Som (সোম)
Fact versus opinion
I haven't really been around here much for the past two weeks except to book my lessons, but resurfaced to ask this: <em style="color: rgb(0, 102, 204);">what differentiates a fact from an opinion?</em>

So far as I understand, anything that has no clearly defined right or wrong, correct or incorrect except maybe by tradition or social consensus is an opinion. In contrast, anything with concrete, repeatable, demonstrable evidence for itself is a fact. Let's consider some examples.

1. Prior to 2006, Pluto was the ninth planet of the solar system but it isn't so now. This is a fact. Advanced technology and telescopes have shown that other Pluto sized objects exist in the same region of space, known as the Kuiper belt. If those aren't planets Pluto isn't one either, though prior to 2006 it was because no other comparable objects had been seen in that region until that time.

2. Women are tougher than men. This is also a fact, demonstrated by genetics, physiology, psychology and statistics. Human females have an extra X chromosome in place of the Y chromosome of the male. The X codes for some 800 proteins while the Y only codes for 76. As a result most genes on the second X are prevented from expressing in order to maintain species compatibility but even so women have some 150 odd more active genes. They need them to be able to handle the anatomical and physiological stress of childbearing. It's statistically proven that they also live longer and are less susceptible to certain diseases.

3. Human rights are sacred. This is purely opinion. Biologically there's nothing very special about humans, we are just another species of animal. Accordingly, we have no special rights, let alone those being sacred. It's a tradition or norm we humans have ourselves devised to keep social order in large to very large groups.

3. Polygamy is good / bad. I use the word in a gender neutral sense to include polygyny as well as polyandry, though the former has been far more prevalent. Again, purely an opinion. If human societies had alpha males like gorillas, polygyny would have been natural just as polyandry would have been if we had alpha females like the hyenas. Since we have created supposedly equitable societies, we have largely settled for monogamy - equal opportunity to all.

The list is endless, so I stop with these four indicative examples. Needless to add that our views about other people are firmly in the domain of opinions because they don't say anything factual about such people, nothing that can be considered evidence.

And yet, far more often than not, we simply allow our opinions to override facts even if such facts are in plain sight - or else we just don't bother to look for facts and instead prefer to jump to unfounded conclusions.

<em>Why do you think this is so?</em>
Jun 16, 2020 5:44 PM
Comments · 26
Hi Som I'd like to throw a spanner in the works here.
Some facts don't have concrete, repeatable, demonstrable evidence.

For instance let's say I saw you take an apple from the fruit bowl. You deny it. There is no video evidence and DNA/fingerprints are not available even if they exist.
It is still a fact that you took an apple. You know it and I know it, but other people don't know it.
So my friend Mary believes me, but your friend Ben believes you.

Although it is a fact that you took the apple, to most people it can only be an opinion. Therefore it is both.

To take that deeper our opinion on whether you took the apple and lied about it affects other opinions, such as whether you are a thief, a liar, a bad person, a criminal etc.
June 16, 2020
In (1), the real fact is that in 2006, a group of scientists reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet.(Characterizing this as Pluto changing is misleading.)
In (2), your statement is a meaningless generalization. It doesn't rise to the level of fact just because you include actual facts in the same paragraph. ("toughness" isn't measured by genes)


June 16, 2020
So glad you are back Marlana. (fact)
Som is right, there is some weird stuff going on here currently. (opinion)

I think for the most part people are brought up to not be able to tell fact from theory from spin from downright lie. It helps keep children in line if they don't have that ability, and it helps keep "the masses" in line too.

I remember clearly sitting in a train opposite a man and his small son. He was pointing to the back of a toy package, following the writing with his finger. "See, it says "Do not open."" The boy looked sad but accepted this lie, because he didn't have the tools to call it out.

It is the same for fake news. Some promote it, others counter it, but millions of people cannot tell the difference.
June 17, 2020
Marlana, that's true. Opinions count for zilch in science event though they decide the course of human history. Let's say that there are one or two people here who don't like me for whatever reason so they keep on the prowl to see when I appear and waste no time in downvoting me. That too counts for zilch unless most users here start doing the same. In the latter case, something is wrong with me no matter how steadfastly I deny it, but otherwise it's just another random character acting on their own opinions. Also, one off facts never prove anything in science.
June 16, 2020
An opinion is merely the individual's beliefs based on information that they have collected. Whether or not that information has any merit or whether they fully understand it doesn't matter. People form an opinion based on what they have been exposed to for information and/or what they like to believe.

The facts are the truth. As Hazel mentioned, there may not be evidence to back it up, but facts are what happens when things are believed to be true with some logic behind it if there is no evidence.

For example, Tim may have an opinion that cats are better pets because they are affectionate. But it is a fact that not all cats are affectionate, and many tend to stray from the home while outside, putting them at risk to be stolen or harmed. Therefore it is Sue's opinion that they do not make the best pets. What Tim and Sue think about cats as pets is not fact, but it is just what makes the most sense to them. But the fact remains whatever the truth is.
June 16, 2020
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Som (সোম)
Language Skills
Bengali, English, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language
German, Portuguese, Spanish