We are all determinists even if we unaware of it. We do not expect the car to start by itself. We do not expect the grass to cut itself. We do not expect the food to make its way to our mouth without using a spoon or fork. We do not expect the window to open or close without our taking some action. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
When it comes to other behaviors, we expect them to happen by “magic”, or “free will’.. No cause. This really defiles logic if one thinks about it at all. “I decided to do it”, “I made up my mind to do it”. “I just wanted to do it”. I chose to do it”. All of these statements and many more like them are taken for granted. We never question them because they are so common in our culture and most other cultures.
In nature it’s easier to see some of the determinants. We know certain atmospheric conditions will produce certain results. Low pressure is likely to produce storms. High pressure is likely to produce some nice weather. We do not say the weather god does it or evil spirits or good spirits. We know there are certain determinants involved with producing whatever weather we experience.
We know animals will behave in certain ways given the right conditions. Geese fly south when winter approaches. Bears hibernate when the time comes. Snakes will strike under certain circumstances.
But you say, “Man is the exception”. We can magically decide, choose to do whatever we want to do with no relevant variables that might be involved in determining what we do. Just because we cannot always, or even often, see the determinants, this does not mean there is none involved.
I hold religion as being the primary contributor to this belief system. The whole guilt, punishment and sin concept is supported by free will. “You chose to do it, now we can punish you”. “You did it of your own free will, therefore we can say you are guilty and punish you.”
What I find really odd in a way, is the lack of interest in the whole subject of choosing or free will. It really must scare the hell out of people. Or, it just goes over our heads and we ignore the whole subject. Maybe some of you have some input on this. If so, I would really like to hear/see it.