The conscious mind that believes in its power to choose also must believe that it can exert some control over the automatic purposes of its unconscious mind. No doubt, conscious mind has its own automatic purposes, which likewise are subject to veto or modification via free will. Such minds believe they can train and discipline their minds, bending them to freely willed purposes. Such minds say to themselves, “I can quit smoking.” “I can make myself learn how to be an engineer.” I will make this marriage work.” “I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” And so on.
Now it is true that all of us commonly surrender our decision-making autonomy to our baser instincts and compulsions. Much of our behavior is unthinking, knee-jerk responsiveness. Our capacity for free will is limited to our willingness to claim and exert it.
People who believe that humans have no free will are hard-pressed to explain why no one is responsible for their choices and actions. What is it that compels foolish or deviant behavior? Are we compelled to believe in God or to be an atheist? What compels us to accept one moral code over any other? Are we compelled to become a certain kind of person, with no option to “improve” in any self-determined way? Are we compelled in our choices of learning experiences? If so, what or who does the compelling? Are we inevitable victims of genetics and experience or even a robotic unconscious mind?