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The Forum > Article Comments > Do we have free will? > Comments

Do we have free will? : Comments

By Louis O'Neill, published 5/11/2018

Unpacking Sam Harris’ belief that we don’t have control over our actions.

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Don't be shy Louis, come out and say it, the denial of free will is absolute insanity.

Rather than repeat my reasons for saying that here I would refer you to an OLO article, www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=17152 which I wrote a few years ago reviewing Sam Harris's book, Free Will.

In short, yes, we have free will.
Posted by JP, Monday, 5 November 2018 9:28:14 AM
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I chose to read the first page of the article but not the rest. Some of the words I chose to not read, some I ignored by chance. This proves freeish willish , 3:1.
Posted by nicknamenick, Monday, 5 November 2018 9:56:44 AM
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Interesting topic. Do we choose our parents/the circumstances of our birth? Yes, we do, if one believes in reincarnation and Karma. Or if you will, reaping what you sow.

Does one choose to steal or acquire funds illicitly? Lie/bear false witness to cover it up? Well, yes as an act of free will.
As does the inebriated alcoholic, who knows for sure and certain he/she cannot stop with just the onesie!

While there would seem to be a growing body of evidence for reincarnation and Karma, none whatsoever for, it all ends with our last breath.

As for free will? The only thing we would seem to have absolute control over is the thoughts we care to entertain in our heads. And with them our every attitude.

Two decisions affect us almost every day, to respond to this or that with love or hate, to exercise control, resolve not to let go of our control which does when we relinquish that control, allow us to fly off the handle/lash out verbally or physically/hurt or harm, or comfort and help.

And we saw our better Angels and free will in action when those Lads in Thailand were trapped deep in an underground cave and the word set aside its petty differences long enough to rescue every lad, with the only casualty being one of the rescuers!

That aside, free will would seem limited to our decision making processes/choices. To be or not to be to buy or not to buy/rack up unaffordable debt or forgo gratuitous self-indulgence and make do with what we have now, given it still serves its original purpose but doesn't look as shiny and new as the other must-haves that predominate in the material world.

At the end of the day, many of these questions will remain unanswered? Some things could be predetermined? Just as a stone thrown into a pond creates ripples, so also the immutable law of cause and effect! It matters not, that one does not recall the cause! To still experience the effect!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Monday, 5 November 2018 10:16:48 AM
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Louis,

While you've provided an explanation of determinism, I didn't readily see your definition of free-will.

Would you please provide me with a concise definition of free-will?

This has involved a significant debate in theological circles with the 'determinism' (predestination) of Calvinists vs the free-will of Arminians.

Would you mind explaining what you mean by free-will?
Posted by OzSpen, Monday, 5 November 2018 10:20:56 AM
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Calvinists certainly have no free-will , that's obvious to them and to Islam.
Posted by nicknamenick, Monday, 5 November 2018 10:27:59 AM
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Sam Harris is one in a long line of god deniers who can't help but to come to ridiculous conclusions.
Posted by runner, Monday, 5 November 2018 11:30:09 AM
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