HA: How come you think I defend any "non-illusory human capacity to make choices"? I am just wondering why the illusion seems so hard to get rid of. Did I fail so miserably at making my point clear?
If your mind contains the causal model that has "Determinism" as the cause of both the "Past" and the "Future", then you will start saying things like, "But it was determined before the dawn of time that the water would spill - so not dropping the glass would have made no difference".
Nobody could be that screwed up! Not dropping the glass would have been no option. =)
About all that free-will stuff: The whole "free will" hypothesis may be so deeply rooted in our heads because the explanatory framework of identifying agents with beliefs about the world, objectives, and the "will" to change the world according to these beliefs and objectives just works so remarkably well. Much like Newtons theory of gravity: In terms of the ratio of predictive_accuracy_in_standard_situations to operational_complexity Newton's gravity kicks donkey. So does the Free Will (TM). But that don't mean it's true.
steven: To much D&D? I prefer chaotic neutral... Hail Eris! All hail Discordia! =)
[Eliezer says:] And if you're planning to play the lottery, don't think you might win this time. A vanishingly small fraction of you wins, every time.
I think this is, strictly speaking, not true. A more extreme example: While recently talking with a friend, he asserted that "In one of the future worlds, I might jump up in a minute and run out onto the street, screaming loudly!". I said: "Yes, maybe, but only if you are already strongly predisposed to do so. MWI means that every possible future exists, not every arbitrary imaginable future.". Although your assertion in the case about lottery is much weaker, I don't believe it's strictly true.
HA, I do. It is a concept I suspect we are genetically biased to hold, an outgrowth of the distinction between subject (has a will) and object (has none). Why are be biased to do so? Because, largely, it works very well as a pattern for explanations about the world. We are built to explain the world using stories, and these stories need actors. Even when you are convinced that choice does not exist, you'll still be bound to make use of that concept, if only for practical reasons. The best you can do is try to separate the "free" from the "choice" in an attempt to avoid the flawed connotation. But we have trouble conceptualising choice if it's not free; because then, how could it be a choice? All that said, I seem to remember someone saying something like: "Having established that there is no such thing as a free will, the practical thing to do is to go on and pretend there was.".