Re: virus: freely determined

David McFadzean (
Sat, 28 Dec 1996 18:16:57 -0700

> From: Eva-Lise Carlstrom <>
> Date: Thursday, December 26, 1996 6:22 PM
> I believe in both free will and determinism.
> I, being a mere human, work from the human and thus free-will
> because it is not useful to me to think that all my acts are
> 'predetermined', and I cannot know them until I've decided on them in any
> case.

I too believe in both free will and determinism, but perhaps for
a different reason: I don't think they are incompatible.

Determinism means that events (including behaviour) are caused by
the state/configuration of matter and energy immediately previous
to the event, following the laws of physics. It does not imply that
the events are predictable, even theoretically, because of the
nature of chaos: immeasurable differences in the initial conditions
can manifest as huge differences on the macroscopic level. The opposite
of deterministic is random. (Side note: is anything truly random?)

To have free will doesn't say anything about whether the person/system/
agent in question has deterministic or predictable or random behaviour,
it says that the control of the behaviour is mostly instrinsically
derived. A rock, for instance, has no free will because it is totally
at the mercy of its environment, be it wind, rain or a child throwing
it through a window. The behaviour of the child, on the other hand,
can only be explained by taking into account its vastly complex nervous
system along with the genetic and memetic programs it embodies. True,
the child too is to some extent at the mercy of its environment (gravity,
traffic, neighborhood bullies), but for the most part, most of its
(interesting) behaviours are the result of the interaction of systems
internal to the child, therefore we can say the child has free will.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus