[ExI] Free will was: Everett worlds

SR Ballard sen.otaku at gmail.com
Mon Aug 17 15:54:12 UTC 2020

I think “free will” is a bit like Pascal’s Wager.

If free will is real and you think it is real, then you will see yourself as a free agent, and take responsibility for yourself and your actions, intentionally working to better things. You will put murderers in jail.

If free will is real and you think it is not, you can and will excuse all manner of immorality, sloth, and cruelty because they couldn’t be avoided. You probably put murderers in jail, but it’s kind of stupid because from your perspective they never decided to kill anyone. Killing someone was something they would be completely unable to prevent.

If free will is not real, then your belief in it does not change your actions. The chain of cause and effect completely controls every aspect of your existence, you cannot make any real change in the world. With a good enough computer (and a good enough measure of initial conditions) you could model every single part of the universe and tell me exactly what I will have for breakfast on 17 Jan 2035. Murderers will be put in prison or not, based completely on initial conditions.

So if free will does exist and you don’t believe in it, you introduce negatives. 

If free will doesn’t exist, it doesn’t matter because it changes nothing, and I will have whatever belief I will have regardless of my own “agency”, so it’s pointless to try to change my mind.

So believing that I have meaningful control is either essential to being a good member of society, or absolutely unimportant.

Believing I do not have meaningful control is actively negative, or absolutely unimportant. 

SR Ballard

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