This is an old arguement I have had over and over in my head over many years.
Everything in the universe is based off of physical and chemical reactions. And everything is based off of cause and effect. If there is nothing truely random in the universe, then everything we do is caused not by our free will, but by a series of events. If you could create a computer with a data base of every particle in the universe and it's basic information, such as what it's bonded to, what it's engery level and type is, and what it's vector is, you could work back and discover the origins of the universe, or go forward and see the future.
But, if there is true randomness (not orderly functions that seem random because we don't understand them yet), then there is free will.
Now this brings in a theological/sci-fi question, if there is no free will, was the universe engineered? If it was, to what end? This is not a new concept. All the religions claiming some deity made the universe. Or mice having te earth made in Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. Or the Matrix. The idea of the universe being built has been with us since the dawn of man, it would seem.
I think the reasons for this are both to provide comfort. It's easier to blame cruel horrible things on a god. And there are infinite things out in the universe, doing infinite things, for an infinite amount of time. In my view of the world, I know I've expounded on this before but bear with me, "god" is a personification of infinity. There is an infinite universe with infinite possibilities. With all those possibities, it is probably there would be life in various forms. It would be probably that seemingly random mircle/disastered would occur. Is this the will of a conscious deity? No. Just that the anything end everything will happen at least once, somewhere in the universe.
Does this mean stuff will just randomly happen? In our minds, yes. But infact one of the laws the universe is subject to is cause and effect. If you know where and how to look, anything and everything can be explained.
Anyway... I'm babbling on no about shit no one wants to read. I'll save it for later.
Basicly, the question is, "is there free will?" If not, would we know of even care? And if people knew there was free will, would that disolve all responsability for ones actions? I would hope not, as that would destroy civilization.