Freethinking 41 replies

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#1 6 years ago

Since that spam thread got rather out of hand, due to me not realizing it was turning into a pick-apart-beliefs thread (which are fine, and in fact often quite productive), which didn't allow me to formulate any sort of defense, I made this thread in the proper forum. :)

I am a freethinker, in the following sense: "A freethinker is one who maintains that the basis for all beliefs should be science, logic, and reason, rather than faith, authority, dogma, or tradition."

Frethinking is not synonymous in any way with atheist, as I tried to point out in the earlier thread. The title of that thread was me making fun of atheists.

Freethinking theists do exist, though they are less common. "What makes a free thinker is not his beliefs, but the way in which he holds them." A freethinker can believe in Thor, as long as he or she arrived at that conclusion through science, logic, and reason, rather than being a product of the times as Voltair would accuse them of.

Have at it kiddos! I'll try to be back on tonight, no promises. :)




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#2 6 years ago

In the 21st century, it baffles me as to how anyone can believe in some deity or another without what you describe above, and claim it to be their own conclusion as opposed to indoctrination. What further baffles me is that this is one of many examples of a distorted view of what logic actually is (e.g. the Bible is God's word because it says so in the Bible).

People like myself, you, and most individuals on this forum have the intelligence (whether theist or not) to understand what constitutes solid evidence and how to distinguish nonsense from reality. I expect we have all arrived at our beliefs on the existence of a deity based on some form of internal debate and weighing of whatever we logically conclude to be solid evidence supporting said belief.

In my opinion, a freethinker is someone who arrives at their conclusion using actual science, actual logic, and rational reasoning. This is the type of person we need more of in the world. I suspect more intelligent discussion would come out of it all as opposed to 'you can't explain that'. I didn't read enough of that thread to see what your beliefs were, but as far as I'm concerned you can come round my house and sing to the lord at 6am everyday as long as you can explain and back up your logical reasoning for doing so.




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#3 6 years ago

There's one example I can think of a of an atheist arriving at the conclusion that god exists. Francis Collins Spent about a year on his journey from atheist to theism. The only fault with this example is that he had an "experience", as they're often referred to (psychological event), that pushed him that final bit. At the very least, he got quite far down the path to theism using logic and reason and science.

Freethinking itself doesn't limit people to atheism, though it certainly does strongly trend that way, for reasons that are probably obvious to you.

I couldn't agree more with your last paragraph. Literally. It's completely spot on.




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#4 6 years ago

Obankobi;5611586At the very least, he got quite far down the path to theism using logic and reason and science. [/QUOTE]

I'm all for that, and I can see why people would be so thrown by these 'personal experiences'. My belief on that is that our brains are quite susceptible to hallucinations - but (assuming my belief is fact) for those experiencing a hallucination - it is your brain lying to you. The organ responsible for relaying information from the world back to you. I imagine it would be difficult for anyone to deny what I imagine they could see/hear/feel by explaining it with logic. That said, I would hope that if it was proved outright that it was a hallucination they experienced, they would discount that experience as evidence.

[QUOTE=Obankobi] Freethinking itself doesn't limit people to atheism, though it certainly does strongly trend that way, for reasons that are probably obvious to you.

If my post implied that, then it's not what I meant - and I agree with you. I also agree with the trend you mentioned; those who have religious beliefs passed down from family rarely have reason to question them.




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#5 6 years ago
There's one example I can think of a of an atheist arriving at the conclusion that god exists. Francis Collins Spent about a year on his journey from atheist to theism. The only fault with this example is that he had an "experience", as they're often referred to (psychological event), that pushed him that final bit. At the very least, he got quite far down the path to theism using logic and reason and science.

The article says dealing with the death of his parents made him decide to "re-examine" his views on religion. I dunno, that doesn't exactly scream "scientific approach" to me. A lot of atheist conversions probably start out this way, with someone wondering if they can convince themselves of something that will make them happy, which remarkably enough, turns out to be the dominant religion in whatever part of the world they grew up in. As to the topic, I think of freethought as being mostly synonymous with rationalism in the broadest sense of the term. Just with the added connotation that a person who is opposed to ideas of religious authority and appeals to "traditional values" etc enjoys a greater degree of freedom of thought than someone who values those concepts. Which, I guess needless to say, is something I agree with. =p I consider myself a freethinker... or at least I aspire to be one.




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#6 6 years ago

The Wikipedia article is woefully incomplete on his conversion. His personal friend, Michael Shermer, tells a much more complete tale. Most conversions do start that way though. You can only get so far to theism with science, and then you need faith. There is almost always a psychological event that causes them to take that final leap.

I think belief that a deity exists is the only permissible form of theism in freethinking. Any religion or such thing applied to them would preclude one from considering themselves a freethinker. That's just my opinion though.

I aspire to be one too, and I think that's all anyone can actually do. We can never be completely free from cultural influence and bias. The best thing for us to do is to realize we're doing it, and be aware that it often happens without us realizing it, and to critically examine why we believe what we believe.




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#7 6 years ago

I guess one would think that at least in scientific inquiry should be done on 'science, logic, and reason' as this would lay out. Ideally, at least. There's a lot of other factors in society that might cause people to bow to 'faith, authority, dogma, or tradition.', as we've seen in different points in history.

I can see the argument that being a Freethinker doesn't necessarily require one to be a full-on atheist. It's possible to separate those fields of life, this is where concepts of secularism all began with. I don't think personal examples of an atheist arriving back at 'God' matters much, you can find plenty more of the opposite case. There are other factors that play into that mindset.

Historically though "Freethinkers" have had their work messed up by those following religious dogmas, and that continues today with scientists attempting to work on finding data concerning evolution, stem cells, and other things that might be 'unethical' to a religious stand point. At least in the States this has seeped into political policy itself.

Though this kind of think doesn't necessarily require 'religion'. The Soviet Union had an unfortunate incident in its low point with science regarding "Lysenkoism", an alternative model to the traditional Mendelian genetics. They had advanced this doctrine in the face of logic and reason, and only abandoned it once the original 'creator' fell out of favor.




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#8 6 years ago

Hello freethinkers, I have a few questions.

What is this 'science', 'actual science' and 'scientific approach' you are talking about, and what makes you think it, 'actual logic' and 'reason' etc etc are a good basis for one's beliefs?

As an extension, how do you aspiring freethinkers feel about the problem of induction?

IcePureMy belief on that is that our brains are quite susceptible to hallucinations - but (assuming my belief is fact) for those experiencing a hallucination - it is your brain lying to you. The organ responsible for relaying information from the world back to you.

This being said, what are our perceptions of the world if not the same as these 'hallucinations'? I think we all accept that the information provided by our senses is insufficient to give us a perfect account of the world. To say that your brain can be 'lying to you' implies that it can tell the truth, but I would say that our day to day perception of the world is not of the 'truth', just of the limited data that we are able to gather through our senses.

I can't really puzzle out this line however:

I imagine it would be difficult for anyone to deny what I imagine they could see/hear/feel by explaining it with logic.

Are you saying it would be hard for someone who had not experienced this 'hallucination' to deny the authenticity of the hallucinee's experience? If so, I would venture that I agree for the reasons explained above. What grounds do we have for refuting another's sensory experience when we know that are own brains are constantly 'lying' to us?




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#9 6 years ago
rebornintheglory;5612884What is this 'science', 'actual science' and 'scientific approach' you are talking about,

If you don't know what science is then honestly I would recommend you don't attempt to discuss a subject like this. ;)

and what makes you think it, 'actual logic' and 'reason' etc etc are a good basis for one's beliefs?

The question is absurd. You are asking for evidence of the usefulness of evidence; for a logical justification for the use of logic. It's not that logical thought is a "good" basis for belief so much as that it's a "basis" for belief at all. What makes me think so? Well, what else would I base a belief on? My desire for something to be true? Then it would not be a belief - I would be aware that I was deluding myself.

As an extension, how do you aspiring freethinkers feel about the problem of induction?

I don't see that it presents aspiring freethinkers in particular with any practical problems. Perhaps you could be more specific with your question and how it relates to the topic.

What grounds do we have for refuting another's sensory experience when we know that are own brains are constantly 'lying' to us?

The fact that their brains are constantly lying to them, too? A better question is why we ought to believe them.




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#10 6 years ago

rebornintheglory;5612884Hello freethinkers, I have a few questions.

What is this 'science', 'actual science' and 'scientific approach' you are talking about, and what makes you think it, 'actual logic' and 'reason' etc etc are a good basis for one's beliefs?[/QUOTE]

Without these things, belief is absurd and has no place in the modern age. Logic and reason tell me not to jump onto a moving train so that my daily commute is faster, no matter how strongly I believe otherwise.

rebornintheglory As an extension, how do you aspiring freethinkers feel about the problem of induction?[/QUOTE]

Could you expand that slightly, please?

[QUOTE=rebornintheglory] This being said, what are our perceptions of the world if not the same as these 'hallucinations'? I think we all accept that the information provided by our senses is insufficient to give us a perfect account of the world. To say that your brain can be 'lying to you' implies that it can tell the truth, but I would say that our day to day perception of the world is not of the 'truth', just of the limited data that we are able to gather through our senses.

I understand what you're trying to say, but there's a clear difference from our senses being interpreted by our brain and our brain introducing nonsense to the interpretation.

[QUOTE=rebornintheglory] Are you saying it would be hard for someone who had not experienced this 'hallucination' to deny the authenticity of the hallucinee's experience? If so, I would venture that I agree for the reasons explained above. What grounds do we have for refuting another's sensory experience when we know that are own brains are constantly 'lying' to us?

No, I'm saying for one who had experienced the hallucination, it would be real to them because we rely on the brain's interpretation of our senses in order to react to stimuli. Imagine if I told you that all your memories are false and were hallucinations - you wouldn't believe it for a second unless the appropriate proof was held in front of you, and even then, humans have a fascinating trait called 'denial'.