Good grief! Is it possible that determinism is a correct viewpoint? Is it possible that there is no free will?
Perspectives, vantage points of viewing things, can change one’s opinion. The question I found troubling is: How can you make a decision that is not derived from those components which make you, you? How can there be a decision which is not in line with your mental and physical makeup? If such a decision could be made that is not made in accordance with what you are, then how could it be your decision? How could you be held responsible for its results?
This does not mean that the actions of individuals are ultimately predictable. There would be too many parameters for that. Just as the weather reports are useless beyond a day or two, due to the many factors that are involved, so too, the actions of the individual are only superficially predictable.
Free will cannot exist then, I grant. Our decisions and actions are based on what we are. Actions and decisions which were not originated from what we are would relieve us from responsibility. Since our actions and decisions are based on our past and present state then our responsibility is assured.
Even so we must live our lives as if we have a choice. Though the choices may already be made for us because of what we are, we cannot throw up our hands and abandon making those choices. Even the event of changing the course of your life would not be possible unless that quality already existed within your mind. This explains the stubborn who never change; they never possessed the capacity to do so. Keeping an open mind becomes all the more important then, so pliability remains intact so as to accommodate new ideas. Why would all this be so? Evolution is all about continuity. Though you might retain the quality of adaptability, remaining true to yourself and those around you has many evolutionary advantages.
This is, I think, the difference between life and inanimate matter. Whereas both are locked into a determinist direction, life can adapt. Life has survival potential. If life could not adapt we would not be here now. Though adaptation may be an unconscious thing resulting from natural selection, the quality only exists in the diversity and malleability of life. Though the bonds of determinism may be tight, they are not as tight for life, as a whole.
If life was totally tied to its beginnings in a deterministic fashion then we would be condemned just like the bacteria in a petri dish to eventually perish in our own poisons.