Today on Discovery
we join veteran actor Morgan
Freeman in another outstanding episode of the acclaimed Science Channel
documentary series Through the Wormhole which explores the question - Do We
Have Free Will? Enterprise
Can physics and neuroscience answer this central philosophical and existential question?
We like to think we are the masters of our fates. But is that really true? What if everything that has happened or will happen in the universe has already been set, from the Big Bang to the Last Gasp, and we are unable to change our inevitable destinies?
|How predictable are you? Silicon Valley maverick Sean Gorley is using big numbers to predict the future. His data shows that individual free will is powerless to change the overall course of history.|
Until the discovery of quantum uncertainty, physicists were convinced this was true; free will doesn't exist. Now, many aren't so sure. Nobel prize winner Gerard 't Hooft is old school: he says there is a deeper reality than the quantum world where everything is determined, but it's so complex we'll never understand it.
Physicist Ken Wharton says free will may exist, but it's only possible if the future can reach back and affect the past! Brain scientists are also stepping into the fray, arguing that free will is an illusion. Using a Frisbee, two students and a dog, psychologist Dennis Shaffer shows that most of the time we are not really thinking, we are just following automatic programs that guide our actions. Groundbreaking experiments conducted by neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes prove our unconscious minds make decisions well before we consciously "decide" to do something...so we are just machines.
But pioneering cognitive scientist Mike Gazzaniga counters, while we might indeed be machines, that doesn't rule out free will. So who is right? Perhaps, says neuroscientist Jonathan Schooler, we're better off not knowing. Schooler's experiments show that without the belief in free will, humans can lose their sense of right and wrong.
~The Science Channel
Through the Wormhole ~ Do We have Free Will? can be purchased from Amazon Books.
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