Scott Adams does a serious blog entry every Sunday and yesterday he wrote about free will:
Unfortunately, I can’t convince most people that free will doesn’t exist. I have
tried arguing that the laws of physics clearly apply to brains, and brains cause
your actions. That seems so obvious to me that belaboring it with additional
evidence would be overkill.
Unfortunately it’s not obvious. The laws of physics are models we use to try to understand the way things work, and different models are needed for different corners of the universe. Believing that the laws of physics as we understand them are engraved on a stone tablet is no more scientific than believing in Creationism. One model that works very well for living in society is that by and large people have control of, and are responsible for, their behavior. That is free will. While there may be a deterministic process that produces human behavior given some initial state, unless and until that state can be measured and the resultant behavior predicted, determinism is simply not a useful theory. Given the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, it seems unlikely such a precise measurement could ever take place.
More to the point, my beliefs are actually a major source of input to any such deterministic mechanism. That why religions have such a major effect on the world, for good or evil. If you believe people can do anything of value with their lives, evangelizing for determinism doesn’t seem like a good strategy for causing that to happen. If it were me, I’d instead write books illustrating the degree to which we get surreptitiously programmed and how to counteract that and live life to the fullest.