Can we be intellectually honest and believe in the freedom of man?

There are a lot of arguments against free will out there. I find the ones derived from neuroscience especially persuasive.
It is official Church teaching that we are free agents.
It is also stated in the Catechism that there can’t be any real contradiction between faith and reason.
I am becoming more and more convinced that believing in free will isn’t intellectually honest. That would mean that there is a contradiction between faith and reason. This would disprove the teaching of the Church and thus Catholicism.
Can someone help me with this problem? Could we somehow be free agents, even if free will would be disproved?
Thanks for answers.

Can you elaborate on this? Which arguments, specifically — where?

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I think this is a good start.

OK that’s a broad overview of the topic. Why are you persuaded that neuroscience somehow disproves free will? Have you read Alfred Mele?

Try this: https://strangenotions.com/why-science-hasnt-disproved-free-will-a-review-of-alfred-meles-free/

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I think it’s dishonest to reject free will.

Our free will actualizes first of all in children, whenever we all first rebeled against the authority of our parents.

And if free will is real, then it is hardwired into us, i.e., in answer to the question “nature or nurture?”, it’s “nature”.

Although, I will concede that nine times out of ten, we can appear to be determined. Even 99 times out of a hundred. But that one time that we break the hypothesis that we are not free, is really all we need to know that it is not true. We are free.

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The revealed truth is not an applied method of problem solving (intellectual honesty). It is a matter of faith. Remember how Christ answered the Apostles in Luke 18, 26-27:

And they that heard it, said: Who then can be saved? He said to them: The things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.

God makes it possible for a person to freely choose even though some may argue that humans have no free will choice.

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I don’t think it’s possible to intellectually honest and reject free will.

If all of our decision happen subconsciously, and are driven only by external factors with no choice involved, it should be impossible for a person to do something different than they used to. If a certain series of influences caused me to perform an action one time, given the same set of circumstances I should repeat that action. However, I am capable of choosing not to perform that action. Therefore, there must be something else that plays a role in my decision making.

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Why are you studying anti-Catholic subjects? If there is no free will, then it is unjust to punish criminals. It is unjust to have laws. Prisons need to be emptied.

You chose to post this, did you not?

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Don’t be misled. Trust the Church, not the Internet; and realize that people have the free will to love, and God does not force anyone to love; there are plenty who choose to hate.

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If we don’t have free will then the authors of that article don’t have free will.
If the authors don’t have free will they didn’t write what they think is true. They wrote what they were compelled to write.
If they wrote what they were compelled to write then of what value is the article?

And if they were compelled then what compelled them? Their own neurochemical processes? How can chemical and electrical reactions produce rational results if there is not free will involved?

And what po18guy said.

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I can understand where you are coming from - on the surface it can seem like neuroscience ‘disproves’ free will, and I think it’s good that your examining the subject seriously.

There is much debate about the subject - at least among philosophers. Even the Wikipedia article you linked says as much “ The field remains highly controversial. The significance of findings, their meaning, and what conclusions may be drawn from them is a matter of intense debate.”

The problem is that the results of scientific studies have to be interpreted- and these interpretations are biased heavily towards your metaphysics. Since many scientists are naturalists, they will assume that the mind has to be physically deterministic, leaving no room for free will. Every experiment they do will implicitly assume that naturalism is true. They don’t really consider the question of if naturalism itself is true.

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Right. This is called “begging the question”. A very severe and fatal logical error.

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When I stumble upon a apparent contradiction with my faith, I try to determine the truth. I don’t want to believe in something which isn’t real.[quote=“po18guy, post:8, topic:573539”]
If there is no free will, then it is unjust to punish criminals. It is unjust to have laws. Prisons need to be emptied.
[/quote]

Yes

To be honest, I’m not sure.

“I am becoming more and more convinced that believing in free will isn’t intellectually honest. That would mean that there is a contradiction between faith and reason. This would disprove the teaching of the Church and thus Catholicism.”

Leaps of Logic! Apples and Oranges! No it doesn’t! As stated - That above makes no sense to Reason which can never be Divorced from Intelligence… You’d really have to dig very deep with some serious supportive argementation before positing such notions so that they become considered being worthy of honest intellectual discussion utilizing our Reasoning…

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There was something I read earlier this year about one of the classic neuroscience studies (the one that denied free will because it “showed” that the brain decided on actions before evaluating the reasons for those actions) was actually misinterpreting what was going on. I’ll see if I can dig it up.

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Yes, I think most naturalist are biased, but so are most Christians. I think there aren’t many people that truly think scientificly and don’t let their believes effect their conclusions. That’s part of my problem.

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Yes, I think you meant this:

It’s pretty convincing.

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I’ve never understood the doubting of free will.

The fact that you can choose to believe it or not is proof of itself.

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I’m not sure I quite understand you. Do you suggest that God (because he’s above natural laws) can give us free will in spite of evidence that would suggest otherwise?

This reply was predetermined by an outside entity. I did not freely choose to type and enter this.

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