Free Will Prize
Free will seems like something of a contentious topic. I firmly believe that we can’t tell either way if we have it or not, but I think that most people disagree with me, some to both extremes.
So I’ve decided to hold a contest. If you can prove conclusively, through any means, that free will either exists or is an illusion, then I will send you:
- A box of cookies, your choice.
- A Trophy, engraved with your name and a description of your feat.
- A Medal, also engraved with your name and feat. It will be on a big sash so you can wear it around and impress people.
No, I’m not joking. I specifically made the prizes fun and desirable while still being within my means so that, if it is won, I can award it (unlike Creationist prizes for “proving” evolution). The criteria for proving it is that if I think the submission is convincing, I will repost it here and solicit feedback from my readers. If they also find it convincing, then you will win the prize. I will be as unbiased as I possibly can be, and I don’t care what kind of evidence you use (philosophical reasoning, experimental proof, quantum theory, etc), but I need to be able to understand it, so no super-complex math or jargon.
However, as I’ve stated before (and is distilled here in comic form) I’m fairly confident that free will cannot be conclusively proved or disproved at this time, so I doubt anyone will be able to claim this prize.
So give it the best you’ve got. And if you know a philosopher or neuroscientist or quantum physicist who has strong feelings about this subject, show them this page. I want to give this prize away, and all you have to do is solve a millennia-old philosophical conundrum. Not only could you win cookies, a trophy, and a medal, but the respect of your peers and you’ll go down in history as the best philosopher of all time.