Reasoning freely has always been a priority in my life. To me, it means making decisions un-coerced by “the way we’ve always done it” (tradition) or “because I said so” (authority). Arguments from authority or tradition are repugnant to freethinkers, and this is a freethinker blog. Arguments that appeal to emotion will also be treated roughly here, as well as idiosyncratic or suspect evidence that is used to support nomothetic assertions.
Reason Freely is not another atheist blog. Tradition and authority are the source and destination of religious dogma, so freethinkers tend toward atheism; though not all freethinkers are atheists. There are plenty of atheist blogs out there, and I don’t need to step on their toes or dilute their message.
Reason Freely takes a broader view, inspired by freethinker ethics:
- Freedom means the power to reason without external irrational influence.
- Dogma is dangerous and traditions should be critically examined.
- Authority is not justification.
- Emotions are good, but manipulating people through their emotions is wrong.
- Great claims require great evidence.
Reason, to me, means the application of critical thinking about causality, ethics, actions, or emotions. The human act of reasoning can involve logic, criticism, skepticism, exploration, observation, analysis or experimentation. Science is just one part of one kind of reasoning, and is just one (albeit amazingly well systematized) tool for reasoning freely.
Faith is a kind of belief, and belief is a kind of opinion. Reason helps us grow our opinions from facts, rather than “because we’ve always” or “because I say so.” Opinions include not just beliefs, but also ideals, ethics, judgments, and strategies. Our opinions need to be based on facts and developed from facts through logical reasoning. We also need to be willing to analyze our opinions if facts contradict them.
Freedom, to me, is not anarchy; authority has its place in society, but not in the analysis of society (the domain of reason). Here, it means freedom to form your own opinions — to be an informed and un-coerced consumer in the free market of ideas.