We are privileged to welcome Dr. Daniel Dennet who will speak on the "Neuroscience Constructs of Religion" at our 1056th meeting.
Several eminent scientists, including some neuroscientists, have declared that free will is an illusion and that nobody is responsible for anything they do. This provocative verdict is based on faulty reasoning. The brain doesn't need to avail itself of either ectoplasmic magic or quantum indeterminacy to be the control center of an autonomous agent who can properly be held responsible for deeds both good and bad. The chief error lies in confusing causation with control. Leaves falling from a tree are caused to move wherever they move by gravity and the winds blowing on them, but they are not controlled; they are out of control. A coin flip has a caused outcome, but that outcome is not in the control of any agent. Autonomy or self-control is a non-mysterious, variable, discernible feature of many complex systems. It has nothing to do with indeterminism.
- Daniel Dennett, D. Phil