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Dissecting Freethought and Humanism

From: Mark T.
Sent on: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:18 AM
This group is very good at raising questions about, and dissecting, various philosophies and belief systems?& their elements.
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Information is presented, pointed questions are asked, and members inspire other members to do their own research (darn you!)...?and?more often than not,?group members draw informed conclusions based on established fact, thoughtful insight, and seemingly valid speculation.
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And often, upon closer inspection the strengths & weaknesses any given philosophy or belief system are more clearly shown. Take our current dissection of Objectivism- it's not exactly coming out "smelling like a rose", is it?
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I thought it would be fun to try and question?& dissect ourselves for a change.
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Dissecting freethought isn't all that easy. There is no established creed or doctrine that all Freethinkers?must follow and firmly adhere to, and no set of dogmatic principles to pick apart.?Freethought isn't even a philosophy, really- though?it can be called a philosophical viewpoint.?"Unwavering adherence" does not apply here... we Freethinkers are free to WAVER!
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One might try to make the case that the rejection of religious/philosophical/political authority, tradition,?and dogma (in favor of rational inquiry & speculation) is in itself, the dogma of freethought. But this is akin to calling atheism a religion (or calling NOT collecting stamps a hobby).
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Obviously, many here in this group are atheist or lean towards atheism...?but atheism, per established modern definition of Freethinker, is not required.?However, one important parallel?might be drawn between the two:
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Atheism is to religion, as freethought is to dogma.
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It would be safe to say that most people reading this at least partially adhere to, or believe in, the philosophy of Humanism. It is probably the closest thing to a "doctrine" that Freethinkers might hold as their own.
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The principles of the humanist philosophy are best outlined in The Humanist Manifesto, version III (a.k.a Humanism and its Aspirations).
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And for historical perspective on the same ideals:
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Read those carefully, when you have some time...
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Does humanism make sense? Is humanism a dogmatic creed? Is it too slanted, or contain any masked?political propaganda? Is it realistic? What, if anything, is missing- or should be changed? What practical applications of the humanist philosophy have done some "good"?in the world? Is it "too nice"? Will humanism be the key to the evolution of the human intellect? Is being a "Humanist" too much work?
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Mark T.
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