Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Libertarians Will Be the Ones to Freak This Time

The NYTimes has a great overview of the issue of free will and how new developments in brain science are forcing us to seriously consider whether or not we can maintain the belief in free will. Michael Silberstein points out:

“If people freak at evolution, etc.,” he wrote in an e-mail message, “how much more will they freak if scientists and philosophers tell them they are nothing more than sophisticated meat machines, and is that conclusion now clearly warranted or is it premature?”

What has always occurred to me is that the folks worst hit by the developments in neuroscience are the hard core Libertarians: those that believe in some radical notion of free will, that is rather mystical and unscientific. What is even more interesting about the blow to Libertarians that neuroscience promises is that the Libertarians like to believe themselves to be more "rational" than your Religious Right types. What we will soon discover from the likes of the Cato Institute or Ayn Rand devotees is that neuroscience is a leftist (communist) plot to do away with human excellence.