Below is a definition of free will from the Wordweb dictionary followed by my own refutation.
free will: “The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies” – Wordweb
If someone can make a choice that is free or unconstrained of external agencies, whether they be real or imaginary, then free will would be possible. Here are a few reasons why this is impossible.
First, since we cannot choose our genetics or where we are born and what parents we get, it is silly to say that we are free of the influence of these things. Our gender, along with all other attributes that describe our bodies will obviously have some effect on how we are viewed by other humans and what jobs we can work.
Second, all the things that we are taught by our parents, or teachers in school or the religion we grew up in will in some way effect our beliefs about things. Whether we like it or not, these things are chosen for us and we have no choice and no voice other than allowed by those who teach us and reward or punish us.
Third, pleasure and pain that come from things we do or that are done to us by something else are out of our control. The good taste of watermelon I feel was not something I chose. I will inevitably eat watermelon when I have the chance. The pain that comes from hunger or being cut or burned are out of my control and I will inevitably avoid these things if I have the physical power.
These influences on our thinking that motivate our actions cannot be denied or ignored forever. If you agree or disagree with my refutation of free will and send me an email or comment something, then you demonstrate that my act of writing this has caused some type of emotion in you. I hope it is a good one, but your response is out of my control and yours as well.
You may wonder what caused me to write this refutation. There are many causes of it. First, I cannot get any response out of most Christians other than “free will” whenever the problem of evil comes up. Second, the concept is easy enough for me to understand and explain. Third, the free will belief causes us to blame others for things that they had no choice but to do.
But I would say that most of all, the subject of human will and all the relevance it has in the debate about abortion is what made be feel I had no choice. I wanted tear down this false belief. As it turns out, that is the entire point. When we make a choice, we always choose the option that we want if we are able. Since we don’t choose our own desires, we can never have a free will. It is not the “will” that is in question but rather the “free” part of “free will” that makes it impossible.
Definition of Determinism
The opposite of free will is determinism. Below is the definition for it.
determinism: “a philosophical theory holding that all events are inevitable consequences of antecedent sufficient causes; often understood as denying the possibility of free will” – Wordweb
Don’t let the big words confuse you. At the moment, all you need to understand is that there is a cause or a reason for everything than happens. Understanding this is the easy part. Understanding the relevance of this knowledge to all areas of life is the hard part. Since everything happens for a reason, there must be a reason that I wrote that refutation of free will. The reason is because knowing the causes of abortion is the first step in preventing the need for it.
Pregnancy does not happen by “accident”. We know that sex between a man and a woman is the number one cause of all pregnancies. Because of this fact, our feelings about babies are affected by our feelings about sex. Our feelings about sex obviously are affected by what we are taught while growing up by our parents, school teachers or religious leaders. The causes of all of these things go back in time before we existed.
I believe that many people deny that abortion is murder because they are afraid to challenge the beliefs and traditions they have been given by their culture. One of the most harmful beliefs is that of “free will”. If we believe that a baby chose to implant itself in the uterus, then it is easy to blame the baby and punish it for the crime of existing. If we believe that the mother chose to get pregnant all by herself and then chose to kill the child, then we might be tempted to call her a slut and a murderer.
If however we recognize that pregnancy cannot occur without the participation of a man, then it become clear what must be done. The men must change if a difference is to be made. They must care about the life of women and children as much as they do their own life. The ultimate question is: Can these men change?
If you are a pro-life libertarian(Someone who believes the doctrine of free will), then your answer is that a man can change, but only if the man changes of his own free will. If you are a pro-life determinist, you will automatically work to eliminate the causes of pain and death. This includes teaching men not to be rapists or murderers. If you are pro-choice, then the Free Will vs Determinism question won’t mean as much to you.
Determinism once fully understood will reveal “free choice” to be an illusion that must be explored, broken, and someday forgotten. Life is deterministic. Even if you tried to argue for “a little free will” or a “small amount of free choice”, it could only be a freedom which is excercised by the living. Life wins.