“It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J. K. Rowling
Daily Nugget of Gold 1531
No Free Will?
A recent article in the U.K publication, The Independent, in their science section talked about some experiments in which scientists might have proved there’s no such thing as free will. Okay, we’ll cut the headline writer a break here- in science, we don’t speak about proof, we like to say that there is evidence for or evidence against a certain position. Even if the scientists have claimed they’ve proven something, the qualifier in the headline of “might” pretty much says it all, anyhow.
The article goes on to discuss a test that was administered to people by a couple of researchers at Princeton University using five white circles on a computer monitor, where the researchers asked the subjects to pick one before one of the 5 circles turned red. It seemed that when the circle turned red quickly that subjects reported they knew which one it was going to be about 30% of the time. That seems statistically impossible… to most people, we’re sure.
So were the subjects fibbing about picking the right one? Did they have no free will as to which one to pick? Or could it be there is another explanation for this result? It turns out, there is. This test seems to be a less carefully conducted experiment than some of the research done by Dean Radin on precognition, which Radin refers to as “presentiments”.
Radin’s experiments have a person watch a computer monitor and then a random picture which might be emotionally evocative or mundane is chosen by the computer only a fraction of a second before it appears on the screen. By measuring things like galvanic skin response, heart rate, or similar data, Radin’s experiments demonstrate that there is evidence for a person reacting appropriately to an emotionally charged picture before it’s even chosen by the computer at random– seconds before!
So is it that there is no such thing as free will, or is it also a possibility that we seem to be endowed with an ability to predict the future to an extent, sometimes? It seems to us that the recent experiments at Princeton don’t nail down which it might be very well. We’ll grant them this, it sure would be a tricky thing to do to design an experiment that shows solid evidence that free will doesn’t exist.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“What is the point of living a life if it is not self-directed?”
Copyright 2016 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.