Friday, March 04, 2011

Opinions, facts, fallacies and education

The other day someone posted some ridiculous drivel on a Facebook website that I had “liked” so I responded with a kind of tongue in cheek response. The person sent me a facebook message presenting their opinions as facts, jumping all over without addressing the original subject at all in some strange attempt to convince me that I was “wrong”.

Here are a couple of thoughts that I tried unsuccessfully to explain to this brain dead liberal.

Some people have opinions that are more educated and some people have opinions that are less educated. No one has a “wrong” opinion. In my experience liberals research one side of an issue without considering alternate opinions or arguments. These are what I would consider less than educated opinions.

History repeats itself. Right now the pseudo-intellectual elite in the United States is trying very hard to repeat the mistakes Rome made; by making heros out of orators, by increasing social programs and impeding commerce to the point where the tax burden practically eliminates commerce, and by eliminating basic military ground forces in favor of “heavy cavalry”. People who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it and in my experience liberals typically ignore history that does not support their opinions.

The jobs created over the last two years have reduced the real average wage to $8.94 (BLS press release Feb 17 2011) with an average work week of less than 35 hours. Yep, these jobs are part time un-skilled labor that will result in near zero federal tax income.

People need to be able to tell the difference between facts and opinions. “John ran fast” is an opinion. “John ran 100 meters in 6 seconds” is a fact, well use of the term run in a factual statement is debatable even though I believe the velocity traveled does qualify as “running”.

People really need to understand logical fallacies. In my experience people who describe themselves as liberal democrats often ignore logic fallacies or incorrectly identify logical fallacies.

In the end the uneducated person messaging me told me I was being rude (typical, if you can’t win an argument attack your opponent for a perceived slight no matter how ridiculous, “you are insulting me”, “you hate Jews”, “you hate blacks”, “you hate women”, etc). Every time you hear someone accusing someone else of prejudice, bigotry, insulting behavior, etc, remember that those are logical fallacies designed to change the topic from the original issues, usually by the loser of the argument.
I explained that they were the one being rude for demanding that I accept their opinion as “truth” even though they supported their opinion with nothing more than indignation.

There are three important things I would like you to take from this blog, and one key factor in education.

1: No one has a “wrong” opinion, some opinions are just more educated than others.

2: Education is a process, not an achievement. Edu-snobs and pseudo-elitists will demand you recognize their academic achievements and concede your position based on those academic achievements while they ignore facts. This is the least educated opinion possible.

3: When someone claims you insulted them, ignore them, refuse to apologize and stay focused on the issue (unless you really did deliberately insult that particular person or group). Use of sarcasm is not an insult although some people will take it as insulting in an attempt to deflect from their ignorance and lack of education on a subject.

Key: Have fun exploring each others opinions and learning from each other.

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