The End of Free Will

This is not necessarily the end of free will, since it never truly existed in the first place. Findings from neuroscience continue to reveal the specific genes and neurobiological features that drive a person’s thoughts and actions. This leaves little room for free will, especially when considering that conditions in the womb can affect a human being long into adulthood. Free will and personal responsibility are unscientific myths, since people didn’t choose the genes or childhood environment which shaped every aspect of their neuroanatomy. Research from the field of evolutionary psychology discusses the evolutionarily defined drives that people unconsciously pursue. Blogs like Barking up the Wrong Tree and The Situationist describe hundreds of ways in which people are unconsciously influenced.

Here is a list of researchers who display skepticism regarding free will:

Dr. Adrian Raine: The Psychopathology of Crime

Dr. Albert Wenger: There is No Free Will (And That’s OK)

Dr. Anna Hanxi He: Predicting Free Choices for Abstract Intentions

Dr. Anthony Cashmore: The Lucretian Swerve

Dr. Bjoern Brembs: Free Will Similar in Animals, Humans – but Not so Free

Dr. Brian Greene: What Time is It? and Brian Greene Q&A

Dr. Bruce Hood: The Science of Superstition

Dr. Carlo Rovelli: Free Will, Determinism, Quantum Theory, and Statistical Fluctuations

Dr. Chris Luck: Free Will

Dr. Christof Koch: How Physics and Neuroscience Dictate Your “Free” Will

Dr. Chun Siong Soon: Predicting Free Choices for Abstract Intentions

Dr. D.F. Swaab: We Are Our Brains

Dr. Daniel Wegner: The Illusion of Conscious Will

Dr. Dario Maestripieri: Free Will – I Do Not Think It Is What You Think It Is

Dr. David Barash: Who’s in Charge Inside Your Head?

Dr. David Eagleman: The Brain on Trial

Dr. David Heddle: Jerry Coyne is 100% Correct on Free Will

Dr. David Levitsky: Free Will and the Obesity Epidemic

Dr. Deric Bownds: The “I” Illusion

Dr. Dirk De Ridder: The predictive brain and the “free will” illusion

Dr. Douglas Hofstadter: I am a Strange Loop

Dr. Edmund Rolls: Willed action, free will, and the stochastic neurodynamics of decision-making

Dr. E.O. Wilson: Consilience

Dr. Gabriel Kreiman: Is Free Will an Illusion?

Dr. Gerard ‘t Hooft: Free Will – is Our Understanding Wrong?

Dr. Greg Graffin: Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin on Free Will

Dr. Henrik Walter: Neurophilosophy of Free Will

Dr. Henry Kong: Root of Thought

Dr. Itzhak Fried: How Free is Your Will?

Dr. Janna Levin: The Universe, Free-Will, and Janna Levin

Dr. Jason Castro: Introverts and Free Will

Dr. Jeffrey Ebert: Mistaking Randomness for Free Will

Dr. Jerry Coyne: Why You Don’t Really Have Free Will

Dr. Jesse Bering: Free Will is a Cognitive Illusion

Dr. Joachim Krueger: The Curse of Free Will

Dr. John Bargh: The Will is Caused, Not Free

Dr. John-Dylan Haynes: Brain Scanners Can See Your Decisions Before You Make Them

Dr. Joseph Bisognano: Experimenters’ Free Will and Quantum Certainty

Dr. Joshua Greene: For the Law, Neuroscience Changes Nothing and Everything (PDF)

Dr. Kathleen Taylor: Religious Fundamentalism Could be Treated as a Mental Illness

Dr. Laurence Tancredi: Hardwired Behavior

Dr. Lawrence Krauss: Can Science Tell Us Right from Wrong?

Dr. Lee Silver: Challenging Nature

Dr. Leonard Mlodinow: The Grand Design

Dr. Mano Singham: The Coming Death of the Idea of Free Will

Dr. Mark Hallett: Seeking Free Will in Our Brains – a Debate

Dr. Mark Pagel: Discover Dialogue

Dr. Martha Farah: Is Free Will an Illusion?

Dr. Martín López-Corredoira: Quantum Mechanics and Free Will: Counter-Arguments

Dr. Marvin Minsky: Society of Mind

Dr. Matt Ridley: Chapter on Free Will in “Genome”

Dr. Michael Gazzaniga: Neuroscience Challenges Old Ideas about Free Will

Dr. Michel Desmurget: The Will to Power

Dr. Moran Cerf: Our Brain is the Puppeteer

Dr. Owen Flanagan: Free Will Chapter

Dr. Paul Bloom: Free Will Does Not Exist. So What?

Dr. Paul Davies: Undermining Free Will

Dr. Paul Latimer: Brain research illustrates how free will is an illusion

Dr. P.Z. Myers: I was Compelled to Post This

Dr. Patrick Haggard: I’m Just a Machine

Dr. Peter Atkins: A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations

Dr. Raj Raghunathan: Free Will Is an Illusion, So What?

Dr. Richard Dawkins: Let’s All Stop Beating Basil’s Car

Dr. Richard Restak: The Naked Brain

Dr. Robert Sapolsky: A Conversation with Robert Sapolsky and The Danger of Inadvertently Praising Zygomatic Arches

Dr. Ruud Custers: Think You’re Operating on Free Will? Think Again

Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder: 10 Misconceptions About Free Will

Dr. Sam Harris: Free Will (And Why You Still Don’t Have It)

Dr. Scott Aaronson: Computer Models Refute Free Will

Dr. Seth Lloyd: A Turing Test for Free Will

Dr. Shimon Edelman: The Happiness of Pursuit

Dr. Stefan Bode: Scientific Evidence that You Probably Don’t have Free Will

Dr. Stephen Hawking: The Grand Design

Dr. Stephen Wolfram: Is the Universe a Computer?

Dr. Steve Hsu: Free Will and Determinism – a Physicist’s Perspective

Dr. Steven Pinker: Steven Pinker on Free Will

Dr. Susan Blackmore: Life Without Free Will

Dr. Thalia Wheatley: Actor Alan Alda Visits Dartmouth to Learn About Free Will

Dr. Thomas Cerner: What Makes You Tick?

Dr. Thomas Scott: Neuroscience May Supersede Ethics and Law

Dr. Uri Maoz: Free Will & Neuroscience

Dr. Victor Stenger: Free Will Is an Illusion

Dr. V.S. Ramachandran: Francis Crick’s “Dangerous” Idea

Dr. Vinod Kurup: Thoughts on Free Will

Dr. Will Provine: Scientists Debate Free Will

Dr. Wolf Singer: Deciphering the Brain’s Code

Based on arguments from neuroscience and physics, the incoherent idea of “free will” appears to be obsolete. A person’s actions are driven by processes in the brain. These processes result from neurobiological states involving neurotransmitters, electrical activity, neuroanatomy, and other biological systems. The state of the brain is determined by genetics, childhood experiences, and the current environment. This biological pathway does not leave room for free will. An interesting project would be to go through as many published neuroscience and psychology studies as possible to find all the factors discovered thus far that influence human behavior.

Updated 2/9/2014