February 23, 2010

Opinion vs. Fact

A friend of mine on Facebook posted an article about the difference between opinions and facts. While he and I differ significantly in political views, we both agree that facts -- studies and statistical data collected by reputable organizations -- hold more merit than a rambling individual who has no former training or education. Editorials and opinions are just that. You are entitled to your opinion, and I'll do my best to respect it even if I disagree with it. But opinions are not, and will never be, facts.

Editorials & Opinions: Don't confuse them with facts

You see, like me, she can remember a time when facts settled arguments. This is back before everything became a partisan shouting match, back before it was permissible to ignore or deride as "biased" anything that didn't support your worldview.

If you and I had an argument and I produced facts from an authoritative source to back me up, you couldn't just blow that off. You might try to undermine my facts, might counter with facts of your own, but you couldn't just pretend my facts had no weight or meaning.

But that's the intellectual state of the union these days, as evidenced by all the people who still don't believe the president was born in Hawaii or that the planet is warming ...

To listen to talk radio, to watch TV pundits, to read a newspaper's online message board, is to realize that increasingly, we are a people estranged from critical thinking, divorced from logic, alienated from even objective truth. We admit no ideas that do not confirm us, hear no voices that do not echo us, sift out all information that does not validate what we wish to believe ...

But objective reality does not change because you refuse to accept it. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge a wall does not change the fact that it's a wall ....