It came about from a 19th century view of physics as a deterministic nature.
Now adays most people recognize quantum mechanics mean that no matter how much knowledge you have, you can not predict the human brain, because at at very small level, it is not deterministic.
The deterministic then respond that this just means everyone is random. They claim that again, you have no free will, you are just a robot with a random number generator.
This again is lacking in understanding. First, it misunderstands a lot of quantum mechanism. It is NOT just a random number generator for Einstein's proverbial God's Dice game. Instead, quantum mechanics is far more complicated and many claim that no one understands it. Among other things, there is an 'observer' portion of quantum mechanics that is NOT random. That is, when you observe things, it changes the outcome (see Schrodinger's Cat).
But lets ignore the physics and get back down to philosophy, as that is the core of the model and a far more important question.
Here are some given assumptions.
- If everything is 100% accurately predictable, you have no free will, because your actions are predetermined.
- If your actions are random, or 100% accurately predictable except for a random factor, then again you have no free will, you are just a random number generator's output.
- For true free will to exist there must be some inherent core personality that is neither random, nor entirely predictable, but instead is internally consistent, not entirely determined by birth, (and therefore at least partially learned), and that determination is not random, but PATTERNED.
Assume for example God exists (God is not neccessary for this argument, but positing his existence makes the discussion easier, as God acts as an Omniscient creator who could predict your actions). God choose to create people as works of art, rather than either engineering projects (robots) or random number generators (robots whose programming was choosen at random).
Can God create something so he could not understand it? The answer here is yes (Not sure if he could create a stone to heavy for him to lift, that's a different question). He creates it in an artistic fashion instead of a planned one. He looks at the over-all forest, not the trees as he creates us. He lets the micro stuff fall randomly, but makes sure that the total creation follows a specific pattern.
If we were talking about painting, think of God as randomly throwing balls of paint at a wall that has a specific stencil design protecting it. Yes, the paint is random, but it will still spell out the letters "FREE WILL" because of the stencils.
Such a design is not random OR determined. There is a third choice of patterned. Patterned does not fall in between those two extremes. Instead it is something VERY different from either of them. You see, it is not a black/white choice of determined or random. Nor is it a choice of 'gray'. Instead it is a choice of the color purple (one of my favorites). It is neither determined nor random, but something different.
Now, patterns are the key to life - on both all scales. On the large scale, life has a set pattern of symmetry. On a small scale, life is a complex pattern of cells, on a micro level, DNA is just a pattern.
Life is about patterns, and human minds are the ultimate expression of that pattern. We are not robots, nor random number generators. We are patterns. And our patterns have free will.