free thought

Archangelnamed
Theist
Posts: 10
Joined: 2007-02-10
User is offlineOffline
free thought

OK, let me preface this topic with a confession:  I have no college experience with philsophy or psychology so please spare me any big,  impressive, and overly verbose replies.  I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person but since I am not officially schooled in these topics I can spend as much time finding out the meaning of terms used as I do holding a reasonable discussion.

Anyway, my question is this:  How do you decide what is "free thinking" and what is not?  Atheists and other non-Christians constantly refer to themselves as "free-thinkers" but I believe they are wrong.  Psychologically and physically we are trained from conception by our surroundings as to what we should think and how we should behave.  Even if it appears that you are a proverbial "black sheep" in your family, I do not believe that anyone can be a completely "free" thinker.  You are given information on a multitude of levels throughout your entire life.  You have the ability to use that information in whatever way you choose but it is still based on that information.  How, then, can anyone claim to have genuinely "free thought"?

-Michael

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories..."
2 Peter 1:16
"Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you..."
Luke 1:3


hellfiend666
Rational VIP!
hellfiend666's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: 2007-01-15
User is offlineOffline
"Free thought", and "free

"Free thought", and "free thinking" are terms we use to illustrate the point that our thought proccesses are not dominated by a religious or political viewpoint. It simply means we try, in every endevor, to not allow outside influences to govern our every decision, until said outside influence has been deemed by the individual to be worth observing. Here is where a theologian could step in to say, "but I deem the bible, and the word of god to be worth observing", and that's their right to do so. However, from our viewpoint, (and I think I speek for all atheists) they've either not fully investgated the alternatives, or dissmissed them outright for challenging the indoctrination they have undergone. It is admittedly hard to escape or break free of this indoctrination, even for someone brought up as an atheist, as myself, but the ability to do so is the foundation of the "free thought" vernacular.

The darkness of godlessness lets wisdom shine.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
In essence, free thought

In essence, free thought means that your interpretation of data and observations is not constrained by any preconceived notions, or any chip on your shoulder.

 

This is what makes a scientist or atheist different from many (but not all) of the people who see the world with their jesus goggles.

 

If a scientist performs an experiment and comes out with data that contradicts current thinking (a common occurence), he does not scrap the experiment. He says "wow, that is really interesting", checks for experiment error. If there is none, he repeats the experiment. Then he publishes the results. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


An_Atheist
An_Atheist's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: 2006-07-13
User is offlineOffline
I have had several theists

I have had several theists whom have tried to tell me that, if god was not real, then there would be no such thing as 'free will'.  They say this because they think that god is who/what allows us to have free will/thought.
They have told me that since i am an evolutionist and believe that we have evolved, that somehow because our mind is programmed, that it means it is not possible to be a freethinker if indeed we are a product of evolution rather than being created.  They think that evolution would not allow for freethought since it has been built into us already, in our instinct etc.  Am i making sense?  My argument is that, with god there can be no free will because, if indeed there were a god, then surely, avoiding doing something, that gives us pleasure, simply because we are told it is sin, that is not free will, that is being manipulated into doing the oppositte, and if indeed it were god who was responsible for the creation of our plantet, then we do not have free will because it would have been god who gave us a certain mind with certain capabilities, many people would much rather have a higher level of intelligence, but don't, many people would rather not be judged, but they are.   

Your mind will take you far, the rest is just your heart, you'l find that fate is all your own creation.


AL
Posts: 43
Joined: 2007-02-08
User is offlineOffline
Archangelnamed wrote:

Archangelnamed wrote:
You are given information on a multitude of levels throughout your entire life. You have the ability to use that information in whatever way you choose but it is still based on that information. How, then, can anyone claim to have genuinely "free thought"?

I will attempt to give an answer. Note that I'm playing Devil's Advocate since I do not use the label "freethinker" to describe myself or other atheists I know, but I do have an idea of at least why some atheists might think that theists are not "freethinkers."

First of all, the epistemology of most atheists is grounded in rationalism and empiricism. For something to be regarded as knowledge to these atheists, it must have some basis in reason (it must make sense and not lead to absurdity) or observation (either direct or indirect), or some combination of reason and observation.

These atheists (myself included), do not take seriously the claim that faith is a valid epistemic tool. As such, when a theist claims to hold a knowledge claim on faith, he is stating that he holds it for no reason, and has no experience of it, and yet he holds it anyway. This is quite the opposite of what many of these atheists might consider to be thinking freely. In fact, it really isn't thinking at all, as it is completely arbitrary and without justification. There is simply no thought.  Furthermore, once you hold these untenable claims to be true, it constrains further thought to conform to these indefensible, thoughtless "truths."  And thus is born the idea that theists do not think freely, as they are bound to a non-thinking epistemology called faith.

If atheism is a religion, why am I paying taxes?


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Archangelnamed

Archangelnamed wrote:

Atheists and other non-Christians constantly refer to themselves as "free-thinkers" but I believe they are wrong.

And I believe you are right. I'm an atheist, not a "freethinker". I hate that term, and won't ever use it to describe myself.

In common usage, I see the term "freethinker" as elitist PC garbage in all honesty. I think people should simply be honest about their beliefs and opinions, and not hide behind such a term. You are an atheist or you are not. You are a theist or you are not. Agnosticism is NOT a position between the two. Grow a pair and pick one.

I've run into plenty of twits over the years who will do almost anything to maintain that "freethinker" lable. No matter what ridiculous scenario or philosophy you throw at them, they will never tell you flat out it's fucking ridiculous - even if it is, in fact, ridiculous.

Such people I'm speaking of are typically more concerned with image than substance and are content to wallow in a pathetic no-mans world of non-committal, ineffectual, infantile postmoderism.

Quote:
Psychologically and physically we are trained from conception by our surroundings as to what we should think and how we should behave. Even if it appears that you are a proverbial "black sheep" in your family, I do not believe that anyone can be a completely "free" thinker.

Nor do I. We cannot help but be shaped by our environment and experiences. We all have biases and predjudices. We can only account for and attempt to compensate for such things when we understand them and admit we have them. To claim they don't exist or that you don't have them isn't jut asinine, it's downright dishonest, IMO. If you realize you have a bias, you can at least recognize it when it kicks in - and though it may be tough, perharps weigh what you are hearing in light of that. 

As much as I may disagree with you philosophically, I will agree with you on this.

Nothing gets accomplished when people pretend to be something they are not.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.