EXPLORING THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL 

Chandler Klebs

George Ortega

Creating a world of far less blame,
guilt, arrogance and envy

The world's first, and already successful*  initiative, including two TV shows, to popularize the refutation of free will *How it happened

John Searle, the13th ranked post-1900 philosopher, says that our world overcoming the free will illusion "would be a bigger revolution in our thinking than Einstein, or Copernicus, or Newton, or Galileo, or Darwin -- it would alter our whole conception of our relation with the universe." 

The Washington Post, The New York Times, Psychology Today, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, USA Today, The Telegraph, Time Magazine, Scientific American, NPR Radio, The Economist, and Science Magazine  all affirm that free will is an illusion

Chandler Klebs is the new administrator of this site. He's also the Executive Producer of the Free Will, Science, and Religion and Impersonal Opinion podcasts.

Exploring the Illusion of Free Will is two TV shows - WHITE PLAINS NY TV and NYC LIVE CALL-IN TVfour books - George'sGeorge's, Nick's, and Chandler's one meetups - NYC, one website, and Internet video and audio -  YOU TUBE  iTUNES AUDIO PODCAST  PUBLIC DOMAIN VIDEOS & MP3s, one blog - EXOGENOUS AGENCY and one forum for discussions -  GEORGE AND CHANDLER ON FREE WILL

Quick Links to YouTube Episodes: 1-10  11-20  21-30  31-40  41-50  51-60  61-70  71-80  81-90  91-110  101-110  111-120  121-130  131-140  141-150  151-160  161-170  171-180 

Quick Links to 18 Episode Transcripts: ( by title 01 02  03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14  15  16  17  18

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(Hover over numbers on left for titles)

Titles Episodes
   
01-10 01-10
   
11-20 11-20
   
21-30 21-30
   
31-40 31-40
   
41-50 41-50
   
51-60 51-60
   
61-70 61-70
   
71-80 71-80
   
81-90 81-90
   
91-100 91-100
   

101-110

101-110

   

111-120

111-120

   

121-130

121-130

 

 

131-140

131-140
   

141-150

141-150
   

151-160

151-160
   

161-170

161-170
   

171-180

171-180
   
   
 
Site Features
 

Free Will Refutations in Major Publications

 

Free Will Refuted in the Blogs

 

Free Will Refuted on YouTube

 

Recent books for the public and academia refuting free will

 

Edited and Revised Transcripts of the First Eighteen Episodes

 

Quotes Disaffirming Free Will and Affirming Determinism by the Famous

 

Absurd Free Will Defenses by Major Institutions and Publications Who Should Know Better

 

Claiming credit for public awareness that free will is an illusion

 
 

More Featured Episodes

10. Why Change as the basic Universal Process Makes Free Will Impossible

13. Overcoming Blame, Guilt, Envy and Arrogance by Overcoming the Illusion of Free Will

16. Overcoming the Illusion of Free Will as an Evolutionary Leap in Human Consciousness

17. Revitalizing Religion through Transcending the Illusion of Free Will

26. Because Essential Elements of Every Decision are Stored in Our Unconscious, Free Will is Impossible.

38. The Messenger and I Have Evolved Human Consciousness

50. Freud Popularized the Unconscious.  Ortega is Popularizing Unconscious Will

60. Ten Ways to Refute Free Will

 
 

Landmark Coverage Refuting Free Will

 

USA Today - "Why you don't really have free will by Jerry Coyne January 1, 2012

"The debate about free will, long the purview of philosophers alone, has been given new life by scientists, especially neuroscientists studying how the brain works. And what they're finding supports the idea that free will is a complete illusion."


Time Magazine - "Think You're Operating on Free Will? Think Again" by Eben Harrell July 2, 2010

"In an intriguing review in the July 2 edition of the journal Science, published online Thursday, Ruud Custers and Henk Aarts of Utrecht University in the Netherlands lay out the mounting evidence of the power of what they term the 'unconscious will.'...John Bargh of Yale University, who 10 years ago predicted many of the findings discussed by Custers and Aarts in a paper entitled "The Unbearable Automaticity of Being," called the Science paper a "landmark — nothing like this has been in Science before."


The New York Times - "Your Move: The Maze of Free Will" by Galen Strawson July 22, 2010

"Some people think that quantum mechanics shows that determinism is false, and so holds out a hope that we can be ultimately responsible for what we do. But even if quantum mechanics had shown that determinism is false (it hasn’t), the question would remain: how can indeterminism, objective randomness, help in any way whatever to make you responsible for your actions? The answer to this question is easy. It can’t."

The Atlantic - "The Brain on Trial" by David Eagleman July/August 2011

"In modern science, it is difficult to find the gap into which to slip free will—the uncaused causer—because there seems to be no part of the machinery that does not follow in a causal relationship from the other parts."

The Telegraph - "Neuroscience, free will and determinism: 'I'm just a machine'" by Tom Chivers October 12, 2010

"The philosophical definition of free will uses the phrase 'could have done otherwise'... "As a neuroscientist, you've got to be a determinist. There are physical laws, which the electrical and chemical events in the brain obey. Under identical circumstances, you couldn't have done otherwise; there's no 'I' which can say 'I want to do otherwise'."


The Guardian - "Guilty but not responsible?" by Rosiland English May 29, 2012

"The discovery that humans possess a determined will has profound implications for moral responsibility. Indeed, Harris is even critical of the idea that free will is "intuitive": he says careful introspection can cast doubt on free will. In an earlier book on morality, Harris argues 'Thoughts simply arise in the brain. What else could they do? The truth about us is even stranger than we may suppose: The illusion of free will is itself an illusion'"


Psychology Today - "Free Will Is an Illusion, So What?" by

If you think carefully about any decision you have made in the past, you will recognize that all of them were ultimately based on similar—genetic or social—inputs to which you had been exposed. And you will also discover that you had no control over these inputs, which means that you had no free will in taking the decisions you did.

Complete List

 
 


A brief history of determined vs. free will ideas

Cause and Effect – At about the 5th century BC, in his work On the Mind, the Greek Philosopher Leucippus penned the earliest known universal statement describing what we today understand as determinism, or the law of cause and effect

“Nothing happens at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity.”

Human Will – The concepts of will and free will are actually Christian in orgin. It was Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans, which is dated at about 58 A.D., who first discovered this thing we call human will. He came to it by recognizing that he could not often do as much right as he wanted. Saint Paul wrote in Romans 7:15 that:

“I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t.” I do what I don’t want to – what I hate.” (Translation – The Living Bible)

Free Will -- Nothing new was said on the matter for the next few hundred years until St. Augustine grappled with the concepts of evil and justice. Saint Augustine wrote in his book De Libero Arbitrio, 386-395 A.D., (translated as “On Free Will”)

“Evil deeds are punished by the justice of God. They would not be punished justly if they had not been performed voluntarily.”

The problem he saw was that if human beings do not have a free will, it would be unfair for God to arbitrarily reward or punish us. St. Augustine concluded that God could not be unfair, and so he created the concept of a human free will, whereby we earn our reward or punishment by what we freely do.

Scientific concepts relating to the determined will vs. free will question

Classical Mechanics -- In 1687 Sir Isaac Newton publishes his “Laws of Motions” that mathematically describes the physical universe as acting in a mechanistic manner according to the principle of cause and effect.

Classical Mechanics is a completely deterministic theory

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle -- In 1925 Warner Heisenberg describes mathematically that…

We can measure the position of a particle or the momentum of a particle (momentum meaning its direction and velocity), but we cannot simultaneously measure the position and momentum of a particle.

Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics -- Niels Bohr and others make the following assertions;

1) Particles do not have a simultaneous position and momentum.

2) Elementary particles behave indeterministically, and are not subject to the principle of cause and effect.

Believers in free will saw the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics as providing a possibility for free will to exist. They asserted that if elementary particles behave indeterministically, they are not subject to the principle of cause and effect that prohibits free will.

But, as noted above, it eventually became apparent that indeterminism also prohibits free will.

 

Edited Transcripts of the First Eighteen Episodes
01 How I came to see my causal will

02 Proving causal will in real time

03 Morality within a causal will perspective

04 What it all means

05 We Do Not "Experience" Free Will

06 How the Hedonic Imperative Makes Free Will Impossible

07 How the Unsolicited Participation of the Unconscious Makes Free Will Impossible

08 Asking When a Child Gains it Illuminates the Incoherence of the Concept "Free Will"

09 Overcoming our Reluctance to Overcome the Illusion of Free Will

10 Why Change as the Basic Universal Process Makes Free Will Impossible

11 The Absurdity of Varying Degrees of Free Will

12 Why the Concept of Free Will is Incoherent

13 Overcoming Blame, Guilt, Envy and Arrogance by Overcoming the Illusion of Free Will

14 Why Both Causality and Randomness Make Free Will Impossible

15 Why Frankfurt's “Second Order Desires” Do Not Allow for a Free Will

16 Overcoming the Illusion of Free Will as an Evolutionary Leap in Human Consciousness

17 Revitalizing Religion through Transcending the Illusion of Free Will

18 Why Humans Cannot Circumvent Natural Law to Gain a Free Will
 
 

YouTube Collection


            

The sublime irony, great fun, and pragmatic necessity, of claiming credit for spearheading the explosion in public awareness that free will is an illusion, that began in the spring of 2010.
 

by George Ortega


(Obvious Disclaimer - Absolutely none of what
follows was in any way, shape or form up to me.) 


For decades I was determined by the universe, or, theologically, God, to know that for free will to be understood by the public as an illusion would be a monumental development in human history.
Here are some of the ways I was absolutely forced to pioneer the bringing of this truth of our causal, unconscious human will to the public's awareness beginning in 1997. 

For years I had worked to move the truth about human will from academia, where it languished in obscurity, to the public spotlight. Then, on April 7, 2010, the universe made me organize and begin hosting The "Predetermined Will - Busting the Free Will Myth" Meetup in Manhattan NYC (now called "Exploring the Illusion of Free Will"). With that single act, the truth about our human will began to quickly and widely spread, and I found myself compelled to expand and intensify my efforts. That the mainstream media now reports free will as an illusion is now undeniable. What follows is a brief history of what caused that major change.

In early 1997, I began work on a book refuting free will.  After having me draft about forty pages, the universe curiously had me begin to edit and re-work the pages, and the rest of the book was never written. Had it truly been up to me, that book would have been finished by 1998.  Now the universe has me plan to include those pages in a book scheduled for publication perhaps in 2014.  We'll see.

In September of 1997, I was led to write a physics paper titled "Two Proofs of Determinism in All of Nature; A Case for the Law of Cause and Effect" that the universe then caused to be accepted for review, first by The International Journal of Theoretical Physics, and subsequently by Physical Review D15 (Particles, Fields, Fluids, Gravitation, and Cosmology). Although fate insisted that both peer-review journals ultimately decline to publish, I maintain my confidence in the correctness of these proofs, which refute the notion of true randomness in nature. 

In 2000, I was driven to plaster Internet newsgroups with articles refuting free will. On February 28, 2000, I posted "The Impossibility of Free Will," and on March 3, 2003, "The Insanity of Free Will."  On March 4, 2000, the universe made me, quite regrettably in my opinion, follow up with a piece titled "Regarding Stupid Psychologists and Free Will."

In 2003, the universe made me produce and host the world's first television program entirely about happiness - The Happiness Show. On May 20th 2003, for my seventh episode, I recorded, broadcasted, and uploade to the Internet Archive "Happiness and the Determinism vs. Free Will Question." With over 8,000 views,this episode is the fourth most-downloaded of The Happiness Show collection at the Archive.

In March of 2004, I felt morally compelled to write an article for The Westchester, New York Ethical Culture Society's monthly newsletter, The Page, titled "Determinism, Free Will, Ethics, and Happiness." 

On February 28, 2005, my co-host Lionel Ketchian and I revisited the topic of human will as it relates to happiness on The Happiness Show with an episode titled "A Conversation About Happiness, Free Will and Determinism." 

At the Sunday Meeting of that same Westchester, New York Ethical Culture Society, on April 17, 2005, God made me deliver an address to the congregation titled "Why Free Will is Impossible, and Why it Matters." that you can view on YouTube if God decides to make you.

During 2007-2008, under the username Blisser, I visited Atheist chat rooms on paltalk, and repeatedly explained the theological and scientific reasons why free will is impossible. For a while, the universe made me host a patlalk voice-chat room entirely dedicated to refuting the notion of free will..

In June of 2009, I was compelled to begin emailing a group of philosophers and psychologists with free will refutations. Here's a sampling -

"Arguments against Liberty of Indifference and Quantum Indeterminancy"  June 1, 2009

"A Simple Refutation of Frankfurt-Type Examples"  June 3, 2009

"Is a Free Will Moral and Worth Having"  June 11, 2009

At the suggestion of philosopher Robert Kane, I visited The Garden of Forking Paths free will blog, and debated the academic philosophers there. Here are a few of the discussions I entered and, in my compelled and humble opinion, won -

"A Flaw in the Standard Argument Against Free Will?" by Bob Doyle  June 26, 2009

"History of FW Skepticism" by Kevin Timpe  June 29, 2009

Are Humans Glorified Thermostats? by Kip  July 3, 2009


On Saturday, October 17, 2009, I delivered the address  "Why We Humans Do Not Have a Free Will" at the 2009 Empire State College Student Academic Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Cause For the Tipping Point
 in Public Awareness
About the Illusion of Free Will!

Finally, on April 7, 2010, the universe made me organize the world's first discussion group entirely dedicated to refuting the notion of free will - "The Predetermined Will Society - Busting the Free Will Myth" (now called "Exploring the Illusion of Free Will") at meeup.com. I live in White Plains, New York, but God made me base the group in mid-town Manhattan. While White Plains has a population of almost 57 thousand, Manhattan's population stands at over 1.5 million. I also knew from personal experience that Meetup.com members from much of the New York metropolitan area, with a population of over 22 million, regularly attend the meetings in Manhattan.

By April 15, 2010, we had over forty members. While only three people attended our first event, held in White Plains, that's not what mattered. A few days after a new group is launched, Meetup.com sends an email blast to members within an expansive geographical radius from the group - in our case, presumably thousands of members. More importantly, during the months and years that followed,  Meetup members searching for groups based in Manhattan noticed our listing easily millions of times, and saw our logo, as depicted here -

As an example of the buzz-creating outreach possible through our listing, a July 18, 2012 search for a Meetup group keyworded "philosophy" and located within a 50 mile radius of New York City had our group appear on the second page of results. Since our April 7, 2010 launch date, our group's listing and logos has probably been viewed several million times. In my opinion, this is how the universe caused the current global awakening to the understanding that free will is an illusion.

Here are some historical artifacts from the group.  This following image is of a refrigerator magnet I designed, and presented as gifts to members.

The universe later made Nomi suggest that we change our name in order to attract more free will believers, and "Do we have a Free Will" became our name for several months. Nomi was destined to play a pivotal role in our moving the question of free will from academia to the public spotlight.

Here is our name and logo today.



(I hope God makes me design and upload a better logo soon.)

 

On March 30, 2010, The Garden of Forking Paths closed, and morphed into Flickers of Freedom, and I began debating academic philosophers there as well.  Here are a few examples:

Determinism: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by "Does Consciousness Matter?" by Neil Levy  July 09, 2010

"G. Strawson @ NYT" by Manuel Vargus  July 22, 2010


On July 29, 2010, I designed and ordered a dozen custom t-shirts from an ebay seller that declare "Transcend the free will delusion." Here's me wearing one of them.

 

Birth of the World's First Television Series
Entirely About the Illusion of Free Will!

In September of 2010, I approached Nomi with the idea of our co-hosting a cable TV show about the illusion of free will.  Having recorded almost 140 episodes as producer and host of The Happiness Show, I was familiar with how to produce and promote a show. Nomi agreed, and the stage was set for our new show. Here's a photo of Nomi;

Our new White Plains, New York weekly television series, Exploring the Illusion of Free Will, began recording on November 27, 2010, and premiered on January 6, 2011. Cablevision channel 76 broadcasts the show to White Plains, and Verizon FiOS channel 45 expands our reach to sections of neighboring Westchester County communities that include Ardsley, Byram Hills, Greenburgh, Hartsdale, Irvington, Mamaroneck, Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Scarsdale, and Tarrytown. Since 2012, our show is also cablecast to Manhattan at least every other week on their cable station MNN. In January of 2011, I designed and published this site to begin disseminating the episodes and other resources.

Here's a snapshot of Nomi and me, and our first guest, John Davis;


A large part of why free will exploded into public awareness in 2011 is that White Plains, New York happens to be a community of choice for many of Manhattan's "movers and shakers" who prefer to raise a family in a small suburban city rather than in The Big Apple. Incidentally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was born here, and raised in nearby Ardsley.This is the kind of "being in the right place" luck that Malcolm Gladwell refers to in his best-selling book Outliers.

Here's another historical artifact -- The public service announcement, (PSA) I designed, and The White Plains Media Center aired to promote the show.

 

 

The Myth of Free Will Hits Live Call-In
Manhattan TV on MNN!

The goal of busting the myth of free will got another big boost in 2011 when another of our Meetup's members, Enel, mentioned to me that he recently began training to produce a cable television series in Manhattan, where he lives. Enel, a Mensa, quickly got the importance of my busting free will initiative, and understood the reach our message would have on Manhattan's public access TV station, MNN. After two pre-recorded episodes in the spring of 2011 with Enel's friend Gene, and two guys Enel met at the MNN training, Big Rob and Frank, our live call-in TV show, Myth of Free Will began airing in preview on September 23, 2011. We officially premiered on January 18, 2012. Here's snapshot of Enel and Alex, our engineer;


Here's a link to our January 12, 1012 press release for the show - "Manhattan and White Plains Researchers Refute Free Will on Live MNN Call-In Show." Enel and I quickly became a single-minded team, and great friends.  We began to popularize the refutation of free will in other ways. 

On December 2, 2011, I published the edited transcripts of the first eighteen episodes of my White Plains show - Exploring the Illusion of Free Will; Eighteen episodes from the world's first television series about the causal, unconscious nature of human will. 

Here are some of the other ways I've helped expand the buzz about free will being an illusion. Over the last few years, I've carried a sign that says "Transcend the Delusion of Free Will" through my hometown of White Plains, and up and down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Here's a photo of me in front of the Waldorf Astoria at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street -

Also, beginning in 2010, I designed and had printed a debate sign that I take to Central Park. Over the last few years I've spent many hours there debating tourists and native New Yorkers about whether of not we have a free will. It's a bit hard to read, but the bottom of the sign says "Einstein and I say we don't --Try to prove us wrong." Here's a photo  -

Here's me with the sign -

I continue to amplify the buzz about free will being an illusion through my many comments to different blog and video posts, through another meetup I started in White Plains called "Life After Free Will," by revising and publishing a second edition of my book, and in other ways.

More or less, that's the story of how the universe made me create a buzz about free will being an illusion, and why major media publications began to cover the topic like they did in 2010. But this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more big news over these next few years.

 

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