We meet at the Sony Plaza at 550 Madison (between 55th and 56th) every first Saturday of the month at 2pm, and at Bread and Butter (29th and Park) every third Wednesday at 7pm.
We talk about why our best logic, experience, physics, (yes, even quantum mechanics) psychology and neuroscience all point to the inescapable conclusion that human beings DO NOT have a free will; we have a predetermined, causal will.
What makes free will impossible? Logically, because everything happens for a reason, and every reason has a prior reason. Experientially, the simple fact that we cannot think, feel or do whatever we want, whenever we want. In physics, both causality and randomness. In psychology, an unconscious that never sleeps. In neuroscience, Libet's experiments (see our About page).
Believing in free will hurts us more than it helps us. Philosophers and psychologists like Derk Pereboom and John Bargh are seeing the advantages of our evolving to a consciousness that considers free will no more real than a flat Earth. As we move beyond the illusion that humans can act freely of what makes us who we are, like our heredity and environment, we can create a more intelligent and compassionate world.
Although the group's official position is that we have predetermined wills, we welcome those who aren't sure, and those who believe in free will.
At our Meetups, those of us who understand the predetermined nature of our feelings, thoughts and acts explore how using this knowledge every day can make our lives smarter and more pleasant. Those of us who believe our choices are completely “free” of determining influences like past experiences, heredity and the unconscious discover why our best science, logic and experience make such a will impossible.
Because religious arguments are belief-based, we limit our discussion to what empirical evidence, reason, and personal experience tell us about human will.
Our three rules are that we refrain from advancing belief-based evidence, we remain civil and respectful of each other, and that we have an great time exploring this truly awesome topic. The last rule is very important.
Because our topic is fundamental to who we are as human beings, and so unexplored by most of us, members should find our conversations enlightening and refreshing. If you enjoy meeting like-minded people, and stretching your brain to discover how our will really works, you'll have a great time at our Meetups.
How to disprove ANY free will argument in 2 easy steps
1. Ask the free will believer to give an example of a choice they consider to be freely willed.
2. Ask the free will believer to say whether or not that choice was caused.
Congratulations; you’ve won!
If the free will believer says the choice was caused, the causal regression makes free will impossible.
If the free will believer says the choice was uncaused, that would mean the choice was random. Clearly a random thought is not what we mean when we say we believe a thought is freely willed.
You can easily apply this two-step refutation to any, and all, free will arguments.
For a more in-debth understanding of the topic, read the About page.