I saw a post over on A Little Weird about randomness. Sean’s view is that it doesn’t exist, and that people winning the lottery twice proves it. “we’re told the odds are 419 million to one. That would mean the winner would have to play the lottery every minute – for 796 years” Now this seems like fairly damning proof that the current model of probability is a bit off, but I’d say that there’s always room otherwise. Nobody said that the person who won the lottery did it fairly, for instance.

The idea that nothing is random also brings up an interesting argument I’ve come up with. It involves belief, specifically about anything beyond the body. If you don’t believe in anything beyond the mind and body, then I would say you’d have an easier time swallowing the “nothing is random” idea. Why? Because that means you get to have a free will.

If randomness doesn’t exist, and you have nothing outside of your body, and your brain is the only thing controlling your decisions and actions in life, then you are nothing more then what has happened to you. To elaborate, when you go through life, stuff happens, you are influenced by other people, actions, words, the weather, etc. This leads you to your next thought, or your memory of it makes you react to a similar situation a certain way next time because of how last time turned out. Your brain has action done unto it, it makes physical changes, and then the next time something comes up to it, like a decision, the physical and chemical build of the brain determine your reaction.

But aren’t my thoughts still unique?

No, if there is nothing truly random, and there is nothing beyond the physical, then even your precious thoughts aren’t actually yours. They are the result of what has happened to you, and the situations your environment has put you into. They are traces of all the things that have been put into you, as a person. As I said earlier, without anything beyond the body, and without randomness, you are nothing more then a collection of all the influences that have ever occurred to you.

Having said all of that, I am very happy to say that I think there’s something outside of the body, and the brain. Wouldn’t it at least be nice to believe you have a free will?

-Hatter

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