A Simplified Conversation about Free Will with Sam Harris:
Sam: Do you have free will?
Me: Maybe, I sure hope so.
Sam: Are you future decisions based on your past, your deep conscious and unconscious past?
Sam: Now, do you have any control of the past, genes, childhood and other experiences?
Sam: If you have no control of your future decisions because they are based on your uncontrollable past, do you have free will?
Me: I guess not, Sam Harris.
A person’s conscious thoughts, intentions, and efforts at every moment are preceded by causes of which he is unaware. What is more, they are preceded by deep causes—genes, childhood experience, etc.—for which no one, however evil, can be held responsible.
I discussed free will with friends and used the book’s arguments. My friends enjoy a good debate, and we debate often. At the end of the night, I had two results:
- I guess we don’t have free will, who cares.
- Thomas, please stop asking if we have free will, go away.
Sam Harris, always making friends with everyone.