Upcoming Elections May Hinge on Emerging Free Will Debate

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Free will is supported by a new theory of evolution proposed by Shaun Johnston, author of "Alternative to Darwinism and Creationism Based on Free Will." This 40-page book is available free as epub at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93047 and as pdf at http://www.evolvedself.com/alternative/free.pdf

Even scientists convinced they are determined and that belief in free will is an illusion tell him they experience free will and value the experience, says Shaun Johnston, author of a quick-read book on free will available online as a free ebook and in print for $2.99 from Amazon.

"Free will could become an issue in next year's elections," according to Johnston. "Libertarians tend to see free will as the primary key to success in life while liberals tend to believe success depends on circumstances the individual has no control over. Liberals may be favored by a shift in public opinion against free will: among respondents to a recent NY Times article on free will those saying people are determined outnumbered those saying people have free will. On the other hand, if people don't have free will why should they vote? If free will is found essential for democracy to work, that may favor the libertarians. As the election approaches, interest in free will may mount."

The resolution proposed in this book involves evolution as well as free will. "What people think about free will can't be separated from where they think they come from," says author Shaun Johnston. "Creationists say God guarantees us free will but it's supernatural. Darwinism says that because we evolved through purely physical processes we can't have any free will at all." Johnston resolves the dilemma by imagining a world where people really do have freewill, a world with its own Newton, Darwin and Einstein. To account for having free will they come up with a theory of evolution involving a non-supernatural intelligent designer. Through this mechanism Johnston arrives at a theory of evolution providing support for an attitude to free will similar to common sense.

"Which should you believe in, free will or determinism?" asks Johnston. "I think that’s up to each one of us to decide. Some people are more comfortable in a purely physical world where everything runs on the steady rails of physical determinism and people judge you, and you judge them, by what you and they do. Other people are more comfortable in a world where they and other people can have private worlds of consciousness where, they feel, the real business of life goes on, which they can share through art and conversation. The difference is mainly a matter of temperament. Look back in history and you can see the balance shifting first one way, then the other."

This new book contains text for a presentation Johnston gives on the subject of evolution and free will. It is fifth in a series of books studying the impact of theories of evolution on the sense of self written by Johnston and published by Evolved Self Publishing. Associated with this series is a website http://www.takeondarwin.com designed to help scientists and non-scientists alike come up with new theories of evolution.

Johnston studied for a degree in biochemistry at University College London, later became a medical and science writer. Evolved Self Publishing is an outcome of his lifetime interest in evolution. He lives in New York State's mid Hudson Valley and can be reached at shaun(at)evolvedself(dot)com and 845-658-3129.


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