NO YOU DON'T HAVE AN OPINION:
Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning.
Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.” A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible. The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.
Firstly, what’s an opinion?
Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions. You can’t really argue about the first kind of opinion. I’d be silly to insist that you’re wrong to think strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate. The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Perhaps that’s one reason (no doubt there are others) why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.” Meryl Dorey is the leader of the Australian Vaccination Network, which despite the name is vehemently anti-vaccine. Ms. Dorey has no medical qualifications, but argues that if Bob Brown is allowed to comment on nuclear power despite not being a scientist, she should be allowed to comment on vaccines. But no-one assumes Dr. Brown is an authority on the physics of nuclear fission; his job is to comment on the policy responses to the science, not the science itself.
So what does it mean to be “entitled” to an opinion?
If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven. But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred. So next time you hear someone declare they’re entitled to their opinion, ask them why they think that. Chances are, if nothing else, you’ll end up having a more enjoyable conversation that way.
U CAN FOOL SOME OF US SOME OF THE TIME - BUT NOT ALL THE TIME: DID I SAY THAT? SHITE I ACTUALLY MEANT THIS:
IN DENIAL - Meanwhile back in Sydney, A Foolitician has stated that" I did not give these mine plans to anyone. I swear on the bible." HCTV thought that was a little bit cheap coming from an athiest. Remember a Poolitician is a shonky senior politician and a Foolitician is a shonky junior politician - really these are only the two types of Politicians. Sad sad sad.In NSW the ICAC has changed its name to ICU See - and added some teeth> Stay turned as the head turner Mr OBEYED attends the ICUSee for the 10th time - A HCTV reporter overheard from an unreliable source that Mr Obeyed has some shares in the ICUSee??
Supreme Leader The Honorable
The election i s beginning - what choice is there? In Australia non really. It's either boats or no boats. Supreme Leader Screwball's and his elites should retain power. Better to know than not to know. We went to interview Great Big Head (Shiten) however, was unavailable due to a little bit of this and a little bit of that More to come.
HCTV NEWS ALERT: The Supreme Leader - The Holy Bad habits was according a HCTV reporter, sighted at the weather station, to confirm that the climate was not heating up. He was observed removing his clothing to keep himself cool??
THE ONCE GREAT U S of A has announced it has a NEW WEAPON to its armoury - THE RAIL GUN - THIS ENERGY TYPE WEAPON IS BEING ADDED TO THEIR NAVYS - ESPECIALLY THEIR DESTROYERS. What they forgot to mention to anyone was that they also have a mini me version of that weapon - a rail machine gun and a rail handgun. They are very eager to try them out - So they have armed there troops - on the Polish border. They have also added the rail gun to a navy vessel they currently have in the Black Sea. A HCTV reporter tried to interview the USA navy spokesperson about where the technology for such a weapon came from - The HCTV reporter overhead murmurs of AREA 51??? - HCTV reporter was happy it wasnt AREA 52 controlled by the World Order. more at www.apowercopathsjourney.com NOW The Supreme Leader Muhammaid Obummer say's that it will be mothballed due to cost?? - or until the Muzzi Brotherhood takes over; TBC