The Aristotelian analysis of causes is outdated when it comes to modern fundamental physics; what matters is whether you can find a formal mathematical model that accounts for the data.


“…things like “causes” and “explanations” make perfect sense for parts of the universe, but not for the universe itself: namely, that we live in a world with unbreakable patterns (laws of physics) and an arrow of time, but the universe itself (or the multiverse) is not one element of a much bigger pattern, it’s all there is.”

The Greek model is 2500 yrs old.


“A belief in free will is akin to religious beliefs. Indeed, I would argue that free will makes “logical sense,” as long as one has the luxury of the “causal magic” of religion. Neither religious beliefs, nor a belief in free will, comply with the laws of the physical world. However, despite this similarity, although in scientific circles a skeptical viewpoint is very common regarding religious forces and their day-to-day impact on biological systems, it is my observation that similar skepticism is not widely held regarding a belief in free will. “


The Pop(cultural) Notion of “Free Will”


The everyday, naive realistic, notions of how human behavior (supposedly distinct from any other animal!?) is driven-caused-determined-decided:

….where consciousness, reflecting in part a force WILL, impacts in a causal way the unconscious neural activity of the brain and thus affects behavior.

The dilemma … is that WILL has causal properties (WILL affects behavior) and yet WILL arises in a noncausal way; society “demands” that WILL be “free”—we want to be able to hold people accountable for their actions.

Some might argue that there should be an arrow indicating information flow from “unconscious neural activity” to WILL. This would provide a causal component for WILL; however, WILL would then lose its “freedom”—it would then simply be a product of GES. Models for the flow of information between unconscious neural activity and conscious thought.

A, the commonly accepted model is shown whereby WILL influences conscious thought and, in turn, unconscious neural activity, to direct behavior. The difficulty with this model is that there is no causal component directing WILL.

B, a causal component for WILL is introduced; however WILL now simply reflects unconscious neural activity and GES (genes, environment, and stochasticism). That is, WILL loses its “freedom.”

C, WILL is dispensed with, and conscious thought is simply a reflection of unconscious neural activity and GES.  Conscious thought is now primarily a means of following—more than a means of influencing—the direction of behavior by unconscious neural activity.

One resolution for this dilemma is that consciousness, rather than being a means by which we influence behavior, is simply a mechanism by which we follow unconscious neural activity and behavior.  This model is depicted in where the causal component of consciousness is the unconscious neural activity of the brain, and this in turn reflects GES; consciousness has no independent impact on behavior.  If there is a flow of information from consciousness to unconscious neural activity of the brain, then the causal component of this information does not differ in any way from the input information