Experimental evidence of a lack of genuine free will?

If someone, while being PET scanned, is told that they can move their finger at any time they want, a very interesting thing happens

Between one second and three quarters of a second before the finger actually moves, a "Readiness Potential" is detected in the brain of the subject.

However, the apparently conscious decision to move the finger is almost simultaneous with the finger actually moving.

It is as if some part of the brain is pre-empting the actual decision to move the finger, by between 1 and 3/4 seconds.

What exactly is happening here is not at present known, but it must be one of two things:

1. There is a time delay brought about by the propogation of electric signals in the neural network of the brain, and evolution has conspired to give a time delay to the awareness of the conscious decision, timing it to coincide better with the actual action undertaken (in this case, moving a finger).

2. There is a genuinely robotic process at work here. The decision is made sub-consciously, in a computer-like manner, and the apparent consciousness of the decision is merely an artifact of some feed-back loop in the neural net - it's not really a conscious decision at all !

Based on my earlier post, even if "1" is the case, "free will" still doesn't actually exist.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are putting a lot of energy into figuring out the physical universe...what have you discovered about your Self? Just curious...

6:37 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Everyone should know themselves only too well.

I'm not pro-navel-gazing to try and figure out who we all are as people - we should already know, and if we don't, then other people are the mirrors by which we may see our true selves.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are a twat

11:07 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Well, thank you Ms. Anonymous for that most incisive comment.

BTW, you're not as anonymous as you might think you are - I know exactly who you are ;-)

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dick. Who else is a dick?? Taylor from hanson.

Just random comments....

11:08 AM  
Blogger Zarathustra said...

Resume taking your meds.

3:33 PM  
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