Does Free Will exist?
Free Will doesn’t exist and does exist at the same time because it is a definition of a thing we don’t really have words for yet. Let me go all tangential for a moment and come back.
How do you know when I see something green and you see the same thing that we aren’t looking at different colors? If you’ve been told your whole life that red is green because that’s the color you see when you see things that the world calls green then how do you know the difference? And does it make a difference at a traffic light? Of course not because you are looking for the color that you associate with the label that you associate with stopping or going.
People’s view of the world is always colored (can I get away with that) by a wide variety of assumptions and rationalisations similar to this one which make no difference to the outcome of their actions. To take it to the next step people might think the sun rises every morning because they pray that it does. It would be such a terribly risky thing to not pray for the sun to rise that nobody would test the alternative. And if by some chance they missed their praying slot because they had been locked in a bunker by a crazed no-free-will proving person they would rationalise the situation by saying that their god had made the sun rise anyway to torture their captor.
So back to free will. You may think that you are responsible for your actions and that you control your own destiny but how do you know that? What is your outside proof? How can you prove that the color you see is the same color others see? The feeling you have that you are controlling your own actions is a biased piece of information as it comes from the place that you are trying to test. This means any attempt in yourself to prove that free-will exists is a flawed scientific experiment because you are attempting to decide if you are right by asking yourself. And you can’t ask anyone else either because you set up the same problem (you are asking them to decide if they have free will).
Essentially the problem is that you can’t really prove that Free Will exists. And therefore for all scientific purposes it must therefore not exist. But the assumption ingrained in people is that what we are perceiving is free will is so strong that free will is how the world operates and I will be punished if I do something wrong.
And this brings me back to my original point which is that Free Will as a concept is useless scientifically because it cannot be proved, and is useless to society because it cannot be disproved. So asking “is their free will” is a nonsense question similar to asking “is green green”? The answer is always simultaneously yes, no and it depends.