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Old 28-11-2020, 05:51   #1
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FACT vs OPINION

FACT vs OPINION, Belief, or Prejudice.

People think that I'm stupid, because I ask them for money, in exchange of politically incorrect opinions.
Well, I beg to differ.

An opinion, without substantiating evidence, is mere conjecture, or speculation.
When forming personal convictions, we often interpret factual evidence, through the filter of our values, feelings, tastes, and past experiences. Hence, most statements we make in speaking and writing are assertions of fact, opinion, belief, or prejudice.

We value the right to believe what we think is right, and to express our opinions accordingly.
What is not true, however, is that an opinion is a fact. Alarmingly, most people believe that their opinions are facts.
Wrong.
The truth is, that a fact is a statement, that can be supported to be true or false, by data or evidence.
Indeed, many of our opinions are based on emotions, personal history, and values; all of which can be completely unsupported by meaningful evidence.
The naked truth is this:
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But not all opinions are equally valuable.

It takes more information, to make us believe something we don't want to believe, than something we do (cognitive bias & motivated reasoning).
If someone firmly believes some fact to be true, that I just as firmly believe to be false, it is hard for either of us not to see that other person as stupid, disingenuous, both, or worse.
Sometimes, expertise/knowledge/intelligence even magnifies the tendency to engage in politically motivated reasoning. It's almost as though a sophisticated approach to science, gives people more tools, to curate their own sense of reality.

Given our varying cognitive biases, we have to ask ourselves:
not
“Why do they disagree with the science?'
but rather
“Why do they want to disagree with the science?”

A license to ignore reality is a dangerous path to travel, regardless of our political leanings. If facts are somehow devalued, as a currency, it'll be a lot harder to achieve our common goals.
Factual evidence should always trump opinion, belief, or prejudice, in prioritizing the information, that is used to guide policy.

Two writers, who might disagree on many subjects, share a disdainful scorn for Opinions Without Evidence:

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." ~ Christopher Hitchens (Hitchen’s razor)

“Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.” ~ Michael Crichton
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Old 28-11-2020, 05:54   #2
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

A belief is FACT to a lot of people.

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Old 28-11-2020, 06:07   #3
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FACT vs OPINION

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yihang View Post
A belief is FACT to a lot of people.



No it remains a belief. That’s all, facts have some form of demonstrable proof

The “ fact “ that those beliefs are “ mistaken “ as facts are however a major issue behind many of our current problems
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Old 28-11-2020, 06:24   #4
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

I hope Dockhead doesn't mind, but I thought this worth importing to this discussion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I agree. Of course not every opinion has equal validity. Truth is truth. Truth is often complicated and not easily accessible, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

But there is a lot of daylight between "false equivalency", on the one hand, and on the other hand our polarized, politicized style of "debate" where no one listens to anyone, where the whole exercise is about scoring points, where the main focus is in discrediting the opponent, not so much engaging the actual ideas. It's basically a form of tribal warfare carried out via name-calling. "Denialist"; "Socialist"; "Fascist"; "Kind of person who has never heard of x"; "Libtard"; "Deplorable" etc. etc. etc. -- it all goes to the person, NOT to any idea.

And this carries with it all kinds of awful consequences. People don't listen to each other, so no one learns anything from each other, and compromise and consensus on anything becomes difficult. But what even more degrades the public discourse is that when you are focused on discrediting (or ridiculing) your tribal enemies, you forget about ideas anyway -- they are just tools, and nuanced ones inherently won't do -- the best ones for this purpose are just slogans. So you stop thinking; you lose any capacity for critical thought. And that's how polarized societies end up being led by demagogues. Our outgoing president is just the tip of the iceberg -- just wait.

Even believers in conspiracy theories deserve respect, however crackpot their ideas seem to us. They are wrong, but it's not hard to understand how they come to such beliefs (gives apparent order to chaotic or inscrutable events). It's possible to talk some people out of such beliefs if you can manage to have a respectful and logical conversation, gently separating the ideas from the person. Maybe rather few, but it's worth it.

Funny we should be talking about this; I rode in a taxi this morning with yet another (!) taxi driver trying to convince me that the virus is "fake".
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Old 28-11-2020, 06:30   #5
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

Truth is different from Fact though. Basically truth can be manipulated.

What we are usually discussing is usually truth not fact. Facts are often not helpful without interpretation unfortunately.



With covid for example we know very little if any facts, but everything each of us experience is true, to us. But when we present our truth it's always our representation of it.
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Old 28-11-2020, 06:42   #6
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FACT vs OPINION

I don’t agree , what you have is the rise of anti intellectualism

Heretofore it was a reasonably difficult process to build knowledge , any knowledge good or bad.

Most average people simply had nothing to go on and largely stayed quiet. Experts tended to argue in private etc

Remember it is not until quite recent times a large proportion of the population could read and read well ( ie above simple daily requirements )

Then along came radios and TVs followed by the internet and social media.

The key things about these are they are essentially “ entertainment “ activities not the dissemination of facts . Even today with higher levels of literacy and many people with 3rd level schooling , people aren’t habitually reading The lancet or other peer reviewed highly technical presentations

Hence news is now entertainment , this allows all sorts of “populist” groups to hijack facts

Social media then provides enormous amplification and promotes confirmation bias.

In this arena the search for and understanding of hard cold technical facts is utterly lost .

The situation has therefore developed where “ crackpot “ theories largely backed up by “ junk “ science is now given equal weight with actual hard facts and scientific evidence

Compounded with this , is the average “ mans” desire for a quick simple explanation , so much so as to have a distain of “ explaining “ or experts (“we’re done with experts -Michael Gove Brexit )
Sound bites rule , “ quick “ fixes are the order of the day “ build a wall “ etc.

This is why we are seeing very polarised people , where both sides are being fed a diet of half facts , Faith peddled as reality , beliefs being afforded the same standing as facts and all amplified by a 24/7 entertainment system of communications where form is far far more important then function ( not to mention the rise of the cult influencer model )
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Old 28-11-2020, 06:51   #7
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

“Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.” ~ Carl Sagan

“Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?” ~ David Deming
https://link.springer.com/article/10...406-016-9779-7

"In 1979 astronomer Carl Sagan popularized the aphorism “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (ECREE). But Sagan never defined the term “extraordinary.” Ambiguity in what constitutes “extraordinary” has led to misuse of the aphorism.
ECREE is commonly invoked to discredit research dealing with scientific anomalies, and has even been rhetorically employed in attempts to raise doubts concerning mainstream scientific hypotheses that have substantive empirical support ...

... The crux of the matter is that in order to properly characterize a claim as “extraordinary,” there must exist weighty evidence of the exact antithesis. A claim or theory is not “extraordinary” solely because it is novel, unusual, or is in disagreement with human consensus. The claim that a rock will remain suspended in air when released from the hand is extraordinary because we have an extraordinary number of observations to the contrary. But a claim that it is possible to construct and operate a heavier-than-air flying machine is not “extraordinary,” even though we have overwhelming evidence that objects heavier than air fall to the ground. The two instances are not exactly comparable. A heavier-than-air flying machine is an object, but it is a unique object. Objects that we may have observed falling to the ground, such as stones, do not have engines or wings. It does not matter that we may have observed falling stones ten million times: a stone is not an airplane ..."
Morehttps://link.springer.com/article/10...406-016-9779-7
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Old 28-11-2020, 06:55   #8
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

Reality is not a fact....We cant prove we are not in a simulation.

Like dock head said all we can do is try to nicer to each other.
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Old 28-11-2020, 07:14   #9
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yihang View Post
Reality is not a fact...
That Americans, for instance, have certain (Constitutional & other) rights, is true, in a metaphysical and legal sense, even though, we have no external verifiable (empirical) evidence to support that belief.

For example, the claim that all men are created equal, is falsifiable by self-evidence.
We could make endless empirical observations, without finding even two people, who are precisely equal in size, beauty, strength, intelligence, or wisdom.

Nonetheless, the axiom of equality must be accepted as self-evident, in order to have just government. Accordingly, we assume it to be true without external evidence.
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Old 28-11-2020, 07:17   #10
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

In ‘The Ethics of Belief’, William Clifford gives three arguments as to why we have a moral obligation to believe responsibly, that is, to believe only what we have sufficient evidence for, and what we have diligently investigated.
If you believe this is an exaggeration, think about how beliefs, fashioned in a cave in Afghanistan, lead to acts that ended lives in New York, Paris and London.
If there was ever a time, when critical thinking was a moral imperative, and credulity a calamitous sin, it may be now.

“THE ETHICS OF BELIEF” ~ William K. Clifford
http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/Clifford_ethics.pdf
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Old 28-11-2020, 07:23   #11
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tan...althy-nations/

more than half of American adults (55%) say they pray daily, compared with 25% in Canada, 18% in Australia and 6% in Great Britain. (The average European country stands at 22%.) Actually, when it comes to their prayer habits, Americans are more like people in many poorer, developing nations – including South Africa (52%), Bangladesh (57%) and Bolivia (56%) – than people in richer countries.

Looks like its true that the British sent all their religious nuts to the US.

You can be sure politicians running for office know about this stat.

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Old 28-11-2020, 07:34   #12
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

Complicating simply concepts seems to be fashionable here - All of this can be succinctly described in two words - perception bias.
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Old 28-11-2020, 07:38   #13
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

On the logic that existed prior to the advent of sophistic (none sense word-based) Western philosophy:
TLDR; "Truth" is a none sense word that closest approximates "reality" which, if science and maths are to believed, is a nut impossible to accurately crack in half.
----------------------------------------------------
Who knows best how to lose weight?
-The doctor?
-The fat man?
-The sknny man?
If the doctor knew best, people wouldn't be fat, but the doctor has a degree/status. If the fat man knew best, he wouldn't be fat, but he is most likely to have spent the most time thinking about the subject. The skinny man probably never had to learn about what makes people fat and has no reason to do so, but he is skinny and can appear to be an expert in the matter.

Who knows best how to prevent a car from breaking down while crossing the desert?
-A car manufacturer?
-An expert mechanic?
-A desert towtruck driver?
If the manufacturer knew best, cars wouldn't break down in the desert, but the manufacturer is the creator. If expert mechanics knew best, desert towtruck drivers wouldn't exist on the Earth. Thus desert towtruck driver is positioned to see what slips through the cracks, but the better the mechanics and manufacturers, the hungrier the mechanic's children, the lower the fidelity ot the towtruck driver's advice.

So "who knows the best" is an exceedingly important question, where no single perspective can ever approximately completeness, while those who see failure routinely are, by nature, best poised to see what everyone else misses.
------------------------------
For a species dependent on pattern recognition to survive and thrive, pattern recognition is critically important, a rate limiting step. He with the best pattern recognition skill has the best survivial benefit......for the species vs for the self...so it's important to know whose behaviors are fundamentally focused on which perspective (species vs self). But yesterday's sociopath (behavior of the Panama Canal's construction manager) is today's societal growth enabler...

There are two types of patterns in this world: chaotic and symmetric. No, that's wrong, there's only 1 type of pattern in the universe: symmetric patterns (if Newton's 3rd law is to be believed). Most importantly, every constituent of a chaos pattern is somehow a part of some other symmetric pattern, even if we can't figure out the feedback loops (symmetry). Fortunately English language fails us (or, at least the image in our head that appears when we think of English words...our neurolinguistic programming fails us).

*me (PIE language conjecture) = what you see after mowing grass: cut grass...~tea leaves...a chaos pattern
*skei (PIE) = what you get after cutting a pattern in half = symmetrical halves
*mendh is the capacity to recall patterns.

It's practically impossible to *mendh (learn) from *me (chaotic) patterns as they lack order and practically cannot be memorized. *skei patterns are by nature organized, can be memorized, and are ubiquitous in nature. The more you look for them, the more you see them, the easier new ones are to see.
*me = root of mathematics, *skei = root of science

But as a matter of ancient logic, proven with the most advanced technology and theoretical physics of today, you cannot know what is in, precisely, the middle of anything (e.g. a *skei pattern). Insofar as the middle of anything is the "truth" (or "reality") any reference to the "truth" as being held by someone is just BS. "Truth" is, really a none sense word, while it is the basis of Western philosophy and tossed about in court rooms as a matter of routine (as if, with enough effort, you can meet the real Santa Claus or something).

Eastern philosophy, in contrast, is ultimately about recognizing the evolution of repetitive patterns occurring over time. By nature, everyone's on-board/innate pattern recognition uses this system. The innate system...seeking the path of least resistance may be literally led astray...by soothsayers who attempt to convince others that THEY have determined some magical short-cut. Typically these people are rich and only good at recognizing patterns associated with extracting wealth from others. They suck at recognizing the ubiquitous *skie patterns, but they excel at language skills.

Bears mentioning that Eastern cultures are doing pretty well with Covid and are otherwise eating the West's lunch economically (where it's curious who in the West is facilitating the sale of said lunch).

An ancient riddle solved long ago: so what is the only pattern that, if cut in half, retains the image of it's original self....and not two halves of it's original self?
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Old 28-11-2020, 07:40   #14
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

All tooooo funnny!!!!!!


Some guy said; Humanity is abhorrent.

Although obvious and self evident.....all one has to do is open their eyes for 10 minutes and take a real unbiased look and there is more than enough evidence.

The one redeeming point is that it's better to laugh than cry.

So back at it....expound and regurgitate until the cows come home but you will never change the FACT that......

Humanity is abhorrent
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Old 28-11-2020, 08:22   #15
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Re: FACT vs OPINION

Oh, my. We're going deep today.

I could debate philosophy all day. But the single most pressing issue on my mind, and I'd go so far as to say facing Western societies today, is this:

What can I DO about it?

I have friends, acquaintances and loved ones who have totally committed themselves to one or the other end of the political spectrum. They only watch, read and listen to the most extreme far-right or far-left media. Everyone else is the enemy. They tolerate no nuance, and no amount of reality can interfere with their world view. Whatever the leaders and pundits in their particular tribe say today is 100% true, even if it's the opposite of what they said yesterday.

These are not stupid people. They are not bad people. Yet they gladly drink the proverbial Kool-Aid.

Do I, do we, have any obligation to these people? Is it possible, and do we even have the right, to try deprogramming what amounts to essentially cult membership?
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