The beauty of determinism is hidden in the tragedy and injustice of freewill.
I don’t believe in freewill (but I do believe it is one word). More importantly than that, I don’t see ‘no freewill’ (“determinism”) as a miserable or stale thing. The implicit assumption (and explicit in the full question asked: “God gave us free will and that is beautiful. What is beautiful about determinism, or compatibilism? How will you present your case in a favorable light? Even if free will is illusory, it is still more beautiful, and thus more comforting. Why take that from people?”) is that without freewill life is somehow stagnant.
I disagree. Once you are on a rollercoaster, it is exciting. That is true even though you have no say in the direction or speed. The thing you enjoy is the experience, and lacking that choice diminishes no experience. And no matter how much foresight you think you have on a rollercoaster, you’re not deciding. The idea that determinism stagnates a life that is otherwise identical doesn’t make sense to me; the experience, surely, is the point. And no one has explicitly argued the opposite.
“All the world’s a stage” scripted by physics and at no point will that diminish the drama of the show.
More poignant still is the problem of freewill. I have no intention of dwelling on the issue of believing something there isn’t good evidence for, however I’m going to make a small aside on the issue: all the evidence we have gathered so far suggests a very strong relationship between the material brain and the immaterial mind. If that is so (which evidence suggests it is) then it suggests a “mind” that is as mechanistic as the brain, and the brain is a material organ. Belief in freewill, then, is faith as I (inspired by Dr. Boghossian) like to define it: pretending to know things you don’t know. And that’s simply not reliable.
Freewill does not breed compassion, and that is its tragedy. Knowing why it does not breed compassion starts to allude to the beauty of determinism. Assuming freewill is assuming that a person could have done differently to what they did. When a person wrongs you, the belief in freewill makes you thirst for revenge and encourages a justice system that is very much reactive and retributive. You feel the other person is responsible for the experience you now have of injustice and hurt. The very assumption that the perpetrator could have done otherwise encourages you to have a knee jerk reaction and to cut off from compassion. The belief that any given person from any given background can still choose to have a reliable strong moral compass fosters contempt for the criminals and lethargy with resolving social issues.
Understanding that something about the neurological weather pattern in the person’s head makes them do what they do breeds compassion, a supportive justice system and even the want to foster a society that encourages people to be good. Understanding a person is at the whims of their neurology permits you to see what you really want to do: help or protect others’ experiences. That is true compassion.
A serial killer is a person possesses a serial killer’s brain and impulses. It may seem immediately satisfying to want to serve out capital punishment to that serial killer, but that’s not compassionate. In an ideal world I would hope we’d all agree that if we could reliably rehabilitate them, we should. The psychological and psychiatric knowledge for such a thing may not exist now, but if it ever did I hope we’d agree that really is the ideal solution. That’s not an option if we think a person freely made the decisions to be serial killer, because we will hate them and not want to help them. But if we realise it is an issue of neurology, we can want to help them.
Freewill is harmful to justice: if you believe in it you feel contempt for a person who behaves badly, call for justice to punish them for its sake and ignore the societal ills that encourage the behaviour. Determinism supports justice: if you accept it, there is value in helping those who do you wrong and curing the social issues that incubate social problems. The truly compassionate must be determinists.