I can choose one of two options: I can either go to the dentist or go to the circus. I love going to the circus but I hate going to the dentist. I know that, for my long-term health, it is better if I go to the dentist than if I go to the circus. Yet, all things considered, I would much prefer to go to the circus.
Now, according to you (or, more properly, to your author/guru/benefactor), if I go to the circus, it's because I believed that was the best alternative and I was, therefore, compelled to make that choice. On the other hand, if I go to the dentist, it's because I believed that was the best alternative, and I was compelled to make that choice. Consequently, either choice was the best choice, depending on which choice I made. Given that any choice that I make is the best choice, it makes no difference which choice I make, since whatever I choose will be the best choice.
peacegirl: It does make a difference what choice one makes if that choice hurts another. It is also true that whatever choice a person makes IS the best choice at that moment in time. You are also right that the word 'choice' is misleading because we really don't have a choice at all, otherwise we could choose what is the least preferable alternative, which is impossible.
As far as your decision to go to the circus, yes, at that moment, it gave you greater satisfaction considering the pros and cons. You chose to enjoy yourself rather than get your teeth fixed because it was more satisfying to do this than not to do it. That does not mean that later on when your teeth start to hurt and you have a choice to either go to the dentist or to the circus, that you won't this time, as the preferable alternative, go to the dentist because the consequences of not going are more dire.
joe: In that circumstance, it really doesn't make any sense to talk about a "best choice," as "best choice" and "choice" are synonymous terms. No matter what I choose, I choose the best alternative. And how do we know which is the best alternative? We know because I chose it. It's Pangloss writ small.
That brings up a problem which is common to most deterministic theories: we can only know what is determined ex post rather than ex ante. In other words, we can't know which alternative was "determined" until that alternative is chosen. At that point, we can say "that's the way it had to happen." But we can't say "this is the way it's going to happen." I don't know if I am determined to go to the dentist or to the circus until I go to either the dentist or to the circus. And if we're just left with saying "that's the way it had to happen," then there's really no point in bringing in all of this business about "choosing the best alternative." "Choice," in that scenario, is simply a meaningless term, and should therefore be dropped. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.
That kind of ex post determinism really ends up being an explanation of what happens based upon what happens. It has no explanatory power because, in a Popperian sense, it can't be disproved. What happened happened because it had to happen, and we know that because it happened that way and no other. But if what happens happens because it had to happen, then we might as well say that god willed it or that invisible fairies made it happen as say that it was "determined" because people lack free will. It's all the same.
peacegirl: You are right that we can't predict what is going to happen until after the fact, but with this law we can prevent the choice, in the direction of satisfaction, to hurt another with a first blow. The fact that something happened because it happened does not imply that something supernatural made it happen. There is truth that God made it happen if you think of God as this law of our nature which we have no control over. That is why everything had to be exactly the way it was, but mankind is developing, and just as a baby cannot be an adult unless he goes through the necessary stages, mankind also had to go through the necessary stages of 'evil' to reach this turning point in our lives.