Why Facts Count More Than Opinions

Why Facts Count More Than Opinions

Isaac Asimov on Opinions

Isaac Asimov on Opinions

All sound arguments start with facts that both sides accept as true. From that common ground, assertions are made, then challenged, and, if proven on the basis of logic, these assertions become the conclusion or solution of the argument.

One major problem that stalls the necessary give-and-take of decision-making in a free society is that, when people aren’t taught logical analysis, the people will fall prey to all sorts of fallacies. One such fallacy seen often is an unsound argument that is not based on common ground.

To give an example, let’s say that I assert that anyone who votes is endorsing the system and is in favor of all the atrocities committed by those elected and those the elected hire or pay. If you reject that assertion, we don’t have common ground to stand on for a rational discussion. I would have to back up and find something related to my assertion that you do accept, then attempt to build from there to my assertion BEFORE proceeding with the rest of my position.

Lack of education in logic means that I may believe a bold claim is equal to a fact. Boldness is not a property of facts; facts just are.

My opinion may be something I’ve come to believe over years, based on many different experiences, such that I don’t even see that it is an opinion — but it’s not a fact. It is, in fact, a conclusion that I’ve reached and, very likely, one that has never been rationally examined by me. Opinions tend to be based on emotion and inference and intuition, not on reason and logic.

Facts count more than opinions because they can be proven starting with common ground and making a sound argument without any fallacies. Opinions can not be proven, merely asserted. You are entitled to your own opinions, but we all have the same facts, even if we don’t know they exist.

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed (May 2016). Mobile notary public and signing agent, freelance writer, and ordained minister. Science fiction and fantasy fan, willing servant to cats, avid reader and collector of books and other stuff. Please see my websites (including this blog and others) for more info on me and what I think about the issues of the day.
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