Originally posted by UmbrageOfSnow
Now as you know I don't believe in any god or in fate, but it seems to me that even if you have total free will, given the same set of circumstances, you'll make the same decision every time. So if random events were the only things "fated", then things could still be predetermined as long as your personalty and thought process were 100% understoo s one of the bigger problems with religion, although I have lots of other problems with it.
Isn't the idea of "free will" the capacity to make different choices in two identical situations? If the same situation always leads to the same response, that's determinism.
Anway, this is probably off-topic, but here's an interesting thought experiment:
Suppose humans have complete free will. Now, we're going to slowly turn a human into a robot. Take any part of our human subject and replace it with a mechanical equivalent that does exactly the same thing. For example, replace a neuron with a microchip that will produce exactly the same electrical and chemical responses as the original neuron, or replace a muscle cell with a tiny mechanical actuator that does exactly the same thing as the original cell. Repeat this process. Slowly our human being will become more and more mechanical, until at last he is 100% machine. But, remember, he is a machine that moves, acts, talks, thinks, exactly
as the original human did.
Does this robot have free will? It must; its thought processes are indistinguishable from the the original human's, because its brain works exactly the same way. However, because we understand the machines that make up every part of the robot we should be able to predict its actions with complete accuracy; it is a deterministic entity. A contradiction: the robot simultaneously has free will and does not have free will.
How is this contradiction resolved? Either our assumption that the human had free will was incorrect, or the human lost his free will somewhere in the process of the transformation. If you believe that humans have free will, when in the transformation does the human lose his free will, and why?