Things matter, or nothing matters.
I choose to suppose that things matter. That supposition leads me to believe God is. (Either God is, or God is not. That is about the same statement. Further, there is a reason, or there is no reason. Again, pretty much the same statement, and I just don’t think it is reasonable to assert there is no reason.)
Now, if any of these words mean anything, then I find that it follows that I freely choose. I can change my mind, but I am determined to find truth as I may and adhere to facts and reality as well as I can perceive.
I chose to write just now. It is not a mechanistic, chance confluence of quantum effects at the subatomic level with electromagnetic and chemical effects at the atomic level. I happen to be more than a machine.
There are issues we may need to address if we manage to create machines that can rationally choose as well, but that is not yet and a subject-heading for another day.
Dr. David Bentley Hart penned a retelling of a conversation he had with his dog. He wrote at First Things, http://www.firstthings.com/article/2015/02/roland-on-free-will. (First Things is an excellent source of insights on many subjects.)
Dr. Hart supposes the event was a dream, but Roland is obviously one smart pooch.
Roland says, “…and the rational freedom of the spirit, which is always striving to subdue the brute. Oh, what’s that lovely line from Yeats about the soul? ‘Fastened to a dying animal?’ Anyway, there’s something truly free there, something that isn’t the creature of an unhappy childhood or a frustrated hunger—it’s spirit, nous, Geist—something that can convert the countervailing tempests of physiological urges into the elations of reason set free. Well . . . this is something dogs understand very well.””
Excellent observation. Likewise, “Every aspiring young materialist dreams of growing up to be a robot.” Which is so simple minded, even silly. Yet, it seems so true of so many.
The saddest part of reductionist materialism is the ultimate hopelessness. It really does suppose there is nothing real, that there will be absolutely nothing in the long run.
The bottom line for me is that it is all real, and I really do have freedom, and I really am responsible for myself.