"By freethinking I mean the use of the understanding in endeavoring
to find out the meaning of any proposition whatsoever, in considering
the nature of the evidence for or against, and in judging of it
according to the seeming force or weakness of the evidence."
Anthony Collins
(1676-1729) English philosopher, proponent of deism
A Discourse of Freethinking, 1713
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Reader comments about this quote:
What a shame that too many only believe themselves to think according to this description, while they do not really think much at all.
 -- David L Rosenthal     
    I believe he is referring to someone that has already opened the door, unfortunately most are unable to find the key.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    He seems to only miss the boat by not explicitly listing the need to remove preconcieved assumptions from the process.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    Force of evidence. Not force of emotion.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    Everyone wants to be able to think freely, but few are comfortable with others' beliefs that are in opposition to their own.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Evidence, under the subject matters color or scope of use is to demonstrate, make as clear as possible, or ascertain a fact or point in issue. Certain evidence, such as circumstantial, is more often than not speculative at best, formed on biases, perceived through prejudices and filtered by pre-conceptions and opinions as is adverse to empirical data. Other types of evidence, such as primary, secondary, conclusive, direct, extrinsic, etc. have to also be measured to a high standard before becoming useful in determining truth. Depending on a most broad definition of evidence, there are also other determinants of discovering truth that may be equal to, or greater when understanding or endeavoring to find out the meaning of free thinking.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Reston, I agree, but everyone is subject to preconceived notions.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
    Left out : HONESTY !
    ... but beware: as my dad said, "Honesty IS 'the best policy,' but he who is honest BECAUSE it is 'the best policy' is not being honest."
     -- Bobble, Charlotte     
    Also, in support of the narrow concept here presented, a current set of affairs as concerns disease and vaccinations is impacted by the censoring of understanding, propositions, judging and evidence. Freethinking is not available when political science by lies, payed for false information, tyranny and despotism permeates ecclesiastical seminaries (government schools), sacerdotal disinformation centers and personnel (government officials public discourse) and sanctified dogma propagators (MSM) replaces biological science and honesty.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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