The model of decision making I am proposing has the following feature: when we are faced with an important decision, a consideration-generator whose output is to some degree undetermined produces a series of considerations, some of which may of course be immediately rejected as irrelevant by the agent (consciously or unconsciously). Those considerations that are selected by the agent as having a more than negligible bearing on the decision then figure in a reasoning process, and if the agent is in the main reasonable, those considerations ultimately serve as predictors and explicators of the agent's final decision.No theologian would dare write such nonsense. On a smaller scale, consider this new-age crapola from freethought blogger Daniel Fincke:
Further, I do not believe in an undetermined free will. I do think we have a will that makes genuine choices as expressive of who we are, but who we are is still ultimately determined by physical, chemical, biological, and psychological laws (and social determinants) in ways that make it ultimately impossible that we might have done otherwise than we chose to do. I just think that since we are these beings who are determined in these ways, what we do is a genuine expression of us.Of course, not all atheists vomit up woo to explain the inexplicable. Some are quite honest. One well-known example is Cornell biologist William Provine who writes:
Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly.Provine is quite right. The problem for the atheist crowd always has been and always will be that there is no physical mechanism for free will. In terms of quantum mechanics, the wavefunction of the universe at time t, which tells us all there is to know about the universe, is determined by the wavefunction at t = 0 and the Hamiltonian (Energy) operator H.
1) No gods worth having exist;
2) no life after death exists;
3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists;
4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and
5) human free will is nonexistent.
Ψ(t) = e-iHtΨ(0)
Free will demands that by some thought process (evaluating and choosing) you can affect Ψ(t) by altering the Hamiltonian. Ψ(t) ends up different than it would have if you hadn't made that choice. But the only way that can happen within the laws of physics is if your choice was already built into the Hamiltonian of the universe. But if so it wasn't a choice at all.
The only way that free will is possible is for something to affect the system from the outside. By altering the Hamiltonian through an intervention. There is a term for that: supernatural.
Provine understands this. Woo-masters like Dennett do not, or they do and they choose to lie about it. So they obfuscate due to ignorance or malice aforethought by penning impenetrable gobbledegook about "consideration-generators" and the like.
That is the only choice they have, short of being honest like Provine. Because nothing, ever, can rescue them. Ever. No philosophical solution, no matter how jargonized and obscure, can obviate the need for a physical mechanism which the laws of physics don't allow. You cannot, through mental processes, change the Hamiltonian in situ. It is what it is. It is, in fact, determining your mental processes, not vice versa.
The religious agree with Provine. The natural world cannot accommodate free will. Only the supernatural world can. Provine rejects that solution, we accept it, but we agree that it takes an intervention from outside to redirect the time evolution of the universe—which is precisely what free will represents.