Re: more, briefly

Massimo Pigliucci (
Tue, 07 Apr 1998 09:52:07 -0400


in your latest to Scott you say:

> 1) It is logically inconceivable for me not to believe that there is a
> Creator. Belief in a Creator is an example of what is self-evident to me.
Wow! You must have a weird definition of "self-evident". The existence
of the ocean is self-evident. That humanity's history is plagued with
wars is self-evident. God? If anything, it would be self-evident to me
that s/he is no more than wishful thinking. But that *is* my opinion.
And yours is just that, an opinion, no at all self-evident.

> 3) a) Spend some time musing on the notion that you have no free will. The
> mere fact that you can follow my advice or not proves that you have free
> will.
I'm sorry, but you're being a little philosophically naive here. No, the
ability of changing your mind is by no stretch of the imagination a
proof of free will. Consider this: a computer program can change its
output depending on the input provided (and for sophisticated programs,
this is for all effective purposes "unpredictable", see Big Blue
defeating Kasparov). Would you grant free will to that program?
Similarly, I (or even you) can change my mind as a result of this
discussion, but this would simply be because my particular program
elaborates these inputs in such a way to produce that output. No more.

Where would "free will" reside in the human brain? Is it governed by the
laws of physics? All of this has been eloquently said by Will Provine,
and I refer you to his excellent on-line lecture at the Darwin Day site:


Massimo Pigliucci, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution
Society for the Study of Evolution "Dobzhansky" Awardee
Dept. of Botany, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1100
phone 423-974-6221 fax 0978

Lab page Science & Society Darwin Day Rationalists of East Tennessee

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." -- Emo Phillips ******************************************************************