Pro: Science leaves no room for free will. Con: Science leaves room for free will. Science: Science involves a systematic method of acquiring knowledge about and explanations of the natural world through observation and experimentation. ● Science aims to achieve (or, at least approach) a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the natural world. ● Science aims to identify a set of general laws that govern the structure and behavior of the natural world. ● Science seeks to test hypotheses against observable physical evidence. ● Science is (or produces) an organized body of knowledge about the natural world. Leaves No Room For: fundamentally incompatible with Free Will: the ability to act on the basis of conscious reasoning about what decision to make and the genuine possibility to make a different decision, given everything as it is at the time the decision is made.
Pro Science leaves no room for free will. Science has proven that free will is nothing more than an illusion created by the human mind. The definition of “science” is “a systematic method of acquiring knowledge about and explanations of the natural world through observation and experimentation.” This definition leave no room for free will, because free will cannot be observed. For instance, if you were deciding whether to take a slightly bigger or slightly smaller piece of pie, hypothetically, it could be explained scientifically why you made that decision. Your decision had many factors to consider in both the conscious and subconscious mind, all the way down to a biochemical level. Neuroscientists from The University of Berkeley have studied the decision- making part of the brain and have shown that our decisions are completely predictable, quote “tasks like these require a wide range of processes, and what results is a fascinating dance of planning, comparing, and competition amongst brain regions. One spot may respond particularly to moral quandaries, while another is responsible for deciding how much you’d benefit from that slightly bigger piece of pie. These neural signals get bounced back and forth any time you make a decision, and Hsu ties them down to particular moments in the decision-making process.” Having studied these spots in the brain and knowing how they react to different neural signals, they have actually successfully predicted decisions of test subjects by using pharmacologic manipulation. By drugging these test subjects, the leader of the experiment, Dr. Ming Hsu, was able to control these different neural signals to make the test subjects make the same decision 100% of the time. After analyzing this experiment, he found that the chemical dopamine had a strong impact on risk assessment, and the test subjects would always make riskier decisions when given dopamine.
- Winter '17
- Timothy Bonsant