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Disbelief Is Not A Choice

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posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 07:46 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
Do you believe that you will be alive on Saturday? I would wager to say that your answer would be 'yes', even though you have no proof that this is true.


I do believe that I'll be alive on Saturday, but my belief is BASED on something. I don't just CHOOSE believe it out of the blue. I believe it based on the following information, not because I CHOOSE to believe it.

1. I've been alive every Saturday up to this time.
2. I'm healthy and will likely live for many more years.

Now, if you asked if I believe I will be alive in 2060, then another set of facts comes into play...

1. I would be 103 years old
2. No one in my family has lived that long...

BASED on those pieces of data, I would believe that I will NOT be here in 2060. I couldn't just choose to believe that I'm going to live to 103.

My point is that we develop our beliefs BASED on something. Our beliefs are not a simple choice. I may want to believe that I'm going to live past 100, but I can't choose to believe that. I'd be in denial and lying to myself.

And of course, I could be mistaken in either case.



You can choose to believe what you will.


Can you choose to believe that you're a cookie monster?
Can you choose to believe that 16 women are in your bedroom?

My point is that beliefs come out of research, information and thought. They are not chosen in the strict sense of the word.

.
edit on 10/4/2011 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 07:51 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


Well, you may not be aware of this, but people "base" their religious beliefs on things also. They (generally) don't just conjure them up out of thin air. Things like literature, stories and anecdotes of others, alleged miracles, and perhaps most importantly, personal experiences. If you are not familiar with the personal experiences of others then you really don't know what they are basing their beliefs on, however to say that their beliefs are without basis despite that ignorance is indeed ignorant.

By the way, you didn't address my second point about life on other planets.
edit on 4-10-2011 by TheFlash because: correct typo



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 07:54 AM
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Originally posted by babybunnies

Sexual preference IS a choice.




I highly doubt that. You are effectively saying that we are all bi-sexual and we just choose a side. If you are choosing to be heterosexual right now it means you can choose to be gay, you must be bi-sexual. Are you?



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 08:03 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
Well, you may not be aware of this, but people "base" their religious beliefs on things also.


I know. That's exactly what I'm saying.
They don't just CHOOSE to believe. Their beliefs COME FROM information, thought, research.


... however to say that their beliefs are without basis despite that ignorance is indeed ignorant.


And where did I say that? That's right. I didn't.



By the way, you didn't address my second point about life on other planets.


What about it? People either believe or don't believe based on the information they have and their own context in life. I happen to believe that there is other intelligent life in the universe. I didn't choose to believe this, I have read a lot about it and my beliefs come from that.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 08:33 AM
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Originally posted by Dark Ghost
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


What happens for people that have never seen a rock before (assume there are none nearby to show them)? Can they not correctly believe (in their minds) that rocks do not exist? The concept of a "rock" would be foreign to them.


Once we demonstrate the rock to exist it's no longer a concept that requires belief.


Also remember that it is far easier to verify the existence of a physical object than it is an abstract concept. This does not make abstract concepts unbelievable, though.


Anything, even abstract concepts, are believable once they can be demonstrated.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 08:33 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


So are you saying that after doing all your reading about life on other planets you have no choice but to believe that it is there? Sounds like you are describing proof. I am not aware of any proof. If it exists please point it out to me. Otherwise, after reviewing information, which is hard to believe anyone ever reviews all of on any subject; where there is no absolute proof, one is still left with a choice. I am sure that you have at least some small knowledge of religious history, anecdote or story, so you are perfectly free to choose to believe in a religion based on that limited knowledge or not. Indeed you do have a choice. You can also choose to admit, as I believe is the only rational choice, that you just don't know for sure whether a god exists or not. Holding a belief that one does not exist without a basis for holding such a belief is just as irrational as believing anything else without proof.

Of course let's be clear that there is a very significant difference between not believing something and believing the opposite. For example not believing in a god (agnostic) and believing (where there is no proof to back it up) that God does not exist (atheist).



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 08:42 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


I disagree with you. Here are a couple reasons why...

Do you believe that you will be alive on Saturday? I would wager to say that your answer would be 'yes', even though you have no proof that this is true. Just like you have no proof that God exists. You can choose to believe that yes, you will be alive in Saturday, or you can choose to be 'agnostic' about it, that is, to admit that you just don't know whether you will be or not.


While I may not know if I'll be alive Saturday even if I believe it, I have reasoned expectations based upon analysis of objective evidence. Belief in god always comes without any objective evidence. It is irrational to believe any claim if it has not met its burden of proof. In such a case I have no choice but to disbelieve.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 08:49 AM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
So are you saying that after doing all your reading about life on other planets you have no choice but to believe that it is there?


Pretty much. Yes, The EVIDENCE (not proof) points to the existence of something more (to me), so I couldn't and wouldn't wake up tomorrow and choose to disbelieve in extraterrestrial existence.
More information may come my way, that would SHAPE my beliefs and convince me that ET is dead, but until then, I believe because of what I know, NOT because I woke up one morning and chose to believe.


Holding a belief that one does not exist without a basis for holding such a belief is just as irrational as believing anything else without proof.


I agree. Beliefs DO have a basis. That's exactly what I'm saying. They are based on the person's research, evidence, thoughts and context in life. Not a simple choice, as in boxers or briefs. You seem to be emphatically arguing that you agree with me...




Of course let's be clear that there is a very significant difference between not believing something and believing the opposite. For example not believing in a god (agnostic) and believing (where there is no proof to back it up) that God does not exist (atheist).


And we've been over this in this thread already.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 10:47 AM
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Hubby and I have been continuing this philosophical discussion (he disagrees with me) and I am reminded to look at the MEANING of the word Choice. Choice can be a noun, meaning option. But to CHOOSE is a verb. If people are using the word 'choice' synonymously with 'option', then yes, we do have a choice (option) about what we believe. We can believe in God, disbelieve in him or we can refrain from having a belief about it at all. Those are choices (in the sense that there are several options).

But we do not CHOOSE (as in actively making a selection) our beliefs. They are a product of our knowledge and our context in life.



According to Terence Penelhum, there are two general schools of thought when it comes to how beliefs originate: voluntarist and involuntarist.

The voluntarists take say that belief is a matter of will: we have control over what we believe much in the way we have control over our actions.
...
Involuntarists argue that we cannot really choose to just believe anything. According to involuntarism, a belief is not an action and, hence, cannot be attained by command — either by your own or by another's to you.
...
I try to explain to them that I do not in fact "choose" atheism. Instead, atheism is the only possible position given my present state of knowledge. I can no more "choose" to just believe in the existence of a god than I can choose to believe that this computer doesn't exist. Belief requires good reasons, and although people may differ on what constitutes "good reasons," it is those reasons which cause belief, not choice.


Do We Choose Our Beliefs?

Interestingly, I had never considered whether my beliefs were a choice or not. But during this discussion, I definitely can see that I am an involuntarist and didn't even know it!

edit on 10/4/2011 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 10:53 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Do We Choose Our Beliefs?

Interestingly, I had never considered whether my beliefs were a choice or not. But during this discussion, I definitely can see that I am an involuntarist and didn't even know it!


I didn't either! Thanks for posting this as it never dawned on me to look for studies on the matter. I had no idea it had been quantified down to two camps of belief. I guess I should've done my homework prior to posting this but nevertheless, I thought it would be a fun topic to explore. Thanks again!



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 11:01 AM
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We should all question our beliefs, all of them. Try and spot every time you make an assumption. Ask yourself as often as you remember, 'Is that true?' after a thought arises.
Soon you will see that all your beliefs and thoughts and ideas have been involuntarily put there.
When the false is seen, only truth will remain.
Truth is void of belief.
edit on 4-10-2011 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by Itisnowagain

Soon you will see that all your beliefs and thoughts and ideas have been involuntarily put there.


How so?
Could you explain this thought a bit more, please? Thanks!



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


When you enquire into the mind, into beliefs and where they come from, you will find that all have been learned. A human being is conditioned, involuntary.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 12:20 PM
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Originally posted by Itisnowagain
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


When you enquire into the mind, into beliefs and where they come from, you will find that all have been learned. A human being is conditioned, involuntary.


Ahh okay. I think you are in agreement with myself and B.H. The way you had originally stated it had me slightly puzzled. Thanks!



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 01:19 PM
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Originally posted by Hawkwind.

Originally posted by babybunnies

Sexual preference IS a choice.




I highly doubt that. You are effectively saying that we are all bi-sexual and we just choose a side. If you are choosing to be heterosexual right now it means you can choose to be gay, you must be bi-sexual. Are you?


I promise you that you can be brainwashed over a long time to be gay even if you are heterosexual now. It is a choice/learned behaviour that you get from how you live and what you experiance. Maybe there is a gene that make it more common but don't underestimate the power you or other people have to manipulating and brainwashing yourself. It's only by questioning yourself that you can break free of the manipulations that have been made on you. But you keep the manipulations that you like and make sense logicly. When it come to homosexuallity is say love between to consenting adults can never be wrong and hate is always wrong. Homosexuals don't need any crappy defense that genes are responsable because they are not doing anything wrong. Be who you wanna be and let me be who I wanna be if it don't hurt others. Im sorry if I don't get a kick out of seeing you kissing or don't wanna look at gay porn (probably scares me some because of some underlaying fear of being raped by a guy).



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by apushforenlightment
I promise you that you can be brainwashed over a long time to be gay even if you are heterosexual now.


That's possible, but if you've been brainwashed then you're not exercising a choice.

Also, I feel confident that a majority of homosexuals do not arrive at their sexual preference as a result of brainwashing.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


So tell me this - do the people who are 'theists' (is that the opposite of atheist?) have a choice in the matter or not? Please explain your answer.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:07 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


So tell me this - do the people who are 'theists' (is that the opposite of atheist?) have a choice in the matter or not? Please explain your answer.



Belief requires good reasons, and although people may differ on what constitutes "good reasons," it is those reasons which cause belief, not choice.
BH's post

Even though I would say that is arguable. - because some people actually have incentive to believe. Also good mention from BH on the difference between choice as a matter of option and choosing/ as in this topic, where when one chooses to believe for reasons and various evidence and then, not choosing to believe because of reasons and various evidence. Aha! but you can rearrange my last sentence to also say - and then, choosing not to believe because of reasons and evidence.

Not choosing...or Choosing not, that is the question.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash
reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


So tell me this - do the people who are 'theists' (is that the opposite of atheist?) have a choice in the matter or not? Please explain your answer.


There has been some debate on that matter here and I'm not sure I've arrived at any conclusion yet. Because of the wide array reasons that people believe in deities the answer could be either yes or no depending on the circumstances. But since in general our beliefs are not formed by choices my first instinct would be to say that theists' core belief in god(s) were not arrived at by choice. I'm interested in hearing more opinions though.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 08:16 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


You say that your reading about life on other planets has caused you to become in effect 'choiceless' regarding your belief that life does in fact exist elsewhere in the universe, yet such evidence does not exist for you to make a similar choice regarding belief in a god.

Please share with us exactly what are the nature of, quality and quantity of evidence required for you to become 'choiceless' about a given issue.



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