TED Conversations

Joshua  Beers

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If I had 100% of your genes and 100% of your environmental experience I would be you.

I think that this statement is completely accurate. Do you agree?
Yes? No? Why? Why Not?

The repercussions seem obvious. It's the classic question: Do we really have free will?

In my personal opinion, however alluring "free will" is as a subject of belief, it doesn't exist in any form. Every decision we make, from important to mundane, can be either attributed to genes or environment. What other factor is there? A soul? Did we get to choose that? From my standpoint, I don't see how this CANNOT rule out arguments free will.

As a side note, compatibilists may argue that "choice" IS making decisions based on the given "will" but I would ask them to elaborate. Is that really freedom at all? "Of course we have free will, we have no choice in the matter."


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  • May 14 2011: A little off topic but definitely related, the issue of Fate. How many people believe in fate? I use to believe but no longer do. I get very irritated when I hear the expression "things happen for a reason." I think anyone who says this or believes this should be grateful as it illustrates that that person has been fortunate to live a privileged life.

    I say this because many people have to bear many unfortunate burdens. Do you think a person who is in jail for life for something they did not do had that happen to them for a reason? Does a child who cries to sleep at night from hunger pains have that happen to them for a reason? I think believing in fate is the result of living a privileged life. Thoughts??

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