Can you provide evidence for your opinion.

  1. TessSchlesinger profile image94
    TessSchlesingerposted 7 weeks ago

    It's not often I'm gobsmacked, but somebody managed to do that to me in one of the threads here.

    The comment was that s/he formed her/his opinions based on his/her observations and experience, and that I was always providing links to back what I was saying, therefore I had no ability to form an opinion.

    My jaw is still hanging.

    It has been the methodology for some decades now that teachers encourage all children to have opinions, and that all these opinions are given equal praise, regardless of how nonsensical these opinions are. The belief is that if one does this, the child will grow in confidence. The reality is that a lot of people with nonsensical opinions now have confidence in those opinions.

    When one gets to university, or when one studies any academic stream (maths, the sciences, etc.) one cannot just have an opinion. That opinion must be backed by fact, and one has to present the steps in one's reasoning as to how one arrived there. This is the basis of dissertations, thesis, or, as they are called in America - essays.

    The process of peer review is necessary because no matter how educated and intelligent, etc. one is, one's reasoning can be faulty. In order to ensure that the correct conclusions have been reached, one's work is presented to others of equal or greater education, and they check it. If everybody arrives at the same conclusion as you do, then that paper is published in a scientific journal.

    Only certain sources are acceptable as reliable. These generally include articles in serious media journals with references to the research, so that the research can be tracked down. It can include the abstracts published within journals. And it can also include encyclopedias. When work has not been peer reviewed, there is generally some mention of it, and then it is not really acceptable as evidence.

    But there's more to opinion than this.

    These days, people think something is an opinion when it is nothing of the sort. When 'opinion' is called for in the legal system, it very definitely means someone who has a great deal of knowledge about something, and that knowledge has been accrued through various credentials.

    Opinion must always be backed by evidence.

    At this point, my jaw is still hitting the ground. I now realize why it is so frustrating talking to some people here. They actually think that their 'opinions' are worth something because they were led to believe in childhood that just because they said it, it had something value.

    Not true.

    An opinion is only worth something when it can be proven.

    So, can you prove your opinion?


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