Embedded in nearly every argument against free will is the Appeal to Effeminacy. Here it is in Alfredo Metere’s new Cosmos article “Does free will exist in the universe? (That would be a no.)”
From such a view, one can be tempted to interject that if free will does not exist, why do we punish criminals? It is not their fault, after all. A counter-argument to that is that punishment is the natural response to crime, such that global equilibrium can be sustained, and therefore punishment is just as unavoidable as the commission of wrongdoing.
No, a natural and consistent response is that if criminals have no choice then neither do their punishers. The Appeal to Effeminacy is to suppose that it is not the fault of people who do wrong things. It is instead the universe’s fault. Therefore there is no culpability. Except in those who say there is culpability. The moralists among us are the only ones who have free will. They have a choice not to punish or condemn, but they choose to punish or condemn. Even though they have no choice but to do whatever it is they do.
In other words, buried is these silly arguments is the desire to get away with something.
The second major and common flaw is the Delusion of Illusion. Metere has that, too.
This in turn means that free will is an inevitable illusion for us humans, due to our subjective perception of the universe, rather than its innermost nature.
It is, of course, impossible to have the illusion of choice. To say that we only have an illusion of choice is therefore a delusion.
Guy says “Mentally pick one of two doors, A or B.” You pick B. Then the guy says, “Ha! There is no door B. There is only A. You had an illusion of choice. Bwa ha ha.”
Besides taking away this fellow’s internet access in an effort to calm him, we can try and tell him that he has just proven there is free will, because you really did choose one of the options. That one of the options failed does not mean you did not choose.
The Delusion Illusion thus has a subtle connection to the Appeal to Effeminacy. You chose to have the extra beer and you crash the car. But you only had the illusion of making the choice to quaff. And therefore the crash wasn’t your fault.
All right, Metere checks off the standard Flaw boxes. But why does he say there’s no free will? It’s almost because of the Deadly Sin of Reification. That true for him?
Physics is based on the idea that nature is mechanistic, which means that it works like a machine….
…we know from quantum mechanics that energy is transferred between physical bodies in discrete amounts, known as quanta. Hence, either Planck length or energy quanta can be considered as the relative sizes of the “pixels” composing the universe…
Fractals curves are recursive functions that require an initial state. Fractal curves require a continuous world to evolve, especially if we know that the initial condition must be an irrational number. From this, we can deduce that the behaviour of physical objects seem to be ultimately dictated by continuous functions somehow perceived by humans through a grid of these “pixels”…
If so, there is a causal relationship between the Big Bang and us. In other words, free will is not allowed, and all of our actions are just a mere consequence of that first event. Such a view is known as “determinism”, or “super-determinism” (if one finds it productive to reinvent the wheel).
If we believe the initial state of the universe to be quantified by a rational number, we are inferring that it is periodic, non-chaotic and globally predictable in nature. But if the initial state is rather quantified by an irrational number, we are instead inferring that the universe is aperiodic, chaotic and therefore only locally predictable in nature.
Therefore, because chaos, there is no free will.
Metere—like many, many—assumes because he can model some thing with numbers, all things can be modeled with numbers, and therefore reality is numbers. And since reality is numbers, and numbers are slaves to their equations, there is no free will.
This is the Deadly Sin of Reification. Mistaking one’s model or theory for reality. It usually happens because the model or theory is so pretty that one cannot help but fall in love. Metere has. It would therefore be churlish of us to talk him out of it.