Advance of Science Fallacy
The Advance of Science Fallacy is the idea that because science, and especially neuroscience, is discovering more and more contributing causes of actions that we thought were the result of free decisions, that eventually all our decisions will be found to be the consequence of causes not in our control. It is somewhat related to the Rational Fallacy, that free decisions must be rational decisions. For many philosophers, reason is the distinguishing characteristic of humanity. For theologians, reason is a gift of God along with the gift of free will. Ever since the materialists and determinists Democritus and Leucippus, everything happens for a reason. Leucippus said,
"Nothing occurs at random, but everything for a reason and by necessity."The Advance of Science Fallacy is the argument that science will eventually discover all the reasons. They will be found to be causes resulting from the laws of nature and the fixed past. For naturalist philosophers, humans are animals, biological organisms with many distinguishing features from those we label mere animals, but the distinguishing features are not easily identified as reason and free will. Information philosophers see the distinguishing features of humans in their incredible capacities for information creation, management including storage and retrieval, and communication to others. All animals are information processing systems, but humans have externalized vast amounts of actionable information as "knowledge" and "culture." The distinguishing feature of living things that set them apart from inanimate physical objects (excluding some human artifacts like computers) is their information content, ready to provide them with a memory of the past that can be used to shape their future. Because animals create new information that was not present in earlier times, and because the creation of new information involves irreducible quantum randomness, science is very unlikely to ever be able to explain all the contributing causes of human decisions. The Advance of Science Fallacy somewhat resembles the Determination Fallacy, that just because some of our decisions are determined by our deliberations it must mean that strict causal determinism is true. Another mistaken idea is that our decisions must be moral and our actions good in order to be free. This is the another fallacy that we call the Ethical Fallacy.