What we’re about
During the Coronavirus Lockdown, we'll be meeting online through Zoom.
We meet upstairs at Whole Foods at 226 E. 57th between 2nd. and 3rd. Avenues every first Saturday of the month from 5pm until 7:30pm, and at the Barnes & Noble cafe in White Plains, New York every third Wednesday of the month from 7:00pm until 8:45pm.
After having debated whether we humans do or don’t have a free will many dozens of times through this Meetup group during the eight years beginning April 7, 2010, although we will continue this debate format at our monthly White Plains, New York meetings, our future Manhattan meetings, (unless otherwise noted) will all be devoted to exploring the personal and societal implications of our world coming to understand and accept that, as Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein -- three of our very top scientists arriving at their answer from three very different scientific fields -- concluded, we humans do not, in fact, have a free will.
We will, of course, continue to welcome free will believers to our Manhattan meetings, but please offer arguments favoring a free will only at our White Plains meetings.
In White Plains, 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.
For more information on free will:
Visit my 2011-2016, 216-episode TV series on free will's website.
Download a free pdf copy of my book Exploring the Illusion of Free Will, Second Edition.
Download a free pdf copy of my book Free Will: Its Refutation, Societal Cost and Role in Climate Change Denial.
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.
Again, 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-depth understanding of the topic, read the About page.