I recall a few threads at e-sangha were the Kalama Sutta was analysed, as well as a couple here at dhamma wheel, my opinion is that the Buddha is not encouraging "free inquiring" as we understand it in the west.
In my non-scholastic POV, western rationality has many deep and ancient roots, going back to Greece and Rome. But pointing out two philosophers that mark our way of thinking, we have Descartes, who presented the methodical doubt approach, and Karl Popper with his PS1-TT-EE-PS2 flow.
PS1 -Problem Solution 1
TT - Tentative Theories
EE - Eliminating Errors
PS2 - Problem Solution 2
This is extremely useful when we have no idea where to go, everything is unknown to all of us, and a few are leading the way into knowledge. Since we are all following the lead scouts (the scientists) we don't really have an option but to accept what they tells us, and turn back when told "Sorry, this is a dead end, we were wrong, but please trust us again as we go that way.". Just a bunch of blind men going around until someone hits something, like Fleming leaving is window opened and discovering that fungus kill bacteria ...
While in the case of the Dhamma there a fully enlightened being, the Buddha, who says "There is a path. This is the path. You must open your eyes to see the path, and trust those who see better than you to help you in the path.". As I see it In the Kalama Sutta the Buddha exhorts the Kalamas to investigate reality (open your eyes to see the path), and to submit their findings for validation from those wiser (who already see the path). And who are the wise the Buddha spoke about? I believe he meant the Noble Ones, specially Arahants. So there is one path, one destination, that is known by the wise.
Not comparable, in my opinion.