I have a new post at Talking Philosophy on the subject of free will.
This follows from a post by Jerry Coyne, which follows up Jerry's more detailed piece in USA Today.
Since writing my Talking Philosophy piece, I have seen (and briefly commented on) a response to Jerry by Jean Kazez. The latter is interesting, in part because it seems to me to make the same mistake that Jerry is making. I.e. it runs together two distinguishable issues: first, have we been shaped by our pasts (including, but not limited to, genetic potential and early upbringing) to have certain desires, beliefs, etc., with the result that we will, in fact, act in certain ways in certain circumstances?
Second, when we act do we thereby, at least sometimes, produce the results that we want? The answers to both questions appear to be, with some qualifications, "Yes." It's not a matter that if the answer to one question is "Yes" the answer to the other must be "No." A positive answer to the first does not entail a negative answer to the second.
I guess it's up to you - or maybe it's fated for you - which of these questions bugs you the most.