Do You Believe in Choice?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Huntn, May 10, 2014.

?

How Much Choice Do We Have?

Poll closed Nov 6, 2014.
  1. A philosophical statement: I have Total Choice in my life.

    8 vote(s)
    24.2%
  2. Mostly Choice (Random): Intellectual choices within presented options.

    10 vote(s)
    30.3%
  3. Limited Choice (Random): Limited choice, based on presented options and predisposition.

    9 vote(s)
    27.3%
  4. Limited Choice (Part of a Plan): Limited choice, based on presented options and predisposition.

    1 vote(s)
    3.0%
  5. Puppet on a String (Part of a Plan): We have very little, if any choice.

    2 vote(s)
    6.1%
  6. No clue.

    3 vote(s)
    9.1%
  1. Huntn, May 10, 2014
    Last edited: May 11, 2014

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    This is not a Pro-Choice, Pro-Life thread.

    Note: Reference to "Plan" in poll concerns an external plan that individuals are guided to by external unknown forces. Some may view this as God's guidance.

    Do you believe we choose- complete choice, limited, or no choice?
    Possibly an ambitious thread, presented for discussion. ;) I brought this up in another thread, and thought a dedicated discussion could be interesting. While I’d like to keep this thread from becoming politicized as much as possible, I understand that a discussion of laws and law enforcement will inevitably be part of the discussion.

    When I was young I was convinced that I’ve made a series of choices, all based on free will. We choose to be good or bad, work hard or be a slacker, be moral or be immoral by whatever standard is used. But as I’ve grown older, I’m now questioning our abilities or at least our complete ability to choose.

    Recently I was listening to PBS and they interviewed a famous Opera singer, a woman, who as I understand it, grew up poor in the U.S. South, was exposed to music as a child, fell in love with Opera and eventually became a famous Opera Singer. Unfortunately I did not catch her name.

    Was this 1) her choice in a completely randomized event, 2) her acting upon who she was or what she was destined to be, triggered by this random event, or 3) for lack of a better term, this reveals a divine plan, her predisposition and the opportunity guided her to a preordained vocation. I regard #3 as impossible to verify.

    Some Examples of Choice

    1. You are lost in the woods, following a trail trying to find your way back home. You come to a fork in the trail and can veer to the left or the right.

    Basic choice.

    2. Sally’s Mom offers her peas, carrots, and/or green beans for dinner along with the meat and potatoes. Sally hates peas and green beans so she “chooses” carrots.

    Was this a choice? I don't think so. Would you choose to eat something that tastes bad? She went with her viable option.

    3. But Marry knows her Mom really wants her to eat green beans, so to please her Mother, she agrees to eat them even though she does not like them. Choice or predisposition?

    4. Attending college, it’s time Bill declare a major, but he can’t figure out what to do with his life, so declares no major.

    I say not a choice, but acting on who he was at that moment in time.

    5. Biff is a slacker, who never had the money for college, could go get a job, and work in a boring environment, earning money to support himself, but instead he continues his slacker ways, no job, mooching off friends, robbing people on the street, and going to jail.

    Was this his choice, or who he was? More importantly, why would he choose a life style that will end him up in jail instead of putting out some effort to provide the necessities of life? (This example is not presented as a rationale that poor people are slackers and don’t work hard. I imagine some do and some don’t. )

    6. Bill is attracted to vocational type jobs like auto mechanic, electrician, and carpenter. He can't make up his mind, so he flips a coin. Choice, but would it be a choice for him to choose between a vocation and something like being an accountant?

    7. Little Jimmy wants to be a doctor, ever since he was 6 playing the board game “Operation”. Was this his choice? Obviously he is not going to choose a profession that does not attract him. Does he have the free will to pick a profession that does not attract him? Why would he do that?

    8. Jeffery Dahmer, did he choose to kill people or is this who he was?

    I’d argue that something in Dahmer’s personality drove him to it, I don’t claim to know what it is, but do believe that having fun killing people, reflects some form of mental illness. Logically people understand consequences of their actions, but jail and/or execution does not deter them.

    9. A robber takes a woman hostage, gets cornered by law enforcement and holds a gun to her head threatening to kill her. He is talked into surrendering. After considering his options he surrenders. Was this his choice? I'll acknowledge that if his emotions get the better of him, that our brains are composed of multiple switches that are flipped by external influences, but are those choices or just reactions?

    Any critiques welcome. :)
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    Needs work. ;)
     
  3. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #3
    That's kind of general. :p
     
  4. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #4
    Choice? LOL

    Almost no one really believes in choice. Not all that deep down the majority of people want a dictatorship or a king where they can inflict harm, up to death, on people who don't support their world view with absolute impudence.
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    Hence religion.
     
  6. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #6
    I do not want to be argumentative but a persons choices are very seriously influenced by the following factors.

    Which gender they are. Females just have it harder.

    Where they were born. There is a absolute chasm between the 1st World and 3rd World

    When they were born. If you have the misfortune to be born in a time if crisis your choices are limited

    Into which social strata they were born. The rich just have it easier everywhere on the planet.
     
  7. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68020

    ugahairydawgs

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    #7
    Religion is the complete opposite of what you make it out to be. God and Jesus have laid out the "rules" for us believers here on Earth, but it isn't hard-wired into us completely. We are given sovereignty from it all and it is up to us to choose to follow.

    He didn't make us mindless robots. He gave us free will to either follow Him or reject Him.
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #8
    I like that you snuck in a Back to the Future reference.
     
  9. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #9
    That is not argumentative at all but could be categorized as pre-disposition or available options.

    Skunk is saying that the men who created religion did so because they wanted a supreme being to tell them what to do, what is right and wrong. That is not choice, although with this scenario you could choose to follow or disobey, but the big choices have all ready been made for you, including morality.

    Thanks. :)
     
  10. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #10
    They have restricted themselves to a lesser choice, letting someone else make the big choices, but in some cases they have no choice when power is seized. Point taken. :)
     
  11. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #11
    Life is full of choices. Participating in this thread is a choice. In order to be able to do it you have to be a member. And to be a MacRumors member you have to sign in and provide some personal info (of your choice). Today is mother's day and while waiting for something I chose to post in this thread. Not all decisions or choices are final. The choice and decision to change your mind, opinion or actions about some things are frequently regarded as an issue.
    Some are mental other are physical, and others are spiritual (my choice to classify them in those 3 realms). Everything is relative and it is better to be more specific.
     
  12. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

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    #12
    All are choices, and people can be influenced by others to make their choices, some are stronger in their own ways and others are comfortable doing things to please others, or follow orders.

    1. I choice not to be in the woods without a GPS.
    2. Depends how old Sally is, and her health and live situation. Either way whatever we think is the rational behind her decision is up to her to do what she wants to do. Unless she totally depends on her Mother as her caregiver.
    3. Marry chose to eat them it was her choice because *we don't know*
    4. Why did he enrolled in college to begin with? It was his choice to, if he dones't know or want to make a decision it doesn't matter, it is up for him to use his time in any way he wants to use it. He can continue studying all what he wants or not.
    5. How you know? Assuming all things listed are facts, he made his choices. The issue here is there are certain things in life that we don't choose: where and when we are born, and who our parents are. Then depending on how your life develops and your own decisions are really allowing you to live your life as you please (as a free person), it is up to you to make your choices and develop your life. This happens to every person at different times in their life.
    6. Bill made a decision to use the coin flip as the method to select his path at that time. Would he like it or not? How do we know? He can do that today, and tomorrow he may regret it and change his decision. Other may prefer to evaluate them in a more complex way and justify better their decisions. other simply have some needs and their decision is made by someone else, and they accept it.
    7. Ask Little Jimmy. A want is a desire, ad choice is making up your mind, and actions are what really matter at the end. Will he be a good Dr.? Will he help people in need? Will he work for free? No clue.
    8. No idea who this person is. Will google it.
    9. Why this robber made the choice to rob in the first place? For any action there is a reaction, import things to consider before making a choice of what to do and doing it.

    Critique: what is your real point? Our opinions are biased by our way of living and how we have experienced life and interacted in this forum.
     
  13. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #13
    I see choice from the prospective of a neuroscientist, and what I see is a lot of human post-hoc confabulation trying to explain away the sometimes flagrantly irrational maladaptive actions controlled by primitive brain systems as 'choice'. But that's just me....
     
  14. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #14
    My point is that is I am proposing that most/many/all cases, our choices are not intellectual choices, as in "I decide Option A or Option B" based on intellect, but are actions taken because or our personality, predisposition and switches that are thrown in our heads due to external factors, so in fact a free, self determining "choice" in many/most cases is not really as much of a choice as we like to think it is.

    The legal aspect is interesting because the law views citizens as individuals who "choose" to follow the laws or to break the law as if it is a function of free will. I'm arguing that in most cases it's not that simple.
     
  15. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #15
    Along the same lines as socio-biology where our choices are not intellectual at all but are mostly predetermined. In the sexuality department we are attracted to what we are attracted to, not a choice as I see it. (For anyone wondering, regarding real purposes, this is not the "real" purpose of this thread. :p)
     
  16. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #16
    Do I have a choice to believe in choice?

    Or am I predetermined to believe in predeterminism?

    Or vice versa.
     
  17. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #17
    Sure you do. That's like choosing to go left or right at the fork in the road. But it's not like other more substantial choices that impact your life, IMO.
     
  18. zin macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Religion and free will are conflicting ideas:

    But we haven't had one for at least a couple of days! :p

    I think you choose to be good or evil, moral or immoral, lazy or not, you name it; but things like your interests are innate and only influenced / triggered by your environment. You don't choose who you are attracted to but you can choose to act on that attraction, for instance.

    I think you're questioning it because you think you could have made a better choice.

    I think (1).

    Agreed.

    I think that it was still a choice. She had free will to choose to eat the other options but chose not to because she decided that she didn't want to eat something that tastes bad. Did she "choose" not to like the taste of peas, however? I don't think so, I think that's simply a random outcome of her brain's biology, just like me disliking cheese is the same.

    She chose to eat them without coercion or force. Choice.

    I think Bill made a choice to not make a choice because he didn't have the right information at the time (he didn't know / understand what he wanted to do).

    He made a bad choice and didn't fully understand the possible outcomes / consequences at the end. I don't think anybody is inherently lazy. I think their environment may influence them by condoning laziness, thus persuading them to choose to be lazy in the future, but that's it.

    Well, Bill's interests look to be vocational. I don't think Bill chose to like those jobs but he could still choose to do something he didn't like. He has the free will to do it but if you had the choice to do something you didn't want to do, you'd probably not do it.

    I think it was a choice that was influenced heavily by his environment. His childhood didn't force or coerce him into being a doctor, just "persuaded" him. He could choose to do something he doesn't want to do, but nobody wants to do that.

    I think people who obviously have a mental illness are the exception. My own opinion is that these people don't have free will and didn't choose to murder, rather their own mind coerced or "forced" them to do it.

    Even though Dahmer was actually judged to be sane, it looks like, as you say, his "interest" was killing people. I don't think you choose what you're interested in but your environment can persuade you to act on those interests. Who knows? Perhaps if I started to abuse controlled substances like Dahmer then my hidden interest of robbing banks would surface one day and thus my environment has persuaded me to act on it.

    It was his choice, both to commit the crime and to surrender. He knew the outcomes of each choice. If he shot the hostage then law enforcement would likely return fire in order to protect other people and he would die. I think he weighed up his options and, freely and willingly, made the choice to surrender.

    edit: I should probably edit that last one now I think about it. He obviously wasn't "free" in principle since he effectively was being coerced into one particular decision. However, I still think he had a free and willing choice to commit the crime to start with.
     
  19. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Ohhh…tell me more. :rolleyes:
     
  20. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #20
    Choice one and two might take me in different directions. Choice 3 might take my car off of a bridge, so is that really a choice at all.

    I like to think we have choices but sometimes others make the choice for us. We can either take a chance and go against what they think we should do or agree that their choice is the better one.

    If a weatherman tells me a storm is coming he is giving me a choice of staying inside or chance it. Am I giving up the choice I was going to make a few hours earlier?
     
  21. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #21
    Your are free to feel that way, but if you have a bad heart, mostly likely you'll do bad things. If you have a good heart, you would not have it in you.

    You are mistaken.


    By the same token, is it a choice to pick what you like and ignore what you don't?



    Her personality and predispostion was to please her mother. This was more powerful than her desire to insist on eating what she liked. I don't see this as a choice.

    How can you possibly have free choice if one option is something you love and the other is something you hate? You will never choose the thing you hate.

    His "choice" was to live. For his personality and predisposition, this was the one viable option. So was there really another choice? It's true that emotions can get in the way, but if anything they would make a person do what under calmer circumstances, they normally would not. That would be a rash reaction, not a choice.
     
  22. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #22
    Choice is relative to one's position in life. You want differ or broader choices? Then work or fight for a different position in life.
     
  23. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #23
    Not to insult anyone's intelligence :p, but for those who voted, they have complete control over choice, the best way is to imagine yourself in a situation. It over simplified to view human nature as a list of good or bad choices and enny, meany, miney, moe, we pick. Here are two more examples.

    Example 1: I have a long history of playing violent shooter video games, Marathon (fondest of memories), Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and Quake 3. I love these games. I am in an arena and there is no real death. You get blown up and you continuously respawn. But when I tried to play games like Carmaggedon, or Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, I found out that I could not even role play a game where points are received for running over little old ladies, or pretending to live a life where robbery and murdering anyone who gets in my way is ok. Is this my choice? NO, it was my choice to try them out, but it was not a choice to continue playing them. I could not. Don't say I chose not to play, I could not play. See the point I'm trying to make?

    Example 2: You ever walk or run down a running path in a wooded area, see an attractive woman also running and consider grabbing, threatening, and dragging her off into the woods? I'll stop there with details and let you imagine the rest. It never even crosses my mind, I have no impulse or desire to do such a thing. Have I chosen to be a decent, empathetic, good human being? The other option is not a choice for me so is there a choice?
     
  24. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #24
    Is a choice still a choice if you haven't considered it?
     
  25. Huntn, May 12, 2014
    Last edited: May 12, 2014

    Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #25
    When I say "consider" I'm saying contemplate doing it. But there is a group who would say I chose to be good. No, I am good. And the serial rapist chose to be bad. It's just not that simple. I'm convinced that choice on many levels is mostly an illusion.

    An exception I can think of is when an individual has compulsion to be bad and fights against it. They are choosing to resist the impulse instead of giving in to it, or is that who they are? ;) I'll also say we are not static in our lives, who we are is subject to change based on both internal and external factors, and the switches in our heads.
     

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