HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Free Will Belief does not Justify Reward/Punishment
 
"Punishment makes more sense if you can attribute a deed to a preference, inclination, or attitude (a stable will) within the perpetrator than if you figure the perpetrator could have acted differently – and might act differently next time" Joachim I Krueger Ph.D.

 

What doctrine is the greatest blessing to humanity? The doctrine of free will or determinism? Determinism is the doctrine that we are not free but programmed by forces in our minds to do what we do and that we only imagine we have a real choice. The forces are our forces which is why they make us feel free when we do what they want. This feeling is used as a reason to think we had the power to do differently what we did. But it is not a reason at all. Thinking you have free will because you feel free is a mistake.
  
CAN WE REWARD THE PAST?
  
If it were not for the notion that free good acts should be rewarded and free bad ones punished, nobody would believe or want to believe in free will. Free will, at least on the human practical level, does not support them anyway as we shall see. So it makes no difference. It is complained that determinism abolishes the notion of rewards and punishment. Determinism retains them but has a more honest understanding of them.
 
Giving rewards for an act is giving a reward because of the person’s past. The reward is not principally given because the person has merited it but to encourage good endeavour in the future. Rewards are more future-centred than anything. The only way one can be given is based on the person’s past performance. So the rewards that are given are not real rewards. These "rewards" can still be done without belief in merit so the abolition of the fascist gibberish that is free will shall not make drastic changes in the way we live and think. When the main reason for bestowing a reward is the future it is nothing to make it the only reason. The recipient knows anyway that if he has won a gold medal for winning a race that it was not his will alone that got him through. It was not the aspect of his nature that can merit. It was the luck to have genes that gave him a body to do what he willed. Merit does not come into it. Rewards then have nothing to do with merit. They would if he could make his own genes and body but they do not.

The argument, “The past is over so he is rewarded for what cannot be changed. He can no longer help it that he won once he crossed the line” superficially appears to be incorrect. It seems that what is relevant is that he freely had control over his past. He is rewarded for his past not for the present. But the question is, what comes first? Does the past moment have to be put before the present moment? Is it right to reward him for a past moment he can no longer help? If it is wrong then it is wrong to reward anybody because people can only be rewarded after they do the good deed. But it is wrong for the present comes first. So even with free will you reward in spite of it just as determinists reward in spite of determinism for the sake of encouragement and respect and entertainment.
  
DO WE REWARD ACTS OF FREE WILL?
 
When a free agent wins the race it is not free will that made him win for the rest had the same goal. It was the condition of his body. His body has not been made the best by him but has become the best by itself building on how he treated it. His success depended on factors other than skill such as health, the ability to have a good night’s sleep, the way his body handled food and the good luck of finding a real good trainer, factors beyond his control. Even a trainer’s credentials don’t guarantee that that he can get his employer to win.  

So when the winner is rewarded he is reward for what he cannot help.

 

Most people think that free will is only part of what is involved when a person does something.  If you are a product of your past then it is either completely or partly wrong to punish you.  Even if you swear you are free you might be wrong and maybe your choices are coming from nowhere and are only simulations of choice. 

 

The free will doctrine cannot solve any of these problems so if you fear the consequences of denying free will then don't. 

DO WE REWARD/PUNISH MOTIVES?
 
To say we need belief in free will to punish or reward people really only makes sense if we are going to punish good or bad motives acted upon. It is not really the bad deed that is punished but how you have proven by it that you have a bad motive. It is the motive.
 
You cannot reward choices just because they seem to be good choices for you can’t see what a person is really after. The motive behind the choice has to determine if what they did should be rewarded or not. For example, when you reward the winner of a race you are rewarding the outward actions of the person and not the motives for you don’t know them and if they are bad and driven by smug superiority you are not going to be told that. This is not real rewarding for real rewarding is giving back good for doing good with a kind heart. The less you see if a person’s motive is good the less any reward is intended to be a reward for it depends on the extent of your knowledge of the person’s goodness. And we may ponder if it is right to reward somebody for winning a race and not reward somebody who tried harder and failed?
 
People are never rewarded for being good but for their achievements. Nobody can reward motives for nobody can see motives. Motives are what should be rewarded anyway but the problem is we cannot see them so we have to forget about that. There is no difference between rewarding the likes of Mother Teresa for her good achievements when she could have had the motive to promote the evil side of Catholicism all the time and she probably did (eg when she forbade contraception among the poor who needed it) and rewarding somebody for good achievement who has no free will. The only reason the reward is given is to act as an incentive to others and also because nobody rewards themselves so other people do it and do it because they want to gratify their own desire to encourage good work and are not doing it for you. So it is called a reward but isn’t really for it is for themselves for it is the desire they want not the desired. That is what rewards and praise are then. They cannot justify belief in free will for they have nothing to do with it at all.

Everything we do we think is right. Even when we do evil it is because we have come to temporarily believe that we ought to do it. If doing good just because it is good is the law then it is immoral to seek to reward a person by praise for doing good for they do not want it and should not want it. Their attitude is that virtue is its own reward. They are satisfied just by doing good and consider that to be the only real reward. So the reward then is insulting the person. It is not a reward at all. It invites people to do what they see as wrong. All it is, is a display of hypocrisy if it is practiced by people who say they believe in sacrifice and in free will. Christianity wants God to have all the credit for human goodness but still it praises people which means it is a manipulative faith. Jesus started this giving God all the credit in his parable of the Pharisee and the Publican where God was pleased with the publican who never once brought up his good points unlike the Pharisee who thanked God that he was such a virtuous man. You have to believe we are naturally selfish creatures to gain anything from giving or receiving rewards which means they are not really rewards for you need free will to get them. But the truth is we care about the reward and the honour that comes with it and not our alleged free will.
 
We always do what we want to do under the circumstances and sacrifice is a lie. Even if I give my life to save a drowning child I did it in response to feelings that demanded that I do it and I had to satisfy them. You cannot believe that we have free will to do what gratifies us. That is not free will for the person who refuses to murder and this is for gratification is not really any different from the person who murders for gratification. I mean their actions were different but their motives were the same, self-centred. Don't object that we can change our desires for when driven for gratification for that does not change the will for gratification but it only changes the form that gratification will take. The will is still after the one thing, gratification, so it cannot will anything else. If you see the will as being the same as a magnet that is attracted to safety pins and nails - whichever is seen as handiest - you recognise how impossible it is for free will that is defined as choosing different kinds of gratification to be free will for it is still after the same thing just like the magnet likes pins and nails for they have iron in them and is only after the iron. We only do things because we think they will make us happy. Often we are wrong. In all the moral systems, it is recognised that mistaken beliefs we really hadn’t the chance to correct, diminish or eradicate responsibility which is another proof that free will is no use even for those who wish to believe in responsibility for why believe in it when it is so reduced? Even when we choose something and are proven right to think that it makes us happy we are not any different at all for we could still have been wrong. When responsibility is so weak what is the use of visiting retribution on anybody when you don’t know how much of it they really deserve?
 
Denying free will does not make the word should obsolete because even if we are machines the word should still applies. We say a printer should print a letter neatly.

A person should do what they want to do for there is no need for anybody running anybody’s life and there should be as little external compulsion as possible.

People only do evil because they are unhappy. Determinism, the denial of free will makes them more understanding of others and themselves so they can press the right buttons in people to make society a better place. To be happy we should rejoice in people and not in material things and in simple things. It is not true that we can’t live a good life without belief in free will. Nobody can prove it anyway, it is blind faith, and still we are okay.

Determinism does say that what will happen will happen. But the determinist cannot say that they should do evil for they will do it anyway for they can just as easily say they should do good for they will do good anyway.
 
We can only do what we feel or think is good, so evil is a sickness that commands our concern and compassion as much as any other sickness does. Evil is not a sign of strength but of weakness. Evil is not a sign of cleverness but of foolishness.
 
 
WE DON'T NEED FREE WILL FOR REWARD/PUNISHMENT
 
Even if we are free we are only rewarded for things we got through chance so we can deny free will and still give out rewards. We are rewarded for success not merit which is why you cannot take a gold medal off an Olympic medallist who doesn’t have the right attitude to deserve what she or he gets.
 
What is the point of believing in free will for the sake of rewards and punishment when nearly all of the time you cannot punish all the wrongs done to you? Most people get away with their evil so you may as well disbelieve in free will. If you can’t punish you can’t reward either but go through the motions which people are happy enough with. Then the reward is something you have to give, not a real compliment. There is no point in believing in a harmful doctrine like free will just for the sake of a few people getting punished. Those that are punished get off lightly with murderers rarely serving a life sentence anyway. We can cope with this so we can cope without the doctrine of free will.
 
We could live without rewards and praise being rational activities for they will happen anyway for people like doing them and getting them. So it is nonsense to think we need free will to make them plausible especially when even free will fails to do that.

If we are to honour free will then we cannot really reward. So we must only punish then. Free will implies that we deserve only punishment so if you want to believe in rewards it is not going to help you do it with consistency and rationality. Free will can only appeal to those who want others to suffer punitively. Punishment means paying a person evil for doing evil of their own free will. It is important that we be conscious of this. Deniers of free will use pain to discipline criminals but this is not the same as punishment - what it is, is therapy.

Free will implies that extreme cruelty is fine. How does this fit in with my claim that it cannot justify rewards for if it cannot justify them it cannot justify punishment either for punishment is merely a reward in reverse? The answer is that the purpose of the free will doctrine is to defend responsibility and though it fails to do that that is what it is for and in so far as it does that it advocates cruel justice.
 
It is evil to believe in free will because we can live without believing in it and it rouses hatred and grudges and condemnation and revenge so it is an unnecessary evil and should not be believed even if we could be free. Why condemn hate when you sow the seeds for it by teaching that free will is real? It is evil for anybody to tell me I have free will when I am most sure of my own existence for I have no experience that proves I have free will.
 
The law of the land and any other law is for public order and not for rewarding or punishing. That’s all and that is how it should be. People believe in free will because they want to believe in rewards and punishing but this is a mistake. It is better to see a bad person as sick rather than as somebody who is wilfully evil when we can and we always can. Always! It is less harsh and that is why God and free will go hand in hand so belief in God is bad news.

The only real reason people want to believe in free will is to justify rewards and punishments – and the latter more than anything else. They want to believe that no other force but the person doing the act is the cause of the act for these reasons. First of all, rewards are not given because you have done well. That is only the excuse for them. They are given because people gain selfish delight from your achievements just like you do. So we can retain rewards and deny free will for they only for gratifying the selfishness that we cannot help. As for punishment, keeping the criminal away from society for a while and using the infliction of suffering to cure the criminal are what matters not getting our own back. You only need to believe in free will if you want to believe in revenge. When we can do without belief in free will we should for it forces many people to hate and condemn. At least if we denied free will we could honestly say that if any denier behaves that way that they did it in spite of their knowledge of the non-existence of free will. Rewarding and punishing are not important. What is important is giving people reasons not to do wrong for whether we have free will or not we do everything we do for a reason so we can be trained to do things for the right reasons. Therefore we can forget about the dogma of free will and do it safely.

The only difference between a believer in choice and a non-believer is that the first will believe in reward and punishment which are founded upon the idea of deserving or earning while the latter will believe in neither. But in practice the believer does not reward and punish anyway so there is no difference. Rewards have to do with attaining goals but it is not the goal I care about but the desire to fulfil the goal. It is just the desire. So I cannot deserve the reward any more than a person who only helps his father to get his hands on the father’s money deserves a reward.  This is because I am responding to a desire and desires are just desires. To reward desire has this problem. To reward a desire is rewarding the results of the desire and to punish a desire is punishing the result of a desire. You don’t reward an eye for seeing black and punish it for seeing white. The desire itself is neither good or bad. Our desires control us. When we go against a desire it is only because we have a stronger desire that wants us to enjoy the illusion that we can get away from desire and be free.
 
The law of the land will send you to jail if you commit murder even if you meant well – in which case you only thought you were doing right but this is not punishment for punishment is only for those who have wilfully done wrong and known it. It is possible to believe that murder is right just as it is possible to believe that nobody else exists but yourself. Legalised murder was believed and felt to be right not long ago - when people disagree so much on right and wrong then why not on murder as well? Criminals are made to suffer for a bad action but that is not the same thing as punishment. When even the choice doctrine cannot defend rewards and punishments why should we be afraid to deny the doctrine? We can still reward and control crime without the doctrine just like those who accept it do for these things influence behaviour and we want to help people become good.

We can deny the existence of choice and still give rewards and as for punishment.  We practice much the same thing as believers in choice do except we do not look upon it as paying the criminal back for doing wrong. The reason is that even if we do accept that there is such a thing as free choice we never reward the person’s motives but the outward actions of the person so what difference does it make? None. We can carry on as we would if we did believe.

You cannot reward choices just because they seem to be good choices for you can’t see what a person is really after. The motive behind the choice has to determine if what they did should be rewarded or not. For example, when you reward the winner of a race you are rewarding the outward actions of the person and not the motives for you don’t know them and if they are bad and driven by smug superiority you are not going to be told that. This is not real rewarding for real rewarding is giving back good for doing good with a kind heart. The less you see if a person’s motive is good the less any reward is intended to be a reward for it depends on the extent of your knowledge of the person’s goodness. And we may ponder if it is right to reward somebody for winning a race and not reward somebody who tried harder and failed?

The only reason we revere rewards and punishments, paying people back for what they have freely done, is because of their effects. But we can behave as if we believe these things just for the sake of the effects. Believers in free will don’t really believe in rewards and punishments for they say that evil is insanity for it is thinking what is not good is good so when it is only the effects they worry about why can’t we do the same?
 
PUNISHMENT - REWARD IN REVERSE

What about punishment? To reward a person for a past act is not as bad as punishing a person for a past act because a reward is a nice thing. Because it is nice, it does not really matter that much if it is immoral on account of the act being unchangeable and irreversible. But it is evil to punish a person for a past act for they cannot change it. They are being hurt for what cannot be helped anymore. What makes this more evil is that the present matters more than the past. If the person is still not sorry for what he did then this makes no difference. To punish him would be like punishing a person who has evil will in having approved of the evil another has done that he has had nothing to do with but we don’t punish for what you will but what you will when you do something bad. So free-willists cannot believe in reward or punishment anyway and might as well become determinists.

When sin and evildoing are insanity it follows that if free will justifies rewards it is by no means possible that it could justify punishment for you can’t punish madness. That is barbarism not punishment. So anybody that wants to believe in free will has to hold that there is no justification for punishment and that it is all about rewards in which case they might as well join our side.

Only a God could punish for only God could know what a person’s intentions were the precise moment he did wrong or the precise degree of responsibility. What was believed before or after bears no relevance and your memory changes and your imagination takes root. Other people will be less sure than you about sizing you up. There is a lot of emotion involved in a crime that ensures that what was inside you will be more difficult to uncover. So, the free-willists cannot punish anybody. They are in the same situation as the determinists. Punishment is an act of hate and revenge when performed by them because true punishment is just for letting people know that they cannot be rewarded for a crime by getting off and therefore a necessary evil. Don’t think that we should believe in a punishing God to put our minds at ease about the need for people to be punished for he has rendered it so easy to get off that one might as well believe in nothing. Also, belief in a God like that will lead to carelessness and lack of interest when catching criminals for he will punish himself anyway if we fail to.

But the fact that all who do wrong and cannot help what they did in the past would force God to forgive without repentance and hence to punish nobody. This shows how vicious and insidious the Christian doctrines of divine judgment and eternal punishment and original sin are.
 
Determinists don't forgive evil people for to forgive you must judge them as evil and guilty. Determinists teach that though there are people who do evil these people are not evil in themselves. The doctrine of free will prohibits forgiveness as much as determinism does for it fails to justify rewards and punishments.

FREE WILL AND THE BACK OF THE QUEUE
 
With regard to people who have caught AIDS through promiscuous behaviour or drug abuse or those who developed a smoking habit and got lung cancer, it is widely believed by free willists that these should be relegated to the end of hospital waiting lists because they caused their own illnesses. If you believe in free will this is absolutely true. But since we don’t and we recognise that all deserve sympathy for the past they have created even if they have none for themselves and are unrepentant for they are helpless victims of the past we can and should have sympathy. We should indulge the instinct we have that they should not be dumped into the back of a waiting list. But if we believe in free will we cannot say that for free will is about reward and punishment and praise and condemnation. Praise is evil if you believe in free will because it is patting another on the back for the suffering they have underwent to do something. What is wrong with that is that since each moment of consciousness when in pain is a waste in the sense that you do not know if you will have a future or have had a past but still you are causing your suffering and you are more sure of the suffering than the past or present. If you deny free will you can say that the forces of determinism in us cause the pain for a good reason but that is not to condone it for things should be better. Better to condemn pain than to condone.
 
FREE WILL IS ANTI-FREEDOM!
 
Free will is an excuse for forcing moral beliefs on other people. What people consider to be moral differs drastically from century to century. For example, in the middle ages you were considered to be a freak or evil if you didn’t agree with burning witches or today if you agree with forcing gays not to practice even though the suicide rate among abused gays who feel they cannot endure society's disapproval is very high. Today, many follow a destructive belief in God. This consideration of how fashions change makes it possible for a criminal to argue that he did not intend to do evil but believed it was good and then be entitled to leniency or his freedom. Of course everybody says you always believe that the evil you do is good but the difference is that you agree on some level that the act is bad but this guy thoroughly believes it is good. To punish the criminal then would be unjust and it would not reform when for he will see it for the revenge it really is. It is the same as punishing somebody for being of below-average intelligence.
 
FREE WILL AND PUNISHMENT

Free will believers teach that we must punish the guilty. Nobody knows how guilty a person really is or what kind of pressures and disorders led them to commit anti-social acts. All agree that there is something wrong with a person who does evil but they cannot say for sure how guilty this makes them because it could be that since the disorder is forced on us it might force us without us even realising it. Even free will cannot justify the legalised revenge that is one of its attractions.

The law of the land and any other law is for public order and not for rewarding or punishing. That’s all and that is how it should be. People believe in free will because they want to believe in rewards and punishing but this is a mistake. It is better to see a bad person as sick rather than as somebody who is wilfully evil when we can and we always can. Always! It is less harsh and that is why God and free will go hand in hand so belief in God is bad news.

The only real reason people want to believe in free will is to justify rewards and punishments – and the latter more than anything else. They want to believe that no other force but the person doing the act is the cause of the act for these reasons. First of all, rewards are not given because you have done well. That is only the excuse for them. They are given because people gain selfish delight from your achievements just like you do. So we can retain rewards and deny free will for they only for gratifying the selfishness that we cannot help. As for punishment, keeping the criminal away from society for a while and using the infliction of suffering to cure the criminal are what matters not getting our own back. You only need to believe in free will if you want to believe in revenge. When we can do without belief in free will we should for it forces many people to hate and condemn. At least if we denied free will we could honestly say that if any denier behaves that way that they did it in spite of their knowledge of the non-existence of free will. Rewarding and punishing are not important. What is important is giving people reasons not to do wrong for whether we have free will or not we do everything we do for a reason so we can be trained to do things for the right reasons. Therefore we can forget about the dogma of free will and do it safely.

The only difference between a believer in choice and a non-believer is that the first will believe in reward and punishment which are founded upon the idea of deserving or earning while the latter will believe in neither. But in practice the believer does not reward and punish anyway so there is no difference. Rewards have to do with attaining goals but it is not the goal I care about but the desire to fulfil the goal. It is just the desire. So I cannot deserve the reward any more than a person who only helps his father to get his hands on the father’s money deserves a reward.  This is because I am responding to a desire and desires are just desires. To reward desire has this problem. To reward a desire is rewarding the results of the desire and to punish a desire is punishing the result of a desire. You don’t reward an eye for seeing black and punish it for seeing white. The desire itself is neither good or bad. Our desires control us. When we go against a desire it is only because we have a stronger desire that wants us to enjoy the illusion that we can get away from desire and be free.
 
The law of the land will send you to jail if you commit murder even if you meant well – in which case you only thought you were doing right but this is not punishment for punishment is only for those who have wilfully done wrong and known it. It is possible to believe that murder is right just as it is possible to believe that nobody else exists but yourself. Legalised murder was believed and felt to be right not long ago - when people disagree so much on right and wrong then why not on murder as well? Criminals are made to suffer for a bad action but that is not the same thing as punishment. When even the choice doctrine cannot defend rewards and punishments why should we be afraid to deny the doctrine? We can still reward and control crime without the doctrine just like those who accept it do for these things influence behaviour and we want to help people become good.

We can deny the existence of choice and still give rewards and as for punishment.  We practice much the same thing as believers in choice do except we do not look upon it as paying the criminal back for doing wrong. The reason is that even if we do accept that there is such a thing as free choice we never reward the person’s motives but the outward actions of the person so what difference does it make? None. We can carry on as we would if we did believe.

The only reason we revere rewards and punishments, paying people back for what they have freely done, is because of their effects. But we can behave as if we believe these things just for the sake of the effects. Believers in free will don’t really believe in rewards and punishments for they say that evil is insanity for it is thinking what is not good is good so when it is only the effects they worry about why can’t we do the same?
  
WHY PEOPLE TEACH FREE WILL AS A FACT
 
Most people keep up the lie that we are free agents because it gives them an excuse for wanting their pound of flesh and we all suffer from the conditioning of society and religion that makes us that vicious. People are eager to believe that what they are they have become through their own free choice. They may not realise it but it is true.
 
People also think that the threat of hate and condemnation frightens would-be criminals off crime. This shows concern for keeping order and not for what people are like inside. If you would commit a crime but cannot or are too scared to you are still bad. And if you threaten even implicitly you are no inspiration for those tempted to commit crime.
 
The fact that free willists avoid taking what is coming to them for their sins or crimes proves that they are only after the doctrine of free will for the rewards for themselves and to get persecuting criminals under the guise of punishing. This incorrigible and irreformable and permanent selfishness is another proof that there is no free will for free will presupposes the power to be selfish or unselfish. The selfishness is so prevalent that we must ask what use the doctrine of free will is and the answer we will come up with is none.
 
THE GIFT
 
Religion that teaches there is an all-powerful God want to blame us not him for evil and suffering so they have the greatest need of all to promote the lie of free will.
 
If the doctrine of free will is a necessary evil for controlling bad people, then to make out it is a gift from God is going too far. For religion, it is a gift in the sense that it is a faculty or power we have from God. The other gift associated with it is the alleged revelation from God that we have free will thanks to him. For the believer, it is more important to believe in free will for God supposedly said we have it than to believe in it for any other reason. If you can only have one reason to believe then it is because God says we have free will.

 

PERSONHOOD AND BEING THE SAME PERSON

 

Not every philosopher and thinker thinks you are the you you were when you were born or even ten years ago.  They think each person gradually turns into another person.  Christians invent the idea of spiritual soul to avoid that thought.  The soul is supposed to be the same no matter what else changes so you are the same person all the time.  The soul is an excuse for denying that John at 10 is the same person as John ten years later and ten years after that.  It is an excuse because there is no evidence.

Personal identity and personal responsibility is the foundation of everything.  But even if we have free will we have no right to reward and punish somebody who has changed a lot.  Some people seem to turn into new persons faster than others.

 

Free will does not give believers what they mostly want.  Thus the doctrine is only fit for discarding.

 

DO WE REALLY CHOOSE AS MUCH AS BELIEVERS SAY?

 

No.

 

It is said by Christians that we chose the tendency to sin.  With  choosing sin we chose the natural consequences of evil: we chose death and suffering and stupidity.  So considering the magnitude of suffering in the world we are accused of calling down and enabling terrible consequences when we sinned. But these things arise from a lack of free will not from free will.  In what way?  We think we will be lucky and the consequences will not be bad.  We think if they are bad we will be able to remain reasonably okay or at peace.  It is like the attitude that you will face suffering when it comes and are resolved not to let it get the better of you.

 

People say they punish you for doing wrong.  In reality they punish you for the side-effects of what you have done.  People never cry blood just because you killed somebody but because they see the suffering and fear that happened after it.

 

You are only fully to blame for the bad consequences if you see them and know they will happen and still do the bad deed. Nobody has ever really known and life teaches us that the unexpected can happen and good can do as much harm to you in terms of consequences than evil.

FINALLY
 
To argue that you can do something totally against the grain such as be a saint in reality and then murder implies you can make your will override everything and do something that is totally out of character without explanation.  Free will when understood correctly refers to the power to self-create an act like that as if it were random.  There is no explanation for what the person did only that they used their free will.  Punishment is just vindictive if that is what we are like.  Worrying about deterring others and reforming offenders would be an excuse for hurting them.  The reason for believing God has nothing to do with what evil we wreak solidifies and reinforces and sanctions is free will which is a nasty and passive aggressive and bad doctrine.  What reinforces bad must be even worse itself.  There is no free will to turn free will into a good doctrine so it is rubbish.  Worse we are told that anarchy will reign and evil will triumph if enough people start saying we don't have personal responsibility for we have no free will.  That is a strawman argument and a lie.  It is a harmful lie.

 

The doctrine of free will if it is to be believed should not be believed as lightly as it is. It has a dark side that is always there and at best is a necessary evil. It is an insult to its casualties to call it a gift from God. The demise of the doctrine should it prove to be false can only be a good thing.

 

Belief in free will is a crime itself.  Wanting the doctrine to be true should be a crime!


 
Why I Became an Atheist, John Loftus, Prometheus Books, New York, 2008

 

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Krueger, J. I. (2004). Experimental psychology cannot solve the problem of conscious will (yet we must try). Review of ‘The illusion of conscious will’ by Daniel M. Wegner. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27, 668-669.

Krueger, J. I. (2018). The drama of human exceptionalism. Review of ‘The human instinct: How we evolved to have reason, consciousness, and free will’ by Kenneth R. Miller. American Journal of Psychology. https://psyarxiv.com/bmzek/ (link is external)

Searle, J. (2013). Our shared condition – consciousness. TED talk. https://www.ted.com/talks/john_searle_our_shared_condition_consciousness... (link is external)

Vohs, K.D., & Schooler, J. W. (2008). The value of believing in free will: Encouraging a belief in determinism increases cheating. Psychological Science, 19, 49-54.

Wegner, D. M. (2002). This illusion of conscious will. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.