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>