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Why I am not a Freethinker

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Niall001
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Why I am not a Freethinker

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When I was about 11 or so, I came to the conclusion that there was no compelling scientific or philosophical reason to believe in a God.And even after I realised that most arguments in favour of a God were absolute bullshit or circular, I still found that I believed in God.So I concluded that either my belief in God was based on something other than illogical or circular arguments, or I was pretty fucking nuts. Now I didn't believe it was crazy, but at the time I figured it was proabably more probable than the existance of a god. Then I turned my thoughts to the other things I'd often taken for granted. Things like morality, my sanity, my existence, the validity of logic, notions of truth and objectivity.So I found myself coming to the conlcusions that a lot of post-modernist philosopher types had come to. The problem as I saw it with the fairly logical arguments against the existence of God, objective reality, the validity of logic and all of those things, was that they did not match my experience and intuition.Even if God rearranged the starts in the night sky to read "Hello Niall, God here, I exist", then the atheist arguments against the existence of a God were still as valid as they ever were.When 70,000 people reported witnessing the miracle of the Sun at Fatima, the atheist arguments still held whatever strength they ever had. And they'd still remain the same if 700,000 or 7,000,000 or 70,000,000 people had observed the same miracle.The fact that every human believes in the validity of logic, or in objective reality, didn't change the fact that they were still unverifiable assumptions that one had to make, and assumptions we made without ever noticing.In short, I decided that I had to trust my intuition, because, I'd nothing else to go on really. How could I reject my intuitive belief in a God, but reject an intuitive belief in objective reality, the validity of my perceptions or logic.And that's my problem with Freethinkers, they argue that a belief based on faith or intuition is a bad thing, without accepting that everything is based on faith or intuition and understanding developed through experience.When you ask them about this, they can't really offer up an explanation, they generally just dismiss the notion that you should even question it, describing the question as "useless" or nonsense simply because the notion that logic might not be valid or that an objective reality does not exist does not square with their experience.And that is pretty much why I don't see Freethinkers as being any different to rest of us mere mortal, poorly equipped as we are to understand the universe in which we live. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
MadArchitect

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Re: Why I am not a Freethinker

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Historically, Niall, I don't know if that's an accurate characterization of Freethinking, but it does seem to fit a number of self-described modern Freethinkers. Between your essay and Chris' thread about whether or not Freethinking and theism are compatible, I'd starting to think that what BookTalk really needs to do is concentrate its efforts on determining what it means by Freethinking. And that should start, I'd say, with some in-depth historical inquiry into how Freethought as a philosophical movement began and how it got to its present state. We already have the apparatus for making such an inquiry -- two quarterly readings, non-fiction and Freethought. All we'd need to do, really, is choose readings that were appropriate to the goal of figuring out what freethought is, was and ought, in our context, to be, and actually discuss those readings with an eye towards figuring out what it all means to BookTalk.
MaesterAuron151

Re: Why I am not a Freethinker

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I kinda feel the same way. For example my belief in some form of afterlife is based mainly on a personal reasoning rather then any external logic. Here's how my internal argument goesEvery time I sleep whether I remember or not I have a dream. On the nights when I have no dream I wake up and it is instantly the next day with no experiance or time in between. The dream is completely gone with no recognition on my part. If following death there is nothing my life should be exactly like those dreams, gone, never experianced it, don't remember it just gone. My concious mind doesn't match up with the apparent reality. That could just be some faulty aspect of my concious mind, either way I can't concieve of an overal end of existance. I've also concidered that some people do actually slip out of existance entirely and do not have the conflicting concious thoughts which I experiance.Anyways I'm sure there's plenty of counter arguments on the way. Edited by: MaesterAuron151 at: 11/27/06 9:59 pm
irishrosem

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Re: Why I am not a Freethinker

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Quote:I kinda feel the same way. For example my belief in some form of afterlife is based mainly on a personal reasoning rather then any external logic. Here's how my internal argument goesEvery time I sleep whether I remember or not I have a dream. On the nights when I have no dream I wake up and it is instantly the next day with no experiance or time in between. The dream is completely gone with no recognition on my part. If following death there is nothing my life should be exactly like those dreams, gone, never experianced it, don't remember it just gone. My concious mind doesn't match up with the apparent reality. That could just be some faulty aspect of my concious mind, either way I can't concieve of an overal end of existance. I've also concidered that some people do actually slip out of existance entirely and do not have the conflicting concious thoughts which I experiance.This isn't an argument based on reasoning, personal or otherwise, so much as it is a wish. If you want to believe in an afterlife because you can't imagine the end of your consciousness that's your prerogative, and, well, pretty typical of theist. And, as you say, that belief precludes you from fulfilling the definition of freethinker. However, you can't really say the above statement is either an argument or based on reasoning, even if you tie it in the bow of "personal" reasoning and "internal" argument. It is an illogical belief, that may make sense for you, but does not make objective sense.
Niall001
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Mad I don't doubt but that historically Freethinking was a different beast all together from what Chris, Nick and co are talking about.But in these here virtual parts, it would seem that Freethinking is just a positive way of describing oneself as an atheist while distinguishing onself from those who are atheists because of inherited dogma. It is in that respective that I'm not willing to describe myself as a Freethinker.As for an examination of historical freethinking, sounds interesting. But the catch is, I don't think that there's a real interest here at booktalk in studying Freethinking in the historical sense. The fact is that we're talking about changing the name of the place just so it is not confused with the historical freethinking that you're referring to.I don't think that the Booktalk PTB are really interested in examining historical Freethinking if it means engaging in something that is incompatible with promoting atheism of the Dawkins variety.Now that is not really a bad thing in itself, but it changes the mission of booktalk from being a community designed to facilitate discussion and debate and into a sort of propaganda (can't think of another word, please abandon any negative conotations traditionally associated with the term) machine for atheists.
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Loricat
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I'd like to look into the history of Freethinking....I think the word is lovely -- it connotes the idea of being free to think what one wills, without the fear of censure, and to allow others to think what they will without prejudice. But its denotative meaning seems to mean 'atheist and nothing but'. I'd like to be considered a freethinker, but since I'm hesitant to label myself an atheist, I guess I can't be. MaesterAuron started a thread that I'm also hesitant to respond to...I do label myself 'agnostic', but I don't feel like defending that choice, to either side of this debate. "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds." Loricat's Book NookCelebrating the Absurd
MaesterAuron151

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Quote:This isn't an argument based on reasoning, personal or otherwise, so much as it is a wish. If you want to believe in an afterlife because you can't imagine the end of your consciousness that's your prerogative, and, well, pretty typical of theist. I don't think a wish is the proper term. Death doesn't match up with my perception of known forgotten experiances. Isn't that scientific method? compare unknowns with a known indicator. Here I think we see the difference between independent and universal evidence. Lets say someone wants to determine if ghosts exist. On a ghost hunt thies person encounters and interacts with a ghost for an hour. Independently its a pretty compelling case. Universally its meaningless because he lacks any proof it ever happened besides his own memory and the knowledge that there is no logical reason he'd be hallucinating.To me a present conciousness seems to be strong evidence for infinite continuity. To anyone else it means nothing.Quote:And, as you say, that belief precludes you from fulfilling the definition of freethinker. However, you can't really say the above statement is either an argument or based on reasoning, even if you tie it in the bow of "personal" reasoning and "internal" argument. It is an illogical belief, that may make sense for you, but does not make objective sense.As the above poster mentioned I'm following my intuition which is the point of the thread. Sometimes intuition can be faulty but then again so can logic. Edited by: MaesterAuron151 at: 11/28/06 4:05 pm
irishrosem

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Quote:I don't think a wish is the proper term. Death doesn't match up with my perception of known forgotten experiances. Isn't that scientific method? compare unknowns with a known indicator.Well you can try a different word, but it isn't reason, it isn't a sound argument, and it isn't a theory based on the scientific method. It is anecdotal at best, and it is a resoundingly personal observation. Quote:To me a present conciousness seems to be strong evidence for infinite continuity. To anyone else it means nothing.Exactly, which makes what you claim a personal opinion, not an argument based on reasoning. Quote:As the above poster mentioned I'm following my intuition which is the point of the thread. Sometimes intuition can be faulty but then again so can logic.I don't take issue with your personal beliefs, I take issue with you identifying it as reasoning. I don't consider myself a freethinker either, mostly because I am a fairly intuitive thinker. But I don't mistake my personal, intuitive beliefs as being based on reason. I think it is an important distinction to make. I am sure I am being overly sensitive; but in the U.S.'s current political climate, I am quick to jump on people who misspeak. Saying something or wrapping opinions up in pretty semantic packages, does not make them fact, based on reason. Words are important, their meanings are important.
MaesterAuron151

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Quote:Well you can try a different word, but it isn't reason, it isn't a sound argument, and it isn't a theory based on the scientific method. It is anecdotal at best, and it is a resoundingly personal observation.Exactly which is why it would be extremely foolish of me to try and pass it off as anything more then a personal feeling. If I tried lobbying the idea that its proof of an afterlife I'd be making a huge mistake because its only evidence of anything if a person could experiance my exact perception.Quote:exactly, which makes what you claim a personal opinion, not an argument based on reasoning. rea‧son‧ing: the process of forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises. Quote:I don't take issue with your personal beliefs, I take issue with you identifying it as reasoning. I don't consider myself a freethinker either, mostly because I am a fairly intuitive thinker. But I don't mistake my personal, intuitive beliefs as being based on reason. I think it is an important distinction to make. I am sure I am being overly sensitive; but in the U.S.'s current political climate, I am quick to jump on people who misspeak. Saying something or wrapping opinions up in pretty semantic packages, does not make them fact, based on reason. Words are important, their meanings are important.You seem to be confusing reasoning with something else. Although I agree that what I'm talking about is clearly not fact.I know what I'm talking about isn't scientific but other terms I can't really fit it into as a negative. It does work off of a form of logic.Quote:log‧ic1.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference.2.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp the system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study.I'm pretty sure that the first definition does not apply to my belief but the second below certainly does.
MaesterAuron151

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The method of reasoning was comparison, the branch of study was my own perception. I compared a known (forgotten dreams) with the concept of overal death and found that based on my perception the concept did not apear accurate thus there remains the possibility that my memorys will continue to exist or reassert themselve some time following my death. I also leave open the possibility that my perception is flawed and I simply lack the comprehension to understand oblivion. Edited by: MaesterAuron151 at: 11/28/06 7:05 pm
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