I do believe that certain choices we made in the past do influence the likelihood of what will happen to us in the present and future.
I agree with this, although I would say "can influence" rather than "do".
I haven't heard any convincing evidence against determinism, and haven't heard any convincing evidence for anything else - except the feeling of free will that we experience.
Ok, fair enough. I would probably think the same way if my life hadn't taken a dramatic turn for the best when it was "destined" to fail very early on. One could argue that clearly it wasn't, but I strongly disagree. Problem is, even if I explained the dramatic turn of events & how it convinced me that free will is the case, I could never properly convey what experiencing it is like. It could be due to my lack of vocabulary for this subject, or perhaps that I don't have a masters degree with several books out is enough to convince others that my viewpoint holds little weight.
But our feelings and perceptions are not to be trusted, there are all kinds of "illusions" that can seem real until we understand them.
I strongly disagree that our feelings and perceptions are not to be trusted. You have some great examples of how one can be wrong, but one can also be right, very often too.
This reminds me of a great quote: "What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. And when you lose that you have lost everything." Certainly one can come to the wrong conclusions about what they have perceived or felt but with time & practice, like a muscle, ones ability to correctly perceive/feel and then decipher/act can improve. Also, perception isn't strictly physical but I've tried explaining that to people who don't believe in spirituality to no avail. Again, either my vocabulary is lacking, or I am not held in high enough esteem in their eyes to remotely affect their conclusions.
I believe that feeling as though we are choosing things falls into the area of illision
Now this makes me very sad, and I'm honestly sorry you feel this way. Perhaps because when I believed this, I was around my lowest in life & would never wish that upon anyone.
In fact I've read articles on neuroscience where the scientists have actually said that they are concerned about the perceived benefits of sharing evidence of determinism, if it is true as it could do more harm than good potentially if it is believed.
Which reminds me of another quote lol. "We live in a machine world. The whole yap of television and newspapers is directed toward reducing effort. The primary goal of the civilization in which we live, it seems, is to reduce all personal effort to zero." The way I see it, switch around "television & newspapers" for the conclusion those fellas want to share. I'd like to know how they came to it. I doubt *I* wouldn't find fault in it, or something significant to disagree with.
Oh yea, and the best saying of all: "one will find what they are looking for," i.e.: we can all find examples to prove that it's all fate, free will, etc.