What does matter’s having no will mean?
Submitted by on Thu, 18/06/2020 - 11:45
Dear Brother / Sister,
4.3.8-There is nothing called willpower in matter
Everything is subject to the laws of physics in the material universe envisaged by the big band, and hence it is clear what movement every being, whether living or non-living, will do. According to this philosophical view known as ‘determinism’, there can be no such thing as willpower, which means violation of the laws of physics. In fact, there is no element of will in the building blocks of matter. However, the existence of will is definite by observations; it can be proved and hence a scientific fact. In non-living beings, the laws of physics are fully dominant; and it is obvious how non-living beings will react to an effect.
However, this is not the case in the living beings that have willpower. Even this observation alone is sufficient to refute the presupposition that the universe is composed of only matter-energy.
Animals and humans are subject to the laws of physics but they are not their prisoners; and they can do many movements by their free will that cannot be predicted by physics.
It might not be possible to prove the correctness of a theory, but it is easy to prove that it is wrong; and the simplest way of this is to show that it contradicts the observations. To give an example, it is possible to know in advance how a piece of wood put in a river will move and where it will be at a certain time. For, the movement depends on the physical conditions of the river and the wood at the time when it is put in the river and the laws of physics; the non-living wood cannot oppose them. The same is valid for a living plant thrown into the river because there is no will in plants even though they are alive.
However, if an animal or human being is put in the river, no one can foresee what exactly will happen. For animals and humans are subject to the laws of physics but they are not their prisoners; and they can do many movements by their free will that cannot be predicted by physics. They can even swim against the current.
As it can be understood from this simple experiment, the existence of a will in the universe along with matter and strength is definite by observations and hence it is a scientific fact. The laws of physics are fully dominant in non-living beings and generally in plants; and it is clear how these beings will react to an effect. However, this is not the case in living beings that have willpower. Even this simple observation alone is sufficient to refute the presupposition that the universe is composed of only matter.
Besides, if it were not for a non-material dimension called willpower, the future would be clearly known and people would be like unconscious robots. And they would not be held responsible for what they did just like a robot that went out of order could not be held responsible for the damage it caused.
This confinement to matter put many leading thinkers in a difficult position. For example, Albert Einstein became a strict determinist because of his firm belief in physics and he stated that even people should not have free will:
“A person’s actions were just as determined as those of a billiard ball, planet, or star. Human actions are determined, beyond their control, by physical and psychological laws. Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no contro1. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.”1
However, in terms of divine names, will is seen as a manifestation of the non-matter name ‘Murid’ (the One that wills) in the conscious living beings. That is, everybody has partial free will as a manifestation of this name. Although its nature is not known fully, everybody understands in his conscience that he has partial free will. The intention and desire to do or not to do something shows that man has partial free will. Man is not like a leaf that is driven by the wind.
1.Walter Isaacson, Einstein – His Life and Universe. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2007, p. 391.
Questions on Islam
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- Our biology teacher says that there is glycolysis cycle even in the simplest bacteria, and that the most developed species, which is human, also has this cycle and hence it is the most obvious evidence for evolution. Is this true?
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- How do laws of physics confirm and necessitate the existence of a realm outside the realm of physics?