Physics has made huge strides since the days of Laplace; indeed, it would be completely unrecognisable to him. Yet there are still physicists today who confidently proclaim that we can’t have free will because physics determines everything, including brain functioning – entirely ignoring the complex context and the power of constraints.For a biologist with such a disbelief in free will, see Jerry Coyne.
If you seriously believe that fundamental forces leave no space for free will, then it’s impossible for us to genuinely make choices as moral beings. We wouldn’t be accountable in any meaningful way for our reactions to global climate change, child trafficking or viral pandemics. The underlying physics would in reality be governing our behaviour, and responsibility wouldn’t enter into the picture.
That’s a devastating conclusion. We can be grateful it’s not true.
Ellis doesn't deny the Schroedinger equation or any law of physics. What he does deny is that any of those laws give the sort of deterministic predictability that would eliminate free will. I think that he is correct about that.
Not everyone agrees. Einstein was a determinist who denied free will. Sean M. Carroll is a determinist, but he also believes in many-worlds theory.