Since there's no philosophy section, I thought I'd stick this here, since it involves neuroscience as well. It was inspired by a comment from Werewoman on the "glorification of killing" thread, where she said "Everything is a choice. Even love". But I didn't want to take that thread off-topic. I'm not sure anything is a choice. And how would we know if we were making a choice or not? We can only be said to make a choice if it is possible for us to vary our decision given the exact same circumstances. But the circumstances will never be exactly the same twice, so how can we know that a combination of genetics and previous experience -- nature plus nurture, if you like -- hasn't precisely determined how we go about the decision-making process, and thus hasn't precisely determined exactly what our "choice" will be? Going from philosophy to science, I think it's been demonstrated that the neural activity related to a particular decision -- to pick up a card, say -- occurs (or at least is measured as having occured) after the physical activity has commenced. In other words, we consciously rationalise as a decision something that our subconscious has already set in motion. It's not a comfortable idea that free will might be an illusion. If it is an illusion, it's one on which the western legal and religious systems are largely based. It might even be one that's necessary for the functioning of society, but that in itself doesn't make it true. Actually, I believe that we have the capacity for free will, but that our willingness to go with the decisions suggested to our consciousness by the hidden parts of our minds means that we almost never exercise it. But maybe, if humankind is allowed to evolve, that will change. Any thoughts?