Making a choice
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15-02-2017, 11:36 PM
Making a choice
For a while now, I've thought about the idea of choice and what it means to choose one course of action over another, to choose one belief over another.

We evaluate situations and people and information all of the time and there is something about that evaluation that leads us toward a particular choice.

Our brains are not the same. We don't have the same backgrounds. We haven't experienced the same life events and our environments are different, but there are some basic things in life that we should agree upon, but often don't.

When a theist is raised to believe something without any evidence , then to me that would seem to indicate that their ability to evaluate information within their own brains hasn't developed to a mature level, similar to a child who believes in Santa Claus.

I have to ask myself, did they ever have a choice in what they believe ?

If I ask any of you to pick RED or BLUE, which would you pick and then after you pick, I want you to change your mind and pick the other color. Go back and forth, changing your mind, picking the other color until you come to a final choice.

What did it feel like when you changed your mind ?
What shifted in your thoughts ?
Did you eventually pick the color that you initially selected ?
If you did, what do you think that means ?

If you picked the other color as your final selection, what do you think that means ?

Are we able to make a choice ?

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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15-02-2017, 11:56 PM
RE: Making a choice
(15-02-2017 11:36 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  ...
What did it feel like ... ?
...

I felt a mild churning in my gut.

Then the thought came into focus of being manipulated... my chemistry was saying "Why is Rahn making me do this? What does he want?"

This means that my deception detectors are still functioning

... as they were 45 years ago at Sunday School.

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16-02-2017, 12:31 AM
RE: Making a choice
(15-02-2017 11:36 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  For a while now, I've thought about the idea of choice and what it means to choose one course of action over another, to choose one belief over another.

We evaluate situations and people and information all of the time and there is something about that evaluation that leads us toward a particular choice.

Our brains are not the same. We don't have the same backgrounds. We haven't experienced the same life events and our environments are different, but there are some basic things in life that we should agree upon, but often don't.

When a theist is raised to believe something without any evidence , then to me that would seem to indicate that their ability to evaluate information within their own brains hasn't developed to a mature level, similar to a child who believes in Santa Claus.

I have to ask myself, did they ever have a choice in what they believe ?

If I ask any of you to pick RED or BLUE, which would you pick and then after you pick, I want you to change your mind and pick the other color. Go back and forth, changing your mind, picking the other color until you come to a final choice.

What did it feel like when you changed your mind ?
What shifted in your thoughts ?
Did you eventually pick the color that you initially selected ?
If you did, what do you think that means ?

If you picked the other color as your final selection, what do you think that means ?

Are we able to make a choice ?

Mods, please move this to the philosophy forum where we may ignore it as navel gazing.

(Just kidding, it belongs here too.)

My philosophy says that a part of this question hinges on what we identify as identity. What is defined as US? A very important piece of it, perhaps the only piece of it, is that we are the ... processes, means, whatever you want to call it .. by which we make decisions. (Yes, like most definitions, this one is arbitrary.)

So while our conscious minds might be part of that, they are not all of that, and we are more than just our conscious minds. Thus, we are ALWAYS the ones making these decisions, even if we do not do so in an entirely-conscious manner. Even if childhood influence and indoctrination dictates how we make the decisions. And even if how we were formed in this mold was determined by things that happened to us, the outcome IS us, and so we are very much to blame for our bad decisions, and very much to be credited for our good ones.... in much the same way (for example) that we can reject a bad computer program for making mistakes and adopt a good one for running smoothly, even if their programming is really the fault of the programmers.

... or, you know, if we've got some sort of weird unfalsifiable free will thingumabob that's part of us, how we exercise that is also a part of who we are and we can be hated or loved for that too.
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16-02-2017, 12:13 PM
RE: Making a choice
(15-02-2017 11:36 PM)Rahn127 Wrote:  If I ask any of you to pick RED or BLUE

GREEN

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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16-02-2017, 08:57 PM
RE: Making a choice
My favorite color is indigo which is a shade of blue so I picked it right away and I don't mind red, many of my home furnishings are red so it's a nice color and I don't mind switching between them.

One thing I've always known is that when I was a Christian I felt a need to edit my thoughts and actions because God was always listening and watching me right? I didn't want to make him angry so I was careful. After I rejected religion I stopped caring but I realized do Christians and other theists who believe in an omni God avoid certain topics and situations because they know God is listening? Of course they do and it's really sad, they're not free to think.

They are afraid that God/Jesus/Satan/Whoever can hear their deepest and most personal thoughts all the fucking time. Most of the time they are taught this from a young age, they have no choice. So basically every aspect of their consciousness is impacted by that constant fear. Any "choice" they make will impacted by their belief in God.

It's sad that they didn't have a choice, and I truly believe they don't, someone is messing with their heads. Sure, it can stop them from making bad choices but it can also make them unreasonable, angry, fearful, and just plain stupid and they can suffer from confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance their entire lives. I always try to keep that in mind when debating a theist, they're just conditioned to be afraid of new information but you just gotta be firm and present the facts anyway.

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16-02-2017, 10:18 PM
RE: Making a choice
In the scenario I presented about picking a color, then changing your mind and picking the other color, you keep doing this until you decide to stop.

It's no longer a choice about which color. It's a choice about when you stop. And that choice you make about when to stop becomes a choice about color.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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16-02-2017, 11:54 PM
RE: Making a choice
My cousin made a song based on our conversations on this subject.




I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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17-02-2017, 08:31 AM
RE: Making a choice
(16-02-2017 08:57 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  ... when I was a Christian I felt a need to edit my thoughts and actions because God was always listening and watching me right? I didn't want to make him angry so I was careful. After I rejected religion I stopped caring but I realized do Christians and other theists who believe in an omni God avoid certain topics and situations because they know God is listening? Of course they do and it's really sad, they're not free to think.
It depends on the individual. I was an evangelical Christian from age 5.75 and so was pretty steeped in this, but was also smart enough to realize that it didn't seem to matter what I thought or didn't think; if god was paying attention he seemed indifferent. So while I still hedged my bets a bit, I pretty much felt ownership of my private thought life.

The problem is that it was a closely guarded secret and it made me less open with others, including people like parents, siblings, and later spouse, because there was still some sense that my undisguised, unguarded real self was somehow shameful or subject at least to shaming. This idea was reinforced when occasionally in an unguarded moment I would do or say something deemed inappropriate, or was misunderstood as to motive.

It was like the panopticon -- the prison design concept where the wardens are in a central location with good line of sight to all prisoners, making prisoners subject to a sort of All-Seeing Eye. In that setting the wardens can't see thoughts, but with training can probably determine by your reactions to stimuli, some indications of your internal thought life. And they have absolute power over your existence, and pretty much unchecked ability to judge and punish you.

Of course, given that I am a fairly profound introvert, some of this would have been an innate tendency for me anyway, but my religion of origin definitely amplified it.
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17-02-2017, 09:07 AM (This post was last modified: 17-02-2017 09:40 AM by Dom.)
RE: Making a choice
This goes back to the free will thing and the nature versus nurture thing.

My take is that our brains do the best they can with the combination of nature AND nurture they have available to them.

When those two are in conflict, we make conscious decisions. While these are still dependent on our nature and nurture, we get to assign priority at that time.

Most of the time our brains are on auto pilot, like it or not.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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