I interrupt my normal blog posting time to give you a silly little cartoon that illustrates the absurdity of “libertarian” (not to be confused with the political position) free will, also known as “contra-causal” free will. The idea that “randomness” could in some way make a decision more “free” is one that baffles the best of us, yet there are some people who believe that indeterminism or randomness in some way helps grant some sort of free will.
This mistake most often comes from the “Free Will vs. Determinism” accounts that historically pit free will against causal determinism. Libertarians tend to think that if we can show that the universe is not entirely “causally deterministic”, that if there is some “indeteminism” (whatever notion of indeterminism you want) in the universe, that free will is possible in light of a lack of the determinism that makes it impossible.
The problem, however, is that indeterminism is just as incompatible for free will as determinism. Worse than this, if random or uncaused events actually had any say in our decision making process, they would be events that would be totally outside of our ability to choose those events. The chances are such events would be a detriment to our decision making process.
Causality gives our processes consistency, and though we cannot freely will our decision and our will itself is a forced event, our consistent causal will leads to the decision. Throw in some totally random variables that have some effect on our thoughts and decisions and all consistency of thought and decision making get’s thrown out the window.
This makes the libertarian position one that displays how far into absurdity some are willing to go in order to say they have “free will”. In reality, any decision that is reliant on truly random variables (or even pseudo-random variables tantamount to a roll of dice) are about as free as the decision of popping off the other guys head off in the cartoon when being asked to choose a card.
For a detailed account of why non-caused or random (truly random as well as not-truly random) events cannot help grant free will, check out Breaking the Free Will Illusion for the Betterment of Humankind on Amazon:
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