Thursday, October 29, 2015

God and Obamacare: Fact or opinion?

The fact-opinion distinction is less than clear. By fact do we mean something which can be true or false, or is it something that can be proven true of false. Is an opinion something that is neither true nor false, or is it something that cannot be proven true or false. 

There are a lot of things that can be true or false, about which evidence is certainly relevant, which nevertheless there is no proof that ought to convince all reasonable persons. The existence of God is one of them. Whether Obamacare is doing more good than harm, or harm than good, is another. 

5 comments:

John Moore said...

A fact is true. It cannot be false. It doesn't matter whether the fact is proven (by and for humans) to be true. Some facts are true despite being unknowable.

An opinion is either true or false. Again, it doesn't matter whether an opinion is proven true or false - it can still be an opinion either way. And again, the truth or falsehood of some opinions is unknowable.

We've tried for thousands of years to find (overwhelmingly convincing) evidence of God's existence. We've barely tried at all to find evidence of Obamacare's benefit. Not a very good comparison, I think.

Johnny-Dee said...

The "fact-opinion" dichotomy of beliefs is obviously false and it has undesirable ideological consequences. Check out this excellent op-ed by an excellent philosopher that spells out some of the fallout from teaching this false dichotomy to our public school kids.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/02/why-our-children-dont-think-there-are-moral-facts/?_r=0

Ilíon said...

VR: "Is an opinion something that is neither true nor false, or is it something that cannot be proven true or false."

When the word is properly used, it is neither of these (false) options.

"That's just your opinion" is the battle-cry of fools.

oozzielionel said...

"Opinion" has replaced the word "judgment." Both terms have in common a mental process of discernment to determine a person's position on an issue.

In connotation, opinion is positive. Not having an opinion is considered almost irresponsible. Expressing one's opinion has risen to a right. There is no need for an opinion to be based on careful consideration, research, facts, evidence, or sound reasoning. An opinion may be based on feelings or intuition. An opinion has not have to logically consistent with one's world view.

Contrary to this, "judgment" has negative connotations. A judgment is harsh, perhaps even bigoted. A judgment is often intractable, behind the times, and repressive. We are not to judge others. Ironically, we judge those we consider judgmental.

The fact-opinion dichotomy is being used to marginalize theological statements. SNOPES.
Can we long for the day that we can judge the facts again?

Vishal Mehra said...

Existence of God can be philosophically demonstrated Thus, it is a fact and not an opinion.