“I have noticed that even those who assert that everything is predestined and that we can change nothing about it still look both ways before they cross the street”
― Stephen Hawking
I wish to challenge this quote. Why could it not be predetermined that we would look both ways before crossing the street? Are we supposed to choose not to look both ways before crossing? We don’t have such a power in a deterministic universe. If a car was predetermined to come flying down the road, then the individual who was predetermined to look both ways is very fortunate.
If everything is predetermined, then everything is just a reaction. We determinists still have impulses we are helpless to control. Whether I look both ways or not, my course of action is dictated by my mental state at the moment. You can’t choose to remember to look both ways. You also don’t choose how your mind will react to realizing everything is predetermined.
Hawking’s quote is a thought provoking one, and it opens the door to many interesting conversations, but it doesn’t address the problems of free will. If I am predisposed to look both ways before crossing the street, I will, regardless of whether I am a determinist or not.