What constitutes Freethought?
(30-Jul-2010, 02:44 PM)mvish Wrote: Ok you said freethought is opposite of ideology...

Then what is an ideology? The same wikipedia article says that:

“An ideology is a set of ideas that discusses one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare worldview)...“

Will that mean freethought is opposite of "ideas", "worldview" or "way of looking at things"?

Will that not make a person do not possess an idea, worldview or a perspective (way of looking at things)?

Firstly, you are being dishonest. The same wikipedia article says nothing about ideologies. However, the article on ideology does: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideology
If you read the whole thing in context, it becomes obvious that you are observing the colloquial definition of 'ideology' that the article clearly identifies as such, and are ignoring the formal meaning of 'ideology' that follows in the lines just after the ones that you quoted.

"An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare worldview), as in common sense (see Ideology in everyday society below) and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product of socialization)."

The original definition of ideology is the latter. Freethought is not an ideology in the true sense of the word 'ideology'.

Quote:Then you said "it is the belief in evidence-based science and reason.". Yes as you said it is also a "BELIEF"... that mean instead of believing on one thing you believe on another thing. Thus it is one viewpoint vs. another viewpoint -- there is nothing "free" here as far as thought is concerned!!

Of course, it is a belief system. You are confusing between belief and faith. The very act of being sentient consists of beliefs. However, belief without evidence constitutes faith. Life is always about one viewpoint vs another. Where did I claim that freethought does not involve viewpoints? This is what is known as a straw man. It is a logical fallacy. Look it up.

Quote:From a scientific perspective (which is based on physical evidence) there is no such thing called rebirth.

But if you look carefully, it is also true that there is no scientific evidence to proof that there is only “single birth” or “there is no possibility of rebirth”.

Then what made the contemporary scientific community to presume that the humans have only "single-birth" instead of "many-births"?

This shows basic ignorance about science and logic, but let me humor you.

There is no evidence that there are "many births". It is pure fantasy that you indulge in. This is what makes your belief an ideology based on faith.

But you cannot prove a negative. You ask why science rejects "many births" when it has not disproved it. Here you are being illogical. We all reject ideas when there is absolutely no reason for believing in them. But since this form of fantasy is part of your belief system, you seem to think that science must disprove "many births" before you can reject it.

The proof, however, is very well documented. If you think that "single birth" needs proof, then I must only conclude that you don't know the meaning of the word 'evidence'.

Quote:Well the reason behind is, the Judeo-Christian perspective or beliefs is used as the default paradigm by the western scientific community.

Wrong. Now you are just insulting all scientists. Specifically, you are insulting the tens of thousands of Indian scientists. I would venture to say that the above idea is the single least coherent argument that I have seen on this website. Are you seriously under the impression that modern science uses Judeo-Christian perspective as the "default paradigm"

What "paradigm" is that?

Quote:A scientist who was raised from a Judeo-Christian background, "many-births" is something unheard therefore it requires a proof for him or her to believe. Similarly if the scientist is raised from a Hindu background, "single-birth" is also something unproven for him or her to believe in it.

At this point I am seriously starting to have my doubts. Are you for fucking real?

Quote:Thus here the argument is not about science itself as an endeavor, but rather about the "worldview" that a scientist forms the opinion from -- whether it is Judeo-Christian or Hindu.

The fact is, you are so conditioned by your view of the world through the colored lens of religion that you cannot see objective reality. Just as the Christians, Muslims and Zoroastrians of the world, you are brainwashed. Science is about evidence. What you are talking about is pure drivel.

Quote:That’s why we have many Sanskrit literature on scientific subjects and they never contradict "many-birth" view while the western based scientific theories evolve around "single-birth" view as it default paradigm

Bullshit. You don't know what science is. Science is a very specific way of studying the universe. There is something called the scientific method, and there is something called peer-review, which makes the scientific process very different from the kind of crap that you are promoting.

But lets observe what's going on here. You are positing that you have just as much reason to believe in "many-births" as in "single-birth". The only reason this is possible is if you think that pure fantasy is evidence.

Quote:This is just one example, but there are many such instances.

Oh, please don't stop. Bring it on. I'd like to see how many such instances you are wrong about.

Science is not an ideology in the classical sense of the word ideology. But if you do not value evidence- if you don't think that proof and logic are useful tools that the brain uses to distinguish between nonsense and facts, then you would not understand this. You will go on forums and attempt to equate science with complete gibberish.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Quote:1. Came across an Indian lady who claims to have “freethought” and asked if i am also someone like her. I said no, and do not consider myself to have “freethought”. Later I came to know that this lady is a Christian missionary who tries to convert people.

This is what is known as an anecdote. I have no reason to believe in it, and given your inclination, I'm completely disinclined to do so. In fact, I say you are lying. Just a few posts back you did not even know what "freethought" was, and were using the common misinterpretation of it as "free thought".

Quote:2. Many self-styled Marxist, Secularist or atheists have no reservation when it comes to claims to have “freethought”. Such claims are in contradictions as they are furthering their own Marxist, Secular or atheists’ ideology or agenda on the expense of the perceived other ideology.

You are lumping socio-economic and political ideologies with non-belief and calling them all "freethought". This is surprising to me, since you didn't even know what freethought meant a few posts ago. Again, I think you are lying. But there is also a lack of reason in your statement. One can adhere to an ideology and still be a freethinker. This is because beliefs are not always mutually exclusive.

Quote:3. I have also come across people who indulge in anti-social elements but claims to have “freethought”. Since they are not accepted by social norms -- they take an escapist route by taking shelter under the name “freethought”. It does not mean they do not have any ideas or thoughts, but rather using it to justify their anti-social activities.

This tendency of religious people to throw around such slurs is what makes you dangerous. Congratulations, you've earned the banned badge. Not only did not not know the meaning of the word "freethought" a few posts ago, but you are now accusing freethinkers of being morally bankrupt. In truth, it is you who is resorting to anti-social activities by your adherence and defense of a label, the Hindu label. Freethinkers do not indulge in anti-social activities.

Quote:Well there are many more of such instances.... who takes refuge in “freethought” to serve their own selfish agenda and ideology, rather than truly practicing it.

And on with the slurs. 'Selfish' ? Really? What are you, 12?

Quote:Having said all these let me also state what my understanding of “freethought” is in its true sense...

So you decide to redefine what I stand for? Who are you to decide what freethought is? Didn't I point you to a wikipedia article that clearly explained what freethought is?

Quote:A person who is truly practicing “freethought”,

1. Will not claim to have “freethought”

Wrong. There is no such requirement. Ignorant people, on the other hand, will not claim to be ignorant.

Quote:2. Respects another’s viewpoint or ideology and will not attempt to oppose or demean them – even if they do not agree.

Wrong. You are confusing between people and ideas. This is the very antithesis of freethought. Science requires that you challenge false ideas. This just goes to show that you do not understand what science means. Respect for people does not mean that you respect unproven and silly ideas. That is the area of religion.

Quote:3. Will be in a state of indifference to diverse viewpoints or ideologies.

This is also the antithesis of freethought. Indifference to diverse viewpoints is the trademark of religious apologists who cherry-pick what they wish to believe in and ignore the truth.

Quote:4. Do not attempt to prove his or her views as better than the other.

Science is about the truth. It is not about my view vs your view, which is a primitive way of looking at ideas. It is about the evidence. It is about what is objectively true, irrespective of what you want to believe in.

Quote:However, I have yet to see anyone who claims to have “freethought” -- having these attributes!!

I can define a rock as a short jumping pink elephant and then claim that I have never seen a rock. That would make it my failure at not defining a rock properly, not the failure of the rock to be true to itself.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
What a thread :-) You got to wonder what the OP does in real life.
I am saddened by the fact that OP hasnt discovered the great Flying Spaghetti Monster religion, and that he wont be touched by His noodly appendage, in each of his births Wink But then, you dont want to push that "ideology" on him.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has - Margaret Mead
Quote:"Critical Thinking" – Do you think, people in different fields do not have critical thinking other then what the contemporary scientist do?

No. Scientists require critical thinking, but there certainly are those in other professions who are critical thinkers.

Quote:"Evaluating Information" – it is dependent on data, if the data is wrong, the result will be wrong. In my above example of rebirth, if one works on the premise that there is only single birth, all their analysis will be wrong if the single birth theory is wrong.

I've already explained the silliness behind such a view. There is no evidence or reason to think that there is anything beyond this life. It is you who is proposing something new- something untestable. This means that the burden of proof rests on you. It is not a premise to think that there is just a single birth, just as it is not a premise to think that the earth revolves around a single star. Show me evidence of another star and I'll believe. Show me evidence of re-birth and I'll take your words more seriously.

Quote:Reducing Biases from Culture and Upbringing – I gave the example of Judeo-Christian upbringing that causes the western scientist conclude in single-life worldview.

And I told you why you are wrong.

Quote:My question is if “freethought” is based on science, then the next question is -- is it based on a Judeo-Christian upbringing or Hindu upbringing for example?

Neither. Like I said above, you need to stop seeing the world though the colored glasses that your religion is forcing you to see the world through. All religions are absurd. If you really want to know what science is, do some reading. Study the scientific method before you come here and spout nonsense.

Quote:Guided by Knowledge and evidence that fit with reality even if it refutes our cherished beliefs" -- Lets do a reality tests, why do you think the contemporary scientist rely on the premise of single-birth theory even though it has no evidence? Why not the possibility of rebirth? Don’t you think they have a hard time to refute their cherished Judeo-Christian beliefs? Or are we not supposed to question scientist? – oops then it contradicts “freethought” right?

Again, I have demonstrated above why this is a silly argument. But nevertheless, you've got to be set right about the fallacy in your thinking.

You pick one area where western beliefs don't contradict science and then extrapolate it to all of science. This is what is called confirmation bias (look it up). There are plenty of areas where "Judeo-Christian beliefs" contradict science that you conviniently ignore, because those don't support your little theory that the other religions challenge your own superstitious beliefs by using science and reason as a tool.

In any case,it is simply not true that Judeo-Christian beliefs do not include belief in re-birth. They do have a version of afterlife, but it is just not the same one as yours. Freethinkers reject Judeo-Christian superstitions just as vehemently as they reject Hindu and Islamic superstitions.

Quote:Another point of highlight is, science as it is known today has its many limitations.

No one claimed that science has no limitations. This is a straw man. But science is indeed the best system that we have for understanding objective reality.

Quote:It works on invariable theories which do not have evidences.

Completely and utterly wrong. Scientific theories are neither "invariable" nor lacking evidence. Perhaps you do not know what a scientific theory means? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

Quote:Thus a small shift in the base theory can break the whole foundation

Again, you do not seem to know the meaning of the word theory in the scientific context. Theories in science are built upon multiple lines of evidence, comprising of many independently confirmed hypotheses. Existing scientific theories are always evolving, and sometimes they are indeed replaced by better and more comprehensive theories, but this evolution of a theory is completely dependent on the evidence.

Quote:In contemporary science, human = body+mind, and they work on these premise, however the Hindu model is, human = athma(conciousness)+mind+body -- while the mind and body is perishable the athma do not. The scientific view (based on Judeo-Christian model) if flawed many of the existing scientific theories will collapse. This includes the evolution theory.

What a bunch of gibberish. Hindus believe in a lot of nonsense for which there is no evidence, and so do Muslims and Christians. In any case, the Hindu superstitious notion of "athma" has a Christian equivalent that you are conveniently ignoring (confirmation bias). Its called a soul. Sound familiar? You'd like to ignore that wouldn't you? Well, science rejects all such superstitions.

Quote:Thus talking about Analysis again, if the data is wrong (even if it is based on the current scientific theories) the conclusion is wrong.

Gee, thanks Einstein. I was always wondering why scientists are keen on making sure their data is accurate. I should have just given up on the idea of collecting data and ubscribed to whatever fantasies I want to believe in.

Quote:So if you are talking about “freethought”, it is based on what data? Even scientific theories / data as it is known now are not perfect!!

Freethought is based on the idea that data is important. It is based on all data. Analyzing the evidence is the only way that we humans have for understanding the universe. And oof course no scientific theories or data are "perfect". We are all human and prone to error, which is why the evidence is key. Science is a process of making sense of the evidence that we have available to us.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
The idea behind Nirmukta is to build a community space where we are free to criticize dangerous and superstitious beliefs while also enjoying the company of other freethinkers. Believers are of course welcome, but a bit of civility is expected. We are all free to say what we want, but we may not expect that someone else give us a platform to say what we want. There are plenty of other venues where atheists debate with unreasonable religionists. In this forum, only reasonable religious apologists can be tolerated.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
I feel Attachment and emotions are enemy of freethinking, getting offended by opposite argument is weakness of thinking. Its always important keep emotions aside.

and free and critical thinking takes a lot of practice. I often end-up in black and white thinking, and challenging part is realizing it. Free thinker has realize different between intuition and reason and logic.
For me, freethought is the act of practicing rational thought, and the act of bringing new ideas to the table for situations that require unconventional means to solve (ie. thinking outside the box). Bring your thinking hats along!

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