Since I am skeptical that quantum computer will ever achieve quantum supremacy, you probably think that I dismiss this as nuts. Actually I don't.
Turing machines are deterministic, and do not have free will. But I believe humans do. The mechanism is not understood, and may involve quantum mechanics. So maybe a quantum computer can do that, even if cannot factor large numbers.
The London Guardian has a good essay on the arguments about free will. It says:
Harris argues that if we fully grasped the case against free will, it would be difficult to hate other people: how can you hate someone you don’t blame for their actions? Yet love would survive largely unscathed, ...I agree with that last sentence. A lot of intellectuals reject free will, but in the process they also reject a lot of things that seem obviously true.
I personally can’t claim to find the case against free will ultimately persuasive; it’s just at odds with too much else that seems obviously true about life.
I do not agree with the love/hate analysis. If I believe that someone has no free will, and is merely a preprogrammed robot to do evil things, then sure, that is a good reason to hate him. He would be a sub-human evil nuisance. A puppet of the devil. As for love, try telling your wife that you only love her because the chemicals in your body have made that illusion. Some psychologists say that, and I don't think it helps.
The article says that philosophers have gotten death threats over such issues.
Jerry Coyne endorses most of the essay, but argues:
Contracausal free will is the bedrock of Abrahamic religions, which of course have many adherents.No. Islam doesn't accept free will. Moslems are always talking about God's will being carried out, as if no one can do anything about it. Jews have mixed views. Catholics believe strongly in free will, and so do many Protestants, but some, such as Calvinists, do not. A previous Guardian essay by historian Yuval Noah Harari said:
Unfortunately, “free will” isn’t a scientific reality. It is a myth inherited from Christian theology. Theologians developed the idea of “free will” to explain why God is right to punish sinners for their bad choices and reward saints for their good choices. If our choices aren’t made freely, why should God punish or reward us for them? ...He is gay Israeli Jewish atheist. Perhaps he is a slave to his programming, but others are not.
You cannot decide what desires you have. You don’t decide to be introvert or extrovert, easy-going or anxious, gay or straight. Humans make choices – but they are never independent choices. ...
But now the belief in “free will” suddenly becomes dangerous. If governments and corporations succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will.
Free will skepticism (sometimes called “hard determinism”). As you must know, this is the view to which I adhere. Though it’s often called “determinism”, with the implication that the laws of physics have already determined the entire future of the universe, including what you will do, that’s not my view. There is, if quantum mechanics be right, a fundamental form of indeterminism that is unpredictable, like when a given atom in a radioactive compound will decay. It’s unclear to what extent this fundamental unpredictability affects our actions or their predictability, but I’m sure it’s played some role in evolution (via mutation) or in the Big Bang (as Sean Carroll tells me). Thus I prefer to use the term “naturalism” rather than “determinism.” But, at any rate, fundamental quantum unpredictability cannot give us free will, for it has nothing to do with either “will” or “freedom”.I call this argument: Only God has Free Will.
Coyne is an atheist, but he seems to believe in some sort of Spinoza God. Humans have no freedom or free will. We are just puppets being controlled. God is not a predictable robot, and can make choices for us and the world. God even guides evolution of biological species by directing mutations.
The phrase "fundamental quantum unpredictability" means that the human observer can only predict probabilities. It always leaves open the possibility that someone with more info could make a better prediction. If Coyne wants to believe that it is some sort of God making all our choices for us, I guess that possibility is allowed.
For example, a quantum mechanics textbook might say that a uranium atom has a certain probability of radioactive decay in the next hour. And maybe that is all that can be said with the info available. But nowhere will it say that it is impossible to make a better prediction, if the state of the atom could be more precisely determined. As a practical matter, it is hopeless to get the wavefunctions of all the quarks in a uranium nucleus, but the point remains that better info might give a better prediction.
In my opinion, attributing all the decisions in the world to a Spinoza God is contrary to common sense and experience, and does not really solve anything. It is like a turtle argument that atheists like to mock. In fact, I worry about the mental health of anyone who believes that, as it is similar to schizophrenics who say that they are obeying voices in their heads.