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is free will an illusion both with or without a god?

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if there is no god, then we are simply the cumulation of complex arrangements of carbon molecules (mostly water) and our behavior isn't an exception to the basic physical laws that these molecules adhere to.
whether its god setting things up in advance and knowing everything you're gonna do or whether it's these basic physical laws governing everything, there's not a lot of room left for freedom.
think about how it happens. there's some electrical activity in your brain. your neurons fire. they send a signal down into your nervous system. it passes along down into your muscle fibers. they twitch. you might, say, reach out your arm. it looks like it's a free action on your part, but every every part of that process is actually governed by physical law, chemical laws, electrical laws, and so on.
so now it just looks like the big bang set up the initial conditions, and the whole rest of human history, and even before, is really just the playing out of subatomic particles.
asked Mar 30, 2012 by carbonfiber (405 points)