There was a recent article on the New York Times regarding free will. I posted it here earlier and I just finished posting a comment in the thread. It follows below:
The author succeeds in bringing life back to the debate, but he doesn’t make any new progress. The issue, as a few commenters have touched on, is much simpler than it appears from all this handwaving.
Quite simply, somebody explain how a choice can be free if one doesn’t control the inputs to the choice. I capture this in a semi-formal argument here: https://danielmiessler.com/arguments/free_will/two_lever_argument/
Some, like Dennett, agree that we don’t have the free will described in that argument but say it doesn’t matter because we can do things like choose menu items at a restaurant, or dodge spears in the jungle. I agree, of course, and that’s all very nice, but it shouldn’t be confused with true choice.
I attempt to clearly define the difference between the two here: https://danielmiessler.com/blog/absolute-vs-practical-free-will
For those who don’t wish to follow links within comments (understandable, but regrettable) practical free will lets us make choices from within our confines of not controlling the inputs to our decisions. We don’t control our physical makeup, and we don’t have full control of our environment — hence, in order to show that we have TRUE choice we must show that we can choose OUTSIDE of those influences.
This to me requires one of two things: either 1) a completely new way of looking at how the universe works, or 2) the supernatural. I simply reject both until I see evidence, and I am stunned this isn’t the default and obvious position for anyone considering themselves to be skeptical and scientifically literate.