“If free will doesn’t exist, does that ruin/render void the EA endeavor?”
Well, what does it matter if free will exists? Even if free will doesn’t exist, my life circumstances have led to me becoming invested in improving the world by engaging in altruism. My brain’s reward circuitry is still aligned with doing the most good that I can do for as long as I am able. I think for most of us who identify as altruists, the tendency to help those who need help is not tied to the idea of free will. I suppose that there are people who would take the absence of free will to be a pass to stray from altruism, but I doubt you’ll find them in the EA community.
Personally, losing my belief in free will has had a big, big difference in how I see the world. Because I believe free will doesn’t exist, I cease to judge those who are on the bottom rungs of our society. I have a deeper compassion for people who have addictions, who have committed crimes, who are not the easiest to care about. I have more patience with those who have differing opinions, even with flat-earthers and religious fundamentalists.
Shedding my belief in free will also helped me be kinder to myself. I am more patient whenever I face challenges arising from my shortcomings. I forgive myself for my failures and try to be humble even in my triumphs. My prime motivation to make the world a better place is no longer guilt but rather a genuine pleasure in spreading kindness.
In so many different ways, not believing in free will has made me a better altruist and a kinder friend to myself. I hope questioning free will does the same to you!