This question is asked a lot here. It's not a dumb question, and it exercised the best minds in theology and philosophy for centuries. Here is my take:
We can dismiss the idea that everything is fated by God or predetermined by some agency like karma. The simplest explanation of karma is that it is the result...
Best answer: This question is asked a lot here. It's not a dumb question, and it exercised the best minds in theology and philosophy for centuries. Here is my take:
We can dismiss the idea that everything is fated by God or predetermined by some agency like karma. The simplest explanation of karma is that it is the result of our actions, with or without a moral component. But we can discard the popular Hindu belief that bad actions in this life will inevitably result in suffering in the next life - after all, this is unprovable. I won't become an untouchable in the next life because I was a juvenile delinquent. I don't think it's that simple.
The cause and effect we see in the world of physics and chemistry led scientists to argue that everything has a prior cause. For believers that was God, for atheists it's become the Big Bang. But quantum mechanics and Chaos theory turn this on its head. I can't go into chaos theory here, it's well worth reading about. We know that chaos exists. We cannot predict the precise position hydrocarbon molecules will take one ten thousandth of a second after a fuel explosion. Or at any point thereafter, for that matter. To a certain extent chaos is a perception. The leaves of the trees in the forest fall in the autumn. They fall to the forest floor in no particular spot, due to air currents, but they fall in a specific order. My memory might be off, but in Maine the first tree to lose its leaves is the ash, and the last is the oak. Each species releases its leaves on its own schedule. Thus there is order in this apparent chaos.
I can choose to have sex or not. This powerful drive is still under individual control. But I cannot choose to never evacuate my bowels. That is a necessity. I can eat anything I want, but I cannot refuse to eat for long. There are laws and rules in nature. These laws and rules can be broken, but at a cost.
It's by no means clear if an individual action is free or determined by genes. At least one set of identical twins reared apart married women with the same name, smoked the same brand of cigarettes, owned the same make and model of car, and had dogs with the same name. If this is all genetic, what a weird world we live in. My final verdict? We have limited free will.
1 week ago