderer was.
We need determinism for a world that isn't totally chaotic.
The price we pay is that we ourselves are part of that world and can't claim to be exceptional, unless we want to invoke a soul. As atheists, we probably don't want to invoke spiritual entitities in order to rescue determinism.
The soul makes things happen in the physical world by occupying a physical body. Maybe. =^)
There is a deterministic model of prediction for human behavior. My entire career is based off this model. It is well researched in animals that you can create "histories," in controlled environments and then predict behavior. This has also been researched with human behavior in applied settings, and big surprise the same principles are holding to be true. Granted it is not on the large scale of being able to predict an individual's behavior in any given circumstance, but given the body of research thus far this is certainly plausible. That aside, once accurate data is collected, you can, with precision, predict the conditions under which an individual will engage in a behavior and manipulate the consequences to change this behavior.
I was focusing on the falsifiability of determinism in general. I agree that it is highly likely that most things in the universe, including myself and other people are governed by strict laws that direct our actions. However, not all things observed behave in a deterministic fashion and are better modeled using probability (at least as a tool of simplifying complexity), such as the movement of electrons through various orbital shells. This is not to say there isn't a specific underlining direct cause, just that it's difficult(impossible?) to observe one.
However random quantum events appear to be, they seem to follow certain probabilities, and the averaging of the large quantity of events manifests in emergent predictable events, resulting in laws and models.
.. I was about to go on a tirade about emergent properties, but that is probably better left to another day.
So, out the window goes the moral condemnation of "bad" people, for they can't really behave any other way. Even though I believe in determinism at all macro levels (not on subatomic levels), this means that each person is simply acting out their own personal nature, which they did not create. This takes a lot of the glow off saintly people as well. They can't help but be saintly. It's depressing, but the only real reason we can give for punishing "bad" people is that we can't do otherwise.
Another good reason to punish "bad" behavior and reward "good" behavior is that these consequences are what change the future frequency of that behavior. The only problem with blanket consequences based on the form of the behavior is that not everyone does everything for the same reason. I'm not necessarily arguing for individualized consequences on a societal level. My head starts to explode when I think of how to manage this, but certainly on a smaller scale and for those who seem to not work well within the confines of society.