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Is Free Will Real or Are We All Determined?

Throughout Sean Carroll's best-selling book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016), Carroll seems comfortable holding two apparently contradictory views. This has been show throughout our review series. For example, he's fine both believing that causality is illusory (at the fundamental level of reality) and true (at the macroscopic level.) We see this again in the chapter he dedicates to free will, which begins with this assessment (emphasis... Read More

Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will: A Review of Alfred Mele’s “Free”

In his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein complained that “in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion.” What he meant is that academic psychologists too often interpret empirical evidence in light of unexamined and dubious metaphysical assumptions. What is presented as good science is really just bad philosophy. The recent spate of neuroscientific and psychological literature claiming to show that free will is an illusion provides a case in... Read More

The Self-Defeating Argument About Intelligence

Alexander Wissner-Gross, a physicist at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cameron Freer, a mathematician at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, have developed an equation to describe intelligent or cognitive behaviors. They suggest that intelligent behavior can be explained as an impulse to control events in the environment. The mathematics are rooted in the theory of thermodynamics. The model relies on entropy, the mathematically-defined thermodynamic... Read More

Free-Thinking: Doctrine or Illusion?

Recently there was an excellent question in the Strange Notions comment boxes from Rob Tish. He wanted to know what the Bible means when it says God created man in His own image: "If God is so fundamentally and essentially different from us, then in what sense are we made in His image?" In a word: We are free-thinkers. Since invoking that word requires some explanation, the response is three-fold. First is the answer to Rob's question, with explanation and reference to the Catechism of... Read More