Posted on Jun 22, 2014 by Tom Gilson
SteveK [told us[(http://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2014/06/to-seek-god-sensibly-on-his-own-terms/#comment-101165) about this report, Free will could be the result of ‘background noise’ in the brain, study suggests.
I’ve seen enough bad science journalism to know that the real experiment may look very little like the one reported there. (In fact, I have real trouble believing the research is as weak as that.) Taking the report at face value, though, with that disclaimer, this appears to be what’s happening:
- A cue appears on screen at random intervals.
- When the cue appears, volunteers are supposed to decide whether to look left or right.
- Random brain noise preceding the cue can predict what their decision will be.
- The researchers know that the volunteers are doing no free-will-related pre-decision mental work that might influence their decisions when they make them.
- Therefore the pre-decision firings in the brain are not based in free will.
- Therefore this experiment provides empirical support for the absence of free will.
- Therefore the researchers conclude that what was going on in volunteers’ brains before their decisions was random and unrelated to free will.
- Therefore the researchers know that the volunteers are doing no free-will-related pre-decision mental work that might influence their decisions when they make them.
♫ … so early in the morning. ♫