Big 3: Opinions are not facts


Big Three, Rant / Thursday, December 15th, 2016

In my opinion and its my belief are two phases that are guaranteed to be a precursor to something untrue and likely idiotic. You never hear, in my opinion global warming is a real and present threat. You’re more likely to hear; in my opinion global warming is a conspiracy of the elite to keep the masses subdued.

With the rise of king opinion, it’s as if we have lost all respect for the truth. It’s easier to say something that people will agree with than chance upsetting them. You have a message your core eats up and damn the truth.

This is what populist politicians do or the health nut that thinks coconut water cures arthritis. They are both a special kind of idiot.

It does anger me to see opinion in media taken as fact or shouted out by a politician for votes. The truth should be a powerful incentive in and of itself. If not than the effect option has on society should be a motivating force.

The American president-elect (I still can’t say his name) was elected on opinion. The Australian political system infiltrated by members of his class. Ignorance of the truth makes it’s easier to be deceitful.

There are broadly three areas that really speak loudly to me when I think about opinion, the core message I hope you eat up.

1. A scientist out-ranks your opinion.

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From climate denial to anti-vaxxers (previous article), and all manner of conspiracist in between. You need to be told this message. Your opinion does not equal scientific fact. No matter how strongly you believe or how ignorantly you ignore, scientific fact is superior.

Your opinion is not rigorously tested and has not been stood up to scrutiny. You probably got your opinion through Facebook, which for those not in the know is not a scientific journal. It doesn’t matter what ancient civilisation or health food guru says it, your opinion doesn’t matter.

My message to the rest of us, those who grapple with this insanity is; stop having conversations with these people. They do not have the right to have a fair say, both sides of an argument is not fact and opinion. It is fact and competing fact. Speed of light is constant v Speed of light is variable. Not the speed of light is constant v light through a crystal has healing powers.

To someone like myself the idea of objective fact is comforting and my trust in science is strong. I understand that for many of you this is not true so I have come up with a method to guide you. When you happen upon an idea that contradicts science fact, and you need to tell someone to let them know the “truth”. This is what you do:

  1. Log into Facebook, twitter or your preferred social media.
  2. Check to make sure the other tinfoil hat wearers agree with you.
  3. Stretch out and crack your knuckles in ill-conceived smugness, then
  4. Slap yourself really hard in the face. If your still thinking of posting follow step 4 again or,
  5. Hit yourself really hard with the keyboard or device.

Results may vary and some pain may be experienced. In the long run it will be better for you and society. If the pain persists consult you naturopath (my spell check kept trying to change it to nueropath, it was that shocked.) and take two drops of eye of newt.

2. A global scientific conspiracy.

This is a particularly fun concept. I love conspiracies, I think they add a who done it to the world. I consider them like I do the bible, made up and causing more trouble then they’re worth.

In the future I might write an article on my theory that religious people are more likely to be conspiracy nuts. The premise is that they are trained to believe fantasy. As I don’t have anything but anecdote to go on I might leave it at this point.

The central issue I have with  the idea of a global scientific conspiracy is that they have no reason to collude. There are some questionable scientist but they usually get panned in journals. No one has been able to explain why they would create this grand scheme.

Except for the old chestnut; the elites are trying to control the masses. If this is the case don’t elect a billionaire to be your fucking president. 

To look at this a little closer let’s focus on a global scientific conspiracy,   one that particularly amuses me. The assertion that scientists are in collusion to convince the world of man-made global warming. When the truth is that it’s not our fault. It’s not like we burn anything flammable we can get our hands on, regardless how deep it’s buried.

Conspiracy nuts believe a group of people dedicated to objective fact is less reliable than oil companies.

Who has the motive?

  • The scientists warning us that we are killing the planet by burning fossil fuels amongst other things, or
  • The oil companies who make billions off fossil fuels.

Honestly a conspiracy theory is fun, but so are television shows. Last time I checked we weren’t in a zombie apocalypse.

Hats off to the oil companies, they spent their money wisely. To convince people that they are the good guys is terrific marketing. Now we just have to get them to prove that dinosaurs and humans lived together, who wouldn’t want a pet velociraptor.

3. Hiding Behind Religion as your “Opinion”.

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To be clear; religious belief and opinion are the same thing. The more annoying element of religious belief is that it is uttered with an assumed authority. Most religious people don’t even agree on what their religion means. Your sense of smugness with the <insert religious text> is misplaced unless you can get all your followers to agree.

While we’re on religion, if your God(s) are the real deal why are there so many different kinds. From what I understand he/they are all-powerful, shouldn’t they tell us which one is right? Or is that free will at play?

I don’t underestimate the comfort that religion gives people. Whilst I’m not a believer, I am happy when those around me find comfort and meaning in religion. Religion has helped millions of people through tough times. The problem is that it has also been responsible for the deaths of millions.

Your religious opinion does not hold any more weight than the guy who believes in aliens. What is important is that your opinion should not drive real world decisions. Separate faith and fact, we know one for sure.

The dinosaurs did not exist less than five thousand years ago. You cannot say my magic man disproves your fact, then go and make real world decisions.

People have and continue to die because of your opinion. That is my main gripe with religious guided decision-making.

The LGBTI suicide rate is enormous and it’s because your opinion says they are  wrong. Wars are fought in the name of “peaceful” fictional characters. When we make decisions on opinions instead of fact people die. Next time you need an operation pray to your opinions.

No you’ll take scientific fact then but not if two people of the same gender love each other.


I wanted to say that we live in an age of misinformation where the truth is second to opinions, feelings or the belief in magic. That this time in history was unique in its factual blindness. This is not m true, we have always lived with opinion as key.

It is more sad now because we live in an age where information is so easily at hand. We understand so much of the universe, and it is more impressive than any man sitting on mount Olympus.

For me it is the fact that we understand so much as a civilisation, but accept so little as a people. We would rather believe in fairy tales than acknowledge the scientific realities. Perhaps with knowledge comes power, and we don’t want to be responsible.

Byron

P.S. I get the irony of writing an opinion piece on the evils of opinion.

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