Are we responsible for our choices? What can the laws of nature teach us about morality? On this ID The Future, host Andrew McDiarmid welcomes back Dr. Eric Hedin, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University, to conclude a discussion about his two recent articles on suffering, free will, and morality in a designed world.
Some scientists continue to argue that human free will is an illusion and that we have no more control over our choices than the decision to breathe. But this idea, known as determinism, flies in the face of our human experience, argues Dr. Hedin. From infancy, we learn about the predictability of the laws of nature, laws that remain constant and impartial every day of our lives. These laws of physics teach us that we can predict outcomes, not just of natural events, but of human actions too. We also learn that the forces of nature can be harnessed to do good or evil. That makes us powerful agents of change. “There’s an impartial palette or storehouse of available tools that we can put to use,” says Hedin. “Basically, it’s a stage on which our choices, our decisions, can be manifested. Our actions are made known within this universe, whether we choose to care for others or choose to do harm.”
Far from being slaves to external forces, humans have a great latitude of freedom in a universe marked by non-coercivity. We are not forced to do evil or do good. We have the power to override external influences to decide for ourselves what we will do. As Hedin puts it, “The universe reveals who we are by allowing us to make free choices.” In other words, the ball is in our court.
This is Part 2 of a two-part discussion. Listen to Part 1.
Read the article that inspired this podcast: “Nature Reflects an Intelligent Design – But Also a Moral One”
Read Dr. Hedin’s recent book Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See.