Author Topic: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion  (Read 3454 times)

garion

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The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« on: May 17, 2011, 11:35:17 pm »
Hi there, thought I"d break the ice here.

It seems to me that human logic follows a simple pattern. This pattern, to be put simply is that whatever can not be proven as fact must be broken down into an opinion, and conflicting opinions must be made into fact by a majority influence.

The biggest example here is a real kicker, and that is religion. There's no indisputable proof that there is a god, so groups are formed and labeled and they all try to fight for their idealisms. People are simply afraid to not have a label or an answer for something. Nothing can be just as it is. Every single speck of every single molecule has to be quantified. Even agnostics, those who claim they don't know what they believe in, aren't saying they're giving up on the whole thing entirely, they're just saying they don't know which side they're on.

Now by saying this the pattern will continue by you categorizing me, but that just further proves my point of humanity's need to categorize and understand.

Am I wrong?

Emp_Dragon

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 01:12:49 am »
In essence, I deem your theory plausible. I just wish to add that there are individuals that doesn't fit. People who just accept the world as it comes for instance, without need of explanations. Most people however, let themselves be ruled by fear of the unknown, and thus desperately clings to any explantion simple enough to fit their perceptive and cognitive abilities.
I just accept that there are phenomenons that mankind isn't able to explain now and might not ever be able to. And I see no problem with that.

Brion Foulke

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 01:44:23 am »
Do you think you could state your point a bit more clearly?  I don't really get it.

Japaka

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 09:13:37 am »
Well, i share your opinion with religion, but personally, i don't really care for what created what or why does anything happen, it just exists and it just happens. For instance, i believe in jesus, but not in the church. He was a "perfect" human being if you want, and a really nice person, but that's it, he was a person, and nothing more. Who knows, maybe the bible was a "novel" (i don't know how it would be called at that time), a fantasy story that was entertaining, and the people who found it took it as if everything was real, and thus, we have religion now.

But, i still think that looking for an answer to things is good, what about if we stop thinking? Or stop making theories? We wouldn't exist anymore. This subject goes hand to hand with Philosophy, and maybe someone who knows more about it could discuss this further; but i'm not that concerned about it, living is enough for me. :)
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garion

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 10:10:10 am »
Do you think you could state your point a bit more clearly?  I don't really get it.

Basically what I'm getting at is humans seem to have this drive of wanting to know literally every thing that ever was or is or ever will be. We get so caught up with facts and theories and making every theory fact. (I suppose theory would've been a better way of putting opinion. Maybe that clears things up.)

This drive, of course, doesn't apply to every single person because with nearly 6 billion people on the planet and at least double that currently exist and have existed so to apply any sort of human nature to all people would be absurd. However, for the most part what gets us off seems to be knowing things rather than accepting them for what they are.

charles

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 02:08:38 pm »
Just to note a couple of other threads for some good debate.

The Big Bad Religion Thread dealing with religion (mostly christianity)

Athiest Magical Realism dealing with belief in other things beyond christianity.

****************************************************

What point are you making?  Well what you seem to note is that human logic is quite simply another form of human opinion.  You then state, essentially, that humans follow a pattern of forming opinions about whatever cannot be proven with fact and that these opinions can become as good as fact by popularity and/or others forming the same, or similar, opinions.  You then back this up by using religion as an example.

Possibly more of an opinion in it's self, or an observation to start discussion with.

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On the Religion Example.  What we have are Thiests with various different opinions about a sort of intelligence behind the universe and Atheists with some different opinions about the general lack of it.  You've got the Nilhists, the Existentialists and the Absurdists.

The Agnostics are the only ones who haven't formed an opinion or committed to any of the Theist or Athiest's opinions.  As Carl Sagan said "An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid." and "The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity."

*****************************

If you're talking about us needing to accept things for what they are, that could be argued to be Absurdism.  I suppose you could put down Man's need to know as our constant need to know "WHY?" which has been the driving force behind our species to discover more and grown in knowledge and ability to harness and/or alter the world around us to our benefit.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 02:18:35 pm by charles »
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Brion Foulke

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 03:50:19 pm »
So what you're basically saying is, people tend to feel pressured to have an opinion on things.  People tend to not want to say "I dont know."  Yeah, I think that's pretty true.

Jety Lefr

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 06:45:07 pm »
I've for a long time thought of Logic as something that exists on many levels. These levels while not easy to explain very as each one is obtained. When you gain a level of logic when contemplating a particular subject you may disprove it or find a new way of proving it. I myself usually find myself in the third level. To say the least as well as the obvious, people are normally in the first. Plain instinct and obvious observations. The second is when people start thinking about things. The third is for people who are constantly thinking on subjects and have for the most part exceeded the basic thoughts processes of others on said subjects. I'm not bragging that I'm usually in the third though. I just think about things a lot... (A LOT). Thinking is one of my favorite hobbies. I've made it into the fourth level before, but I always forget what it was I discovered shortly after.  It has only ever lasted a few seconds. It's still too far for me to achieve practically. I also either dreamt of, or for literally less than a second achieved the fifth. All I know is that whether I did or didn't... it was amazing. Needless to say, I have no idea what's in there. Way too complex for me, even if it was a dream.

When you say that people resort to breaking things down when they can't understand them, I'd compare it to people sorting higher level logics into lower levels.
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Brion Foulke

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2011, 06:51:54 pm »
What's more interesting than that is what does it say about you that you break up logic into these "levels"... I think it says you play too many RPGs, dude!

charles

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2011, 07:19:41 pm »
I guess, further to that, most humans tend to believe one opinion or another.  i.e. they go beyond "I think its..." or "It's likely..." and on to "I believe it's..." or "It is..." without proof.

One might also ask, at what point do you suspend disbelief?  Take the Earth being round for instance.  Now I've never travelled fully around the world before, so I'm really relying on the mountain of information provided by others who could all be duped, pictures from outer space that could be doctored and even if I had been around the world I rely on the idea that the pilot didn't just fly around and land randomly, etc.  But from the mountain of information, I use my own human logic to come to the conclusion that the Earth is indeed round.  I could even extend this to the sun where I use my human logic with evidence from satelites that could be doctored, to determine that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which is much larger than the Earth, and not simply that the Sun is a much smaller ball of fire which revolves around the Earth at a distance slightly greater than that of the Moon (which is why we get eclipses).

Sounds strange, but take the example of Apollo 11's trip to the Moon and the conspiracy theories that it was all just filmed on a studio set to fool us and win the race for the moon at a phychological level for people.

I've never looked in depth or done serious studies into the likelihood of man making it to the moon in 1969, the Sun being many times larger than the Earth that revolves around it or the Earth being flat, but I'm willing to take the word of those who claim to have done the studies, experiments or journeys to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt to themselves or who have told others who have then told me.

Does that make me better than those who are willing to take the word of people in the world who claim to have spoken to God, Jesus or Angels thanks to their belief and devotion, not to mention the many people of the past who claim it and the writings in the bible which have supposedly been verified as truth by those who have been in touch with God?  While it might sound ludicrous to believe such people, it was once thought ludicrous to believe the world is round and not flat.

I guess the majority of us are willing to suspend disbelief at some point to believe certain things that we hold as truth.  And in some instances we're content with simply not believing any opinion on something or doing our own work to prove it to ourselves and have no idea.
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garion

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2011, 08:58:25 pm »
Just to note a couple of other threads for some good debate.

The Big Bad Religion Thread dealing with religion (mostly christianity)

Athiest Magical Realism dealing with belief in other things beyond christianity.

****************************************************
Ah, I'm glad you brought those up, because I was scared to try and necro an old thread. (Necroing, for those who don't know, is a term I've seen frequently used to reference someone posting in a thread that hasn't been posted in for a long time.)

I'm also glad that we all have such varying thoughts on the concept. It always scares me in debates when things whittle down to just two sides since more often than not there's multiple facets to an idea.

charles

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2011, 11:56:39 pm »
Nothing wrong with Necroposting in debates.  An old debate is often as good now as it was back then. And you may as well continue working on old discussions, opinions and arguments that have already been voiced.  Heck, I just resurrected an old "End of the World" debate because of the 21/05/2011 end of the world prediction due in two days (05/21/2011 for those in the U.S.  ;) )

I'm generally just glad to see intelligent discussions that don't boil down to people calling others nasty names because of disagreement.  I can happilly think someone is completely wrong about something without thinking they're an idiot and have someone believe that I'm wrong without presuming that they believe I'm an idiot *shrug*

Disagree without disrespect... But I'm probably off topic there *lol*
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Jety Lefr

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2011, 06:31:17 am »
What's more interesting than that is what does it say about you that you break up logic into these "levels"... I think it says you play too many RPGs, dude!
I've only ever played 1.
It's just the simplest way of explaining it so that other people could understand the general logistics of my view on logical enlightenment. To say "levels" would be to put it down onti the first "level," so that it's easy. I'd consider it more complex than that in a reality outside of written words but more into what is experienced. By the nature of my theory that these "levels" can be experienced by anyone who has pushed their ideas far enough but can easily be receded into or lost wholly, and not only that but that they can each give different paths to different conclusions, it would be more accurate to say that I believe logic exists in different languages. It's easy or difficult to learn a new language for different people. When a new language that was not your fist is discovered, different interpretations of the individual things that make up that language are bound to arise. This happens in first languages too. Debate as a whole is for the most part simply arguing over the definitions of things. Given a better language, or perhaps a greater "level," things become easier to understand. More simplistic conclusions/routes to conclusion (or perhaps, more accurate of those things) can be found when exploring logic.

This is how I explain and see logic.
You guys mentioned how some people use words like, "I think..." and "perhaps it's that..." I do this, but only because of my overwhelmingly large conscience. I concentrate very specifically on being the most honest person I can be. I hate to tell any sort of lie. So to make up for that, I use word that allow for the case in which I am wrong. Often I'll do it by stating my beliefs are just that, beliefs or opinion.
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Kilravok

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Re: The Dichotomy of Fact and Opinion
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 12:54:48 pm »
I believe it is really mainly the fear of being not in control that drives us to explore and find all the why and how and what.  If we don't know something, what it is or how it works or why it is, then we can not utilise it, not prepare for it, not protect ourselves against it and not take consolidation in it.  That fear is so strong that when we are faced with something we can't explain we come up with any explanation that sounds more or less believable or at least explains why we can't explain it (The ways of God are blah blah blah etc etc etc....) or why we accept the inability to disprove something as sufficiant prove for it.  Of course there is a God, and of course he is invisible. The fact that you can't see him is all the proof that you need to know that He is invisible. And now that you know that he is indeed invisible, how can you any longer doubt his existance?
On the same concept (or maybe just out of laziness and frustration) the common answer parents give their kids is 'because I said so' or 'because that's how it is' or 'stop asking so silly questions'

Aditionally to that, language forces us to name things, giving things a lable and name and definition. But to give something a definition, we need to know what it is, and the only way to make sure that it is what it is, we need to understand why it is what it is and how it works when it is what it is and how it works or what it becomes when it is something different to what it is.
How can you talk about something if you don't know what it is or if there is no word for it? Where is the point in talking about something if there is no clear agreement on how you call it or that you mean that when you use a certain string of phonetics, and what do you mean anyways when you talk about that strange particualrely shaped or unshaped object, action, time or attribute that you one can hear or not hear or see or not smell at any given time providing it is withing this and or that hour of undefined specification? 
If you don't lable it as a table, how do others know youy are talking about a table when you say 'table? and what is it that makes a table a table? when is a table not a table but a ball? Or are you talking about a window when you say 'table?
Lables are important to comunicate