March 5th, 2010

Petit Prince

Free will is an illusion, biologist says

University of Pennsylvania biologist Anthony Cashmore argues that belief in free will is akin to religious beliefs, since neither complies with the laws of the physical world, representing a continuing belief in vitalism or magic. He says free will is an illusion derived from consciousness, but consciousness has an evolutionary advantage of conferring the illusion of responsibility. As Cashmore explains, the human brain acts at both the conscious level as well as the unconscious. It's our consciousness that makes us aware of our actions, giving us the sense that we control them.