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No, You're not Entitled to Your Opinion

Posted by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM
  • 284 Replies
4 moms liked this

http://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning.

Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”

A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible.

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

Firstly, what’s an opinion?

Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions. Read more...

What do you think? Do you think an uninformed opinion is, or should be, as valid as an informed opinion?

by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Mrs.Kubalabuku
by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:39 PM
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I mostly agree with the article.  In many cases, you will form an opinion on something within seconds of exposure.  Other times it may take a few minutes, if you are set on not deciding right away.  (Like when served some sort of exotic cuisine that looks quite strange, you're set on waiting to taste it first.)  And once set, opinions take knowledge and research to change.  Some opinions are simply picked up from the social group/culture a person is in and they know NOTHING about the topic, even!  They just know how they *should* react.

So while you will inevitably form uninformed opinions shortly after exposure, I personally don't want to debate a topic with someone who refuses to use facts to back their opinion or consider valid points I try to make.  It happens a lot on here.  I will link source after source on a topic, and the person insisting on the debate won't link a thing.  They don't even try to discredit my sources, they just plow ahead as if typing faster and in ALL CAPS will deter me from the studies, articles, or experiences that shaped my opinion.

supercarp
by Silver Member on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM
1 mom liked this

How can it be? I can say that I think all non-vaxers (for example) have an IQ of 70 or less, but until I test all non-vaxers for IQ level, my opinion is completely invalid.

LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:41 PM
2 moms liked this

I've seen the same thing.

There is an argument style that seems to believe that repetition and volume = convincing. 

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

I mostly agree with the article.  In many cases, you will form an opinion on something within seconds of exposure.  Other times it may take a few minutes, if you are set on not deciding right away.  (Like when served some sort of exotic cuisine that looks quite strange, you're set on waiting to taste it first.)  And once set, opinions take knowledge and research to change.  Some opinions are simply picked up from the social group/culture a person is in and they know NOTHING about the topic, even!  They just know how they *should* react.

So while you will inevitably form uninformed opinions shortly after exposure, I personally don't want to debate a topic with someone who refuses to use facts to back their opinion or consider valid points I try to make.  It happens a lot on here.  I will link source after source on a topic, and the person insisting on the debate won't link a thing.  They don't even try to discredit my sources, they just plow ahead as if typing faster and in ALL CAPS will deter me from the studies, articles, or experiences that shaped my opinion.


LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM
1 mom liked this

You can say that, sure.

I don't think they're dumb, I think they're frightened by the 3 facts they have and can't think about the 30,000 facts they don't have. They feel their fear intensely and mistake that for 'important' or 'compelling' information.

The problem with a lifetime of 'follow your gut' education.

Quoting supercarp:

How can it be? I can say that I think all non-vaxers (for example) have an IQ of 70 or less, but until I test all non-vaxers for IQ level, my opinion is completely invalid.


Mrs.Kubalabuku
by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM

I try to limit myself to 3 replies.  I'll link sources, then ask for their sources 3x, if they don't I stop bothering the topic with them.

Quoting LindaClement:

I've seen the same thing.

There is an argument style that seems to believe that repetition and volume = convincing. 

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

I mostly agree with the article.  In many cases, you will form an opinion on something within seconds of exposure.  Other times it may take a few minutes, if you are set on not deciding right away.  (Like when served some sort of exotic cuisine that looks quite strange, you're set on waiting to taste it first.)  And once set, opinions take knowledge and research to change.  Some opinions are simply picked up from the social group/culture a person is in and they know NOTHING about the topic, even!  They just know how they *should* react.

So while you will inevitably form uninformed opinions shortly after exposure, I personally don't want to debate a topic with someone who refuses to use facts to back their opinion or consider valid points I try to make.  It happens a lot on here.  I will link source after source on a topic, and the person insisting on the debate won't link a thing.  They don't even try to discredit my sources, they just plow ahead as if typing faster and in ALL CAPS will deter me from the studies, articles, or experiences that shaped my opinion.



LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM

That's a good policy... saves you getting into one of those 'no you didn't' 'yes I did' cycles!

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

I try to limit myself to 3 replies.  I'll link sources, then ask for their sources 3x, if they don't I stop bothering the topic with them.

Quoting LindaClement:

I've seen the same thing.

There is an argument style that seems to believe that repetition and volume = convincing. 

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

I mostly agree with the article.  In many cases, you will form an opinion on something within seconds of exposure.  Other times it may take a few minutes, if you are set on not deciding right away.  (Like when served some sort of exotic cuisine that looks quite strange, you're set on waiting to taste it first.)  And once set, opinions take knowledge and research to change.  Some opinions are simply picked up from the social group/culture a person is in and they know NOTHING about the topic, even!  They just know how they *should* react.

So while you will inevitably form uninformed opinions shortly after exposure, I personally don't want to debate a topic with someone who refuses to use facts to back their opinion or consider valid points I try to make.  It happens a lot on here.  I will link source after source on a topic, and the person insisting on the debate won't link a thing.  They don't even try to discredit my sources, they just plow ahead as if typing faster and in ALL CAPS will deter me from the studies, articles, or experiences that shaped my opinion.




Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:44 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting supercarp:

How can it be? I can say that I think all non-vaxers (for example) have an IQ of 70 or less, but until I test all non-vaxers for IQ level, my opinion is completely invalid.

True, but does every opinion need to be scientifically valid or factual?

People can and do have POVs that are not factual.

Heck some can not tell the difference between a fact and an opinion.

One is not entitled to state an opinion as fact and then argue when others disagree.


Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Very good approach.

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

I try to limit myself to 3 replies.  I'll link sources, then ask for their sources 3x, if they don't I stop bothering the topic with them.

Quoting LindaClement:

I've seen the same thing.

There is an argument style that seems to believe that repetition and volume = convincing. 

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

I mostly agree with the article.  In many cases, you will form an opinion on something within seconds of exposure.  Other times it may take a few minutes, if you are set on not deciding right away.  (Like when served some sort of exotic cuisine that looks quite strange, you're set on waiting to taste it first.)  And once set, opinions take knowledge and research to change.  Some opinions are simply picked up from the social group/culture a person is in and they know NOTHING about the topic, even!  They just know how they *should* react.

So while you will inevitably form uninformed opinions shortly after exposure, I personally don't want to debate a topic with someone who refuses to use facts to back their opinion or consider valid points I try to make.  It happens a lot on here.  I will link source after source on a topic, and the person insisting on the debate won't link a thing.  They don't even try to discredit my sources, they just plow ahead as if typing faster and in ALL CAPS will deter me from the studies, articles, or experiences that shaped my opinion.




MsDenuninani
by Silver Member on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:47 PM
4 moms liked this

I like this teacher. 

The way I see it, everyone has an opinion, and people generally have the right to verbalize it. . .they are just not entitled to my giving it any weight. Just because you are able to say whatever crap you've got in your head doesn't mean that it has value.

For me, this is much of the problem with a lot of cable news networks.  Supposedly they are "balanced" if they allow a person on the right to give an opinion, and then allow a person on the left to give an opinion . . . but if either (or both) are giving stupid, nonsensical opinions, how is that actually helpful?  A news organization should call out bullshit, period, not pretend that it is being fair by giving both sides.  Frankly, having an informed audience should be way more important than being "balanced."

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Depends on what informed vs. uninformed boils down to and that could be subjective.

What considers 'facts', like in regards to religion, are not so for others.  They can go back and forth on that aspect.

Sure, I do think we are all entitled to our opinions.  It is how we go forward with them that matters.

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