Here’s the problem: We are letting this be too simple.
First, this discussion is conflating two issues: Destiny and Free Will.
The concept of destiny is not only “I had no choice” but it INCLUDES “There was only ever one choice”.
These are separate claims. Does Harris not mention this in his book?
Once you realize these are separate claims two things become apparent 1) you may have not had a choice (lack of free will)... but having the chance all over again (or someone else in the exact biocultural circumstance as you, or your exact biobehavioral clone) may have made a different choice. I wonder if this is part of what Feather is talking about when he mentions statistical probability. If it is then im down with that part of his contention, because within any given neural architecture there are more possible combinations for firings than there are atoms in the known universe. That is… variability should be high and permits an element of “surprise” in what notions trigger what responses.
Meditate deeply and watch the way your consciousness bounces around strangely associating nearly random memories with sights or sounds… understand that you are much more complicated than your conscious narrative.
There are quite a few evolutionary neurologists that hold the theory that human intelligence is largely borne from creativity at the cost of raw processing power (watch a chimp navigate memorized number chains only visible for parts of a second, outpreforming humans by 5x over). That creativity could very well come from a special type of “insanity” in the human brain that permits linking between thoughts and memories that are more remote than other creatures are capable of. Our propensity for language acts as a power check on creativity though, bearing our social norms down on our insanities - ensuring that only those crazy notions that are somehow useful pass muster.
At any given point of instinctive response or intuition or “choice making” there could have been MANY other outcomes. To deny this requires the claim that LITERALLY nothing in the universe has variability or uncertainty and that randomness does not exist.
Keep in mind (pun intended) that your brain evolved specifically to abhor randomness nearly as strongly as it abhors a vacuum of meaning - it will do nearly anything it needs to, to ensure you feel there is order in the universe even if that means neutering your own free will. In the end that free-will could just be the error in your ability to translate, mimic, or replicate learned information or the uncertainty that engages certain particularly pluripotent neuronal networks determining a difficult choice.
Despite that I am critical of our popular notion of free will… perhaps we are hasty in disposing of it so readily. Think really hard about the last terribly difficult decision you made. The stakes were high, the options diverse, and each was nearly equal in potential benefit or lack of harm…. your stress levels were elevated… right? Why? IF there is truly a Destiny OR a complete lack of free-will,... then to what advantage do lineages generate such stress systems, evolutionarily? To what advantage is a problem solving neocortex in the first place if outcomes are predetermined? We might be oversimplifying much in our denial of free will afterall.