Everyone’s Opinion Is Not of Equal Value?
This short buzz is inspired by a comment by Phil Friedman. He commented on LinkedIn on the share of my post Being a Victim of Illusory Superiority published on BIZCATALYST 360°. I thought of his words long after I read them.
A major danger today, especially on social media, is the wrong-headed belief that, because everyone gets to publish their opinion, everyone’s opinion is equally valuable. At times, that is simply benign arrogance, but at others, it is pernicious falsification.
Phil's articles on beBee have stretched my thinking about many subjects. I wish I had a philosophy teacher like him while I was in high school and later at university (civil engineering students also learn on Logic and Ethics).
I was taught to respect everyone’s opinion until trying to impose their opinions on others. I do believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion, even wrong and misguided. Phil's words got me thinking not only about the value of opinions but also about the harmfulness of misinformed opinions shared on social media platforms, which can lead to wrong conclusions and even turn into real-world violence.
An opinion is a personal belief, judgment, and decision about something, and we can change it when having more knowledge or evidence about a particular subject. If so, what causes people to hold on to their beliefs, even when faced with abundant evidence to the contrary?
What makes people accept someone else's opinion that is not justified with evidence or facts? Or an opinion that is blind to logic?
If everyone's opinion is of equal value, does it mean that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge, to quote Isaac Asimov?
What is the value of opinions shared deliberately to spread false information and fake, even reconstructed evidence?
The last question got me thinking about the freedom of speech—a democratic principle that protects the right to express opinions without government restraint. If those whose opinions might be harmful have the right to share them, and we need to protect those rights, then I ask, what protects us from those harmful opinions and their possible detrimental outcomes?
It is not about being intolerant toward others' opinions. Dissenting views and opinions encourage us to test and refine our own views and beliefs, but unreasonable, unsupported, or outright harmful opinions are not equally valuable.
Instead of further lamenting - after all, it is just my opinion - I would like to hear your thoughts on the above questions.
Image Credit: NYN Media
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