Choice - fact or illusion

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Ready Aim Fire, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    How can we say we truly have a choice in anything that happens. If you believe in choice, at what point did you get it? Conception? When severed at the umbillical cord? When you first realized you exist?

    Would anyone choose to be deaf, dumb and blind... to have 2 heads... to be insane... to live in total desolation... to be tortured to death?
    Do you have a choice in whether or not you believe in choice?
    How could one possibly scientifically prove that choice exists and is measurable?
     
  2. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    I agree, most choices aren't actually as free as we like to see them. Does anyone have any, even a single example, of what arguably can be called free will or free choice?
     
  3. taikoo

    taikoo Banned

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    The one you hear around here that gets me is the "choose to believe / disbelieve"!
     
  4. Micketto

    Micketto New Member Past Donor

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    Obviously, as an infant we don't have the choice of where we are lying when our diapers are changed, but we have a choice as to whether we smile afterward or not. Of course there are limits to choice, and they are dynamic.

    Despite the many limits, choice begins in the womb. Babies move, suck thumbs, etc...

    I have the choice to hit "post quick reply", or not.

    I choose to hit it ;)
     
  5. Prof_Sarcastic

    Prof_Sarcastic New Member

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    To me, words and phrases like "choice" and "free will" refer simply to the ability of a person to select one of multiple options. The fact that our selection is influenced by our nature and experience is unaviodable and therefore rather moot, in my view.
     
  6. Alien Traveler

    Alien Traveler New Member

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    Choice or reflexes?
     
  7. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    Yeah, but can it be a scientific fact? How do we know everything is not predetermined?
     
  8. Micketto

    Micketto New Member Past Donor

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    Good point. I guess I can't prove either way. I wonder if there have been studies on that.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I see. You're going a bit deeper than I realized.

    I guess I don't have an answer for that.

    Without knowing where you fall as far as your faith or belief system... would "predetermined" fall on the God side or No God side ?
     
  9. robini123

    robini123 Well-Known Member

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    The free will or lack thereof argument is interesting. I would say that I was to young to remember my first choice but it was probably something like being handed a choo choo train and pushing it away while pointing at my Raggedy Andy. Now the there is no free will crowd will say I was genetically predisposed to make that choice... which has its merit.

    An interesting theological lack of free will question is; if you believe there is a God, why would He make some of us genetically predetermined to reject Him thus condemning some to hell?

    My mother to this day blames her mom and dad for her shortcomings. I always find that sad as IMO its blame shifting. She was not abused but was raised in a strict Christian household. Now I on the other hand did face minor abuse and was raised by two emotionally constipated parents who had no concept of how to show love. Do I blame my mommy and daddy for my shortcomings? Hell no!!! Do I blame my genetics saying it was all predetermined and I had no choice as it could have not been any other way? Again... hell no! Did I learn how to be a better parent to my child because of their failures a parents? Yup!

    My hats off to the lack of choice genetically predetermined crowd as you make a compelling argument... but I disagree with the premise as a whole. We all make choices... and to argue over free will or the lack thereof is intellectually stimulating but largely irrelevant. Perhaps it was predetermined for me to say this... perhaps I am using my free will... does it really matter what each individual chooses to believe? Not to me.
     
  10. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    God or No God... Hmmm... I don't think I have a choice but to say that I believe that you believe God is SomeTHING that you can comprehend and communicate to another person. I would say that the "God THING" would need a God NOTHING to expand INTO in order to remain infinite.
    What I see all around me is Good and Bad things. I guess I could list the pros and cons and my guess is that it's a pretty close race. But sometimes things seem better or worse than other times.
     
  11. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    Some people don't believe in Hell Proper - but I'll bet you can imagine some hell on earth... war, divorce, insanity, poverty, disability, disease, and the list goes on...
    So maybe we could give all the CREDIT to mom and dad for your young'un having a decent life... but the shows not over till...TFLS...
    Since I think God is within and without I should take as much credit and blame as God because I can't do anything else. I have no choice. I'm wired this way.
     
  12. Vicariously I

    Vicariously I Well-Known Member

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    It actually matters a great deal. For you to say that how your parents raised you only affected you in a positive way or that you had the choice to make it into a positive is simply a belief, the reality is entirely different. The teenage girl standing on a corner about to sell her body to some disgusting guy could just as easily say that her addict mother and sexually abusive father are not to blame for her shortcomings and though this scenario seems a bit more obvious than yours it really isn’t because the factors involved are numerous and go far beyond what one thinks of their parents.

    Your parent’s reaction to their parents determined in part how your parents would raise you which in turn affected the way you reacted to them and determined in part what kind of parent you would be. You had no more choice over how your parents were raised than you do in how you see your parents.

    The reason the free will debate matters is because it gets at the heart of the morality debate. We know that many psychopaths who torture and murder people start at an early age with insects, rodents and small animals. In fact we have learned that there are several types of behaviors that psychopaths share throughout their lives. Now imagine that a few years from now we discover a chemical imbalance in the brain than can be detected at a very young age and corrected, say with a pill or a shot. Now say that a child gets missed for one reason or another even though tests were performed and he was supposed to get the cure, perhaps for religious reasons his parents refused and this kid grows up, kidnaps and brutally murders some woman. Would it be moral or immoral to cure this man after he committed the crime? We know (in this scenario) that he suffers from a chemical imbalance that he has no control over. We know that his parents didn't give him the cure as a child for one reason or another. Is this man a victim? Is he responsible for his actions? Are you? Everything happening in your brain is biological, there is no extra part of you. Even if you believe in a soul, who chooses to have the soul of a psychopath?

    Your shortcomings are every bit created and obtained in the same way as everything else that makes you-you. The only way the human race will get to place where violence and crime are down, where people don't often suffer from learning disabilities, where physical disabilities and mental disabilities are far and few between is if we understand our nature. For the longest time it was all demons and angels vying for the free will of man. How many people have been shamed, outcast, shunned, abused, arrested, tortured and killed because of our ignorance of the human condition? It breaks my heart every time I think about what humans used to do to the mentally disabled. Just because ones short comings are not the product of a defect it doesn’t equate to them being a choice.

    We are all children now standing as adults hoping those we clung to knew what they were doing but they were children to. Everything we perceive is a product of our understanding and proclaiming that something is true simply because it feels like it might be is a pretty poor contribution to our perception. We owe it to ourselves and to the future children of the world to roll up our sleeves, swallow our pride and selfish desires and turn the massive amounts of scientific data and knowledge into wisdom that could change everything in ways we can hardly imagine.
     
  13. robini123

    robini123 Well-Known Member

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    I find it interesting that you point out my belief then present your own belief in the guise of a reality. You have any proof to back up your reality, or are you just like me... a person with an opinion?

    I agree that genetics play a huge part in the pathology of a serial killer. But I disagree with those who go beyond that to say that each person the killer kills was predeterminer at birth and he had no choice but kill the specific people that he did. Or to say that some victim of opportunity was genetically predetermined to die on a certain date at a certain place and at a specific time. Genetics obviously play a huge part in who we are... but IMO this does not equate to I have no choice and all is predetermined.

    I agree, but does this apply to your view of free will or the lack there of... or are your views exempt? If everything we perceive is a product of our understanding then what makes your understanding any more or less valid than my own?
     
  14. Micketto

    Micketto New Member Past Donor

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    Correct.

    But I was just wondering, if you leave open the possibility of predetermination..... who determined it?
     
  15. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    Firstly, I don't believe my answer will be anywhere close to adequate. I don't believe the THING you believe to be God is necessarily comprehendable or just a thing. I believe God is a thing and nothing and everything inbetween... like forces of nature. So Who/What/When/Where/Why and How determined it. This is the closest I can come to describing my God. Sounds like more questions than answers doesn't it?
     
  16. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    I think that anything you can't explain is probably moot... until someone convinces you otherwise. Sure nature and experience is our "evolution" and unavoidable but really, can't you accuse ANYTHING of being moot if you really think about it?
     
  17. Prof_Sarcastic

    Prof_Sarcastic New Member

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    Then let me put it another way. Regardless of how strongly our selections are influenced by our nature and/or our experiences, the selection is still implemented via our brains, and we might as well have a word or phrase for that process. I think "choice" or "free will" fit the bill.
     
  18. YouLie

    YouLie Well-Known Member

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    Take God out of the question of free will and no one would object to the concept. It's because free will is a Christian precept that atheists feel compelled to trivialize it. It seems pretty stupid to me. But Determinism is weird.
     
  19. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    Yup! Gotta' have some serpent that extends understanding. We have a choice (so believable) , and I believe that choice and predetermination can coexist. I also think life can coexist with death. Death BTW is not by choice... most of the time.
     
  20. taikoo

    taikoo Banned

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    I named my cat "Moot" when I was a kid. It was a pa;e grey cat with yellow eyes.
    I think that shows that nearly anything can be moot, but maybe not.
     
  21. Ready Aim Fire

    Ready Aim Fire New Member

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    Why take God out of the equation. But I can play the part of the atheist.
     
  22. emilynghiem

    emilynghiem Active Member Past Donor

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    of course both choice is relative and perception of choice.
    since we cannot choose to break the laws of nature or physics, like turning people into butterflies, etc.
    (I believe we have free will WITHIN a certain script, like laws of karma already moving toward resolution;
    and the purpose of our conscience is to reconcile our free will mentally with the physical reality of options happening in life)

    what we may be able to prove by math statistics
    is the "correlation" between perception of equal choice (vs other people having more power control or influence)
    and the levels of fear, unforgiveness of past conflicts, or other
    factors in scarcity mentality vs. abundance mentality within the mind of the perceiver.

    we could show perception is relative and correlates with certain factors in a pattern.
    and if so, we could also show the process of changes in this pattern over time,
    such as if forgiveness, resolution or healing of past conflicts increases one's perception of choice or control.

     
  23. dairyair

    dairyair Well-Known Member

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    So after your diaper is changed you have the choice to smile or not? If you're hungry, have an ear infection, and diaper rash, and you get your diaper changed, you then have the choice to smile or not. I'm guessing with those 3 problems, you'd be doing anything but smiling. You'd be crying and it wouldn't be because you chose to.
     
  24. dairyair

    dairyair Well-Known Member

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    How is it trivialize? Does God know everything or not? Can anyone change their choice from what God already knows?
     
  25. DentalFloss

    DentalFloss Well-Known Member

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    Free will. I could go knock on my neighbor's door. But I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to bed.
     

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