Friday, November 26, 2010

"Free Will and the Neuro-Sciences": Do We Really Have a Choice?

    Well, you'll be relieved to learn that YES- we do have free will, contrary to scientific experiments' claims that we do not.  So why have we come to believe that we no longer have this ability? The debate has been largely attributed to a 1985 experiment created by Benjamin Libet that just recently became popularized.  However, there is one specific internationally acclaimed philosopher that has debunked the theory.  Dr. Alfred Mele, professor in Philosophy at Florida State University, visited the University of Southern Mississippi's campus on November 19, 2010 to deliver his speech "Free Will and the Neuro-Sciences," in order to discuss his arguments with Libet's notorious theory.  Similar to Dr. DeArmey's lecture on "Evil and Human Dignity," Dr. Mele stressed the concept of intentions.
     According to Dr. Mele, Libet's infamous claim can be neither directly nor explicitly derived from the evidence obtained in the experiment, as questions arise pertaining to the accuracy and empiricism of the conducted research.  I did not expect that a guest speaker would visit hundreds of miles only to discuss the inconsistencies of a twenty-five year old experiment. This form of information, however, has proven to be especially helpful to many scientists and philosophers who are attempting to recreate the experiment in order to obtain more accurate results. In fact, Dr. Mele has participated in one of the new experiments to test the brain's recorded electrical signals in relation to a quick motion of the hand's muscles.  Though I have never before attended a lecture where a single, simple scientific experiment was under review, I will look for more unique lectures just like this one--exercising my free will all the way.

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