Â The reason evil exists in the world is because god(s) gave us free will, right? Doesn’t look that way.
You’re going to press that button, right? You know you’re going to press it and then . . . you make a conscious decision and you press it, right?
Maybe not, say German researchers in a new study published in the April 13 online edition of Nature Neuroscience.
Using sophisticated brain imaging techniques, the researchers found that they can predict people’s simple decisions up to 10 seconds before they’re conscious of making such a choice.
“It seems that your brain starts to trigger your decision before you make up your mind,” said the study’s lead author, John-Dylan Haynes of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany. “We can’t rule out free will, but I think it’s very implausible. The question is, can we still decide against the decision our brain has made?”
The study is the latest salvo in a longstanding scientific and philosophical debate over whether what we perceive as “free will” decisions are actually made before we’re aware that we’re making them.
A groundbreaking study, conducted in the 1980s by the recently deceased neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet, suggested that a region of the brain that prepares muscles to move showed activity a few hundred milliseconds before subjects made a conscious decision to press a button.