I’m not much for ism
s or movements. But as long as we are going to have Creationists, Young-Earthers, and similar critters banding together to take over school boards and the like, we might as well have some card-carrying (or website-building) Naturalists to fight with them.
The Center for Naturalism
proposes “to foster the understanding that human beings and their behavior are fully caused, entirely natural phenomena, and that human flourishing is best achieved in the light of such understanding” and to draw the appropriate consequences. Daniel Dennett and Owen Flanagan are on the Advisory Board, so I suppose they think this is a good idea.
Not everything at the site is rigorously argued. For example, at “Applied Naturalism
” we find Mark Hovland’s Complete Decision Finder
, which “illustrates the principle that we make choices on the basis of weighted reasons, that is, on the basis of positive and negative factors that are rated according to their emotional significance—how strongly we feel about them”.
You’re supposed to list all the pros and cons pertaining to some decision you will make, and weight each of them. Add up the weights for and the weights against, and there’s your decision: whichever side is
weightier wins. In short: “Decisions are based upon your emotional response to your beliefs”.
This may be a good advice. But it proves nothing about free will. I will prove by similar means that all your decisions are random. I call it the Cheap Decision Finder. Here’s the procedure. Make your decision into a yes-no question. Flip a coin. If it turns up heads, do it. If it turns up tails, don’t. In short: “Decisions are based upon chance events”.