Free by Alfred Mele – An Absurd Being Book Review

At just 90 pages, Free, by Alfred Mele, is a light, easy to read, accessible refutation of the idea that scientists have proven freewill doesn’t exist. Mele tackles some of the scientific arguments typically offered in defence of determinism and succeeds in, while not strongly making a case for freewill, definitely dismantling the scientific case against it.

He begins by looking at Benjamin Libet’s now infamous experiments from the 80s in which he asked subjects to flex their wrists whenever they felt like it and report when they first had the intention to do so. On average, participants reported the urge to act around 200 milliseconds before the muscle burst. However, through EEG, Libet detected activity in the brain (called the readiness potential, (RP)) around 350 milliseconds before the subject reported the conscious intention. Libet concluded from this that our brains ‘make’ our decisions without any conscious input. Continue reading

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Aping Mankind by Raymond Tallis – An Absurd Being Book Review

aping_mankindFor a complete summary of Aping Mankind see the philosophy page at the Absurd Being website here.

If one word serves to describe Aping Mankind, that word would be ‘thorough’. Tallis’ book takes the reader on a detailed and rigorous trek through the latest attempts in science to explain consciousness. He focuses on what he calls, “neuromania” (the idea that the mind and the brain are the same) and “Darwinitis” (the idea that we are nothing more than animals), and produced a ‘take-no-prisoners’ refutation of the various claims made by his twin nemeses. Continue reading