Sunday, July 6, 2008

Facts Versus Opinions

It seems people have a difficulty of differentiating
a fact from an opinion. According to Webster an
opinion is a belief or a conclusion held with confidence
but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.
It is more of a personal judgment. An opinion is a
feeling, many times it is based on emotion, or its a
viewpoint. Direct opposite of a person's opinions are
facts. A fact is verifiable; it is real.A fact is based
on evidence; it is not something tobe surmised.It is proveable.

Facts are not debatable. There is no guess work in a
fact; a fact is known with certainty. Opinions are not
solutions to factual problems. Opinions are akin to
feelings. How often do we hear some discuss a problem
or an issue with "I feel that...", or "In my heart and in
your heart you know that I am right or this and that is
true, or "In your gut you know what the facts are and that
I speak the truth about..." These statements are nonsense.
They are the nature of animals. Animals react on instinct to
their feeling; humans do not. Humans have the ability to
think and to reason, and this is done by collecting facts and
then making conclusions. Opinions are not facts, as opinions
can come from many subjective and bias sources. Opinions are
generally logical inconsistencies. Therefore, not true.

Why does this Mike write such a long comment on homosexuality?
He has a religious bias which prevents him from seeing any
other side of a factual argument. He has chosen to block out
reason and the nature of humankind. Mike cannot face the
real facts of life and is forced to accept some unproven
supernatural force for his opinion or set of beliefs.

I am not suggesting that unsubstantiated viewpoints are not to
be tolerated. The Constitution of the United States demands
tolerance. That doesn't mean, however, we have to accept non
factual opinions. What of a person's comments are to be
considered worthy of consideration? What is a person's bias
when writing comments? Whose opinion is more valuable? Is it
my right to make the decision to cut off life support of a
terminally ill family member? Mine or a medical ethicist's
professional opinion? Should a religious belief be imposed over
my private opinion? Or that of a professional medical ethicist?
What of my right to have assisted suicide, if I so choose?
Should a religious law be passed forbidding me of that? Whose
value system is more important? One own's personal decision
or a societal decision? Or a societal decision based on some
one's religious beliefs? Who determines the common good?

This holiday weekend we have heard the words of Thomas Jefferson
often...Here are some more of his words that we should take to
heart: "If a nation expects to be ignorate and expects
what never was and never will be." If we are to be ignorant of
facts and reality, "because the bible tells me so," a democratic
and free people cannot last. Freedom cannot exist because of
an opinion.....

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