Books by Brights
The Myth of Free Will: Essays & Quotes by 40 of the World’s Leading Thinkers
The most popular definition of Free Will states that humans are imbued with a “soul” or “spirit” or “some magical quality” that directs the brain’s decision-making circuitry. Supposedly, this ghostly agent can override our genes and conditioning (when it feels like it). But how does a non-physical entity communicate with a physical body part?
Cris Evatt’s book shows that there is a "consensus" that Free Will is a myth and an illusion. Human decision-making is a brain process. When we choose between a papaya and a banana, patterns of neural activity representing these two possibilities appear in the frontal lobes. Copies of each pattern grow and spread at different rates, depending on our experiences and sensory impressions. Eventually, the number of copies of one pattern passes a threshold and we pick the papaya or the banana. Decision-making is a competition in which there are winners and losers.
The Myth of Free Will brings together an astonishing collection of essays and quotes by some of the world's most brilliant minds. Included are such respected names as Steven Pinker, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel C. Dennett, V. S. Ramachandran, Lee M. Silver, Susan Blackmore, Michael Shermer, Daniel M. Wegner, Buddha, Baruch Spinoza, Bertrand Russell, William B. Provine, Antonio Damasio, Michael Gazzaniga, Thomas W. Clark, Paul Bloom, Kurt Vonnegut, Woody Allen, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, and many more.
The Myth of Free Will keeps a complicated subject fairly simple, plus there are photos and illustrations. This 10-dollar, 100-page book gives Brights a way to introduce their friends to a more naturalistic worldview—it makes a great gift!
About the Author
Cris Evatt is the author of 10 books. A native Californian, she attended UCLA and graduated from Northwestern University. “Writing is how I organize my thoughts,” she says. “I often find myself in a state of rapture about a new field of inquiry. I love playing with ideas, looking at something from as many sides as possible. I don't regard that as work, though it does require rivers of energy, but rather as a form of mental mischief.” Her interests include yoga, vegan cooking, trips to Europe, hiking on mountain trails, and a daily dose of café-sitting.