One of the things I want to believe in is free will.
I understand the arguments by scientists claiming how everything could have evolved in a predictable manner since the big bang. It does make sense. Even down to the decision making processes in the brain and how we can’t see into the future, everything could still be set in stone. It’s a frightening thought, right? Even if you decided to test it knowing all this, that decision could still be set in stone too.
Among all the scientific books, articles and YouTube videos I’ve read and watched, there always seems to be a consensus that it’s either free will or determinism. It’s a little disappointing that some of my favorite scientists often vote for the latter, but as mentioned before – there are good arguments for it.
But what if it’s not as simple as a binary choice?
Sometimes I ponder the idea that epic proportions of complexity can somehow diminish determinism. After layers upon layers of complexity, the universe is so incredibly intricate that it doesn’t make any sense to think of determinism anymore. Although it’s still predictable, the information is so massive that you would not be able to predict all outcomes, even if you invented a computer the size of a galaxy.
It would in essence be free will inside determinism. It’s an intriguing thought and I might even believe in it myself, if it wasn’t for one specific feature of the universe that makes me believe in genuine free will:
The uncertainty principle.
In quantum mechanics, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle dictates that particles are in a superposition as several states until measured. As soon as they interact with the external reality in one way or another, they collapse into a known state. I fail to see how this can be compatible with determinism.
If one or more of the processes in our brains are affected by this wave function collapse, it could very well mean that we truly have free will. No more invisible railroad tracks fooling us into thinking we are free to leave whenever we want. This I believe in. I believe in this so much that to me, it completely overrules my other idea about how excessive complexity can create the perfect illusion of free will.