We had a massive debate at TPN HQ last night (until my internet access dropped out at midnight and didn’t return) about the subject of free will which was kicked off in a massive twitter debate during the day.
My central postulate was this: if every decision you have is a thought: and if a thought is an autonomous electro-chemical process in the brain: then to claim to have free will, you have to be able to explain how you create a thought outside the process of causality.
The discussion got fairly heated at one point when I (probably wrongly) threatened to eject Dave from The Global Geek Podcast if he kept interrupting me. Sorry Dave, probably harsh. Belinda says I get like that during debates.
Anyway, nobody in the room was able to explain to me how they create a thought except to say “I think them”, which, in my opinion, is a circular argument, because the next question is “how did you decide to think that thought?”.
My other suggestion was that if you are in control of your thoughts, you should be able to stop having them. I suggested everyone in the room stop thinking for ten minutes, and when everyone agreed they couldn’t do that, I asked how they could claim to be in control of the creation of thoughts if they couldn’t stop them at will also? This lead to lots of angst and “but but but” retorts, none of which held any water.
Second Life is a pretty good environment for having discussions like this with people from around the world in real time, although you still suffer from the issue of having 20 people trying to talk at once at times. We need a virtual talking stick to pass around or something. Perhaps someone should create one.