Freethought is using reason to form opinions about reality; independent of authority, religion, or tradition. Freethought includes agnosticism, atheism, humanism, nontheism, pantheism, rationalism, secularism, and skepticism.
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Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any dogma.
The cognitive application of freethought is known as 'freethinking', and practitioners of freethought are known as 'freethinkers'. Freethought holds that individuals should not accept ideas proposed as truth without recourse to knowledge and reason. Thus, freethinkers strive to build their opinions on the basis of facts, scientific inquiry, and logical principles, independent of any logical fallacies or the intellectually limiting effects of authority, confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, sectarianism, tradition, urban legend, and all other dogmas.
Regarding religion, freethinkers hold that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena.
The pansy is the long-established and enduring symbol of freethought, its usage inaugurated in the literature of the American Secular Union in the late 1800s. The reasoning behind the pansy being the symbol of freethought lies in both the flower's name and appearance.
The pansy derives its name from the French word pensée, which means "thought"; it was so named because the flower resembles a human face, and in mid to late summer it nods forward as if deep in thought.