Thursday, October 15, 2015

Inside Out

The materialist atheist philosophy has a problem: it cannot explain human free will, the existence of which has been a universal consensus among philosophers and individual human beings. So, they are bent on denying its existence. Is there an easier way to solve a problem that deny there is one? Thus they offer a number of theories to explain it away. I will cite a few:

  • Free will is just an appearance. We are really the toy of our feelings (joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust...). The Disney-Pixar film Inside Out could be an example of this philosophical stance.
  • Free will is just an appearance. We are really the toy of the interaction of two basic impulses: the sexual instinct and the fear of death. This is more or less the position of Freud and his followers.
  • Free will is just an appearance. We are really the toy of our neurons and the connections that bind them, which in turn have been developed during our training as adult human beings through education and social interaction. This is the position of Skinner and the behaviorists.
  • Free will is just an appearance. We are really the toy of our genes. We are actually programmed machines and our software is our DNA. This is the position of the geneticists.
Grazing ostrich (Adamantios)
It is obvious that the above theories are mutually incompatible. Their coexistence shows that the problem is far from solved. Moreover, all those who follow some of these philosophies in theory, act in their ordinary life as if none of them were true, as if they really believed in human free will. This gives rise to a blatant inconsistency between their thinking and their way of life, that few of them ever think about. So we should consider another alternative:

  • Although we are influenced by many internal and external factors, in man there is a background of freedom. We do not know how it works, but its existence is clear, we know it from experience.
Recognizing that we don’t know something is not a dishonor. On the contrary, it is a challenge, the prerequisite for scientific research. To deny the existence of problems is to apply the tactics of the ostrich (burying one’s head in the sand). Tactics which, incidentally, are uniquely human; ostriches never do that.

Thematic Thread on Literature and Cinema: Previous Next
Manuel Alfonseca


  1. I like that you pointed out how those who propose a form of determinism all act as though they have freewill. That's something I like to point out: whether we actually have freewill or not, it appears that we do, and, therefore, we must act according to the construct we've been given. (Meaning we must make our own choices and act according to our will, not just wait for a higher power to act for us.)

    1. Exactly. By the way, you can sign with whatever name you want (it asks for a web address too, but it can be left blank).

  2. Well said. I would add that those of us who see Free Will from the point of view of faith, not science, know that our individual free will is from God and His desire to create each of us in His own image and likeness.