In his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B.F. Skinner argues that free will and morality do not exist. He sees all human behavior as the product of inherited biology plus environmental influences. Oddly enough, he is optimistic about the resultant opportunity for a technocratic elite to engineer human society for optimal functioning. Skinner seems blind to the fact that the technocratic elite would also be operating strictly according to their biological nature and environmental nurture (a nurture bereft of moral underpinnings).
As I read his book, years ago, I was constantly struck by the thought that following his logic, he was thoroughly compelled to write out his argument, and I would be thoroughly compelled to agree or disagree with him. By his view, it would seem that the book was a completely pointless exercise. Any attempt to adopt his ideas would just be part of the ongoing deterministic dance of whatever it is that we call matter and energy.
I knew that Skinner was married and had a daughter. What a grim, dark world were he to truly believe that all the affections between them were simply part of that same deterministic dance. Any choice to live out love for one another would be an illusion. In addition, his idea that morals were also illusory put to rest any idea that loving one another would be good versus evil.
Beyond Freedom and Dignity was no obscure academic tome. When published in 1971, it made the New York Times best seller list for 18 weeks! Skinner was a renowned behavioral psychologist and social philosopher. I truly hope that he did not believe what he espoused. A thorough acceptance of his ideas amounts to an early entrance program for hell. Love is a choice, and it is good. Without free will or morality, love cannot exist.
Skinner was likely a very intelligent fellow. Nonetheless, he was a fool.