Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago · 1 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Everyone’s Opinion Is Not of Equal Value?

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 Friedman

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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Sabah Mikha

Sabah Mikha

3 months ago #41

There are definitely some opinions which are more open ended - what happens after you die? - and some that are much less so. I was raised to be respectful of different opinions, but I think we all have had one or two people who have opinions that push our limits. Thanks for the post!

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #40

#52
Thank you, Jim, for the kind words. I like to be seen as a knowledge seeker. We both agree about Phil. He is indeed one of a kind and looking forward to reading more of his thoughts, whether articles or comments. I have searched for Thomas Jackson on LI and read his latest posts. You're right about him and his writing style. I started to follow him. Thanks again for commenting. I also read your posts here and on BIZCATALYST. :)

Jim Murray

Jim Murray

4 months ago #39

I hear what you are saying about Phil...he's truly one of a kind. We wrote about 30 columns together and I learned a hell of a lot. Regarding your topic though...it's an interesting question, and I would bet that a lot of people don't think too deeply about it. At the end of the day, I can only have one opinion and that is mine. As a writer, I just aim for clarity. I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything, because when you strip all the pretentions away from it, it's really just self-expression. People know what they feel, but the open minded people like to hear other opinions. Sometimes they are influenced by them. Other times not so much. I read your stuff all the time. You are a seeker of knowledge, Lada. And I really like that about you. Seek and ye shall find, or words to that effect. I don;'t know if you are familiar with Thomas Jackson. I read him on LinkedIn all the time. He writes wit ha purity that I find incredibly refreshing. He genuinely does not care if anybody reads his work. He does it strictly for the gestaly of getting it out of his head.

Anush Wayne Karson

Anush Wayne Karson

4 months ago #38

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Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #37

#42
I sometimes look at things from the point of view of my profession. You could call it "déformation professionnelle." :-)

John Rylance

John Rylance

4 months ago #36

#46
True, but remember its always hard to go against the flow (current opinion). If you want to change your mind. The only thing that is certain to ebb and flow consistently is the tide. If you go with the flow you have to believe you are making the right decision.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #35

#45
Yes, it's always easier to go with the flow. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #34

#34
Thank you Debasish Majumder for your continuous support and the share.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #33

#33
#35 #36 #37 #38 Roberto De la Cruz Utria Hi, Roberto, Thanks for sharing your opinion about opinions, and expressed it so clearly. You said you know that the earth is round and that black holes are not white. --𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥, 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘪𝘥, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦.-- It means that we should always question what we know and what we believe is true, and change our opinion when having more knowledge or evidence about a particular subject. Understanding all narratives/opinions/beliefs is of utmost importance in making more ethical decisions about difficult subjects. There’s no doubt about that. The history gives us many more examples. Galileo, Heinrich Schliemann, Darwin, to mention only a few. Almost 150 years after the Darwin published “On the Origin of Species”, the Vatican found that there was probably some truth to his narrative. As I commented on LI, the willingness is needed to examine dissenting views and opinions from all the different sides, and critical thinking to understand the issue and separate truth from fiction. But also, some opinions don’t need further examinations to separate truth from fiction. Like when someone wrongly believes that Earth is flat. :)

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

4 months ago #32

lovely buzz Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic highlighting the adversities of social media and its inherent strength to cause detriment as well good intent. enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz.

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

4 months ago #31

#31
Lada, I don't mind what you call me. Engaging in the conversation is what is important to me. And so it goes.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #30

#27
Sorry Jerry, I called you Jeff. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #29

#27
Thank you for reading and commenting, Jeff. I do not question freedom of expression, but the equivalence of opinions express on social media. Including mine. :) I agree that our task is to sort out truth from fiction by thinking critically, questioning everything, by taking nothing at face value, by determining for ourselves what we think and do. Many opinions voiced from public platforms are unfounded and consequently harmful but nevertheless accepted. They are shared not only because of ignorance or lack of education but deliberately. Everyone's opinion is not of equal value. It is my opinion.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #28

#26
Mohammed, you gave us more questions to think about. :) There will always be far more questions than answers.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #27

#25
Good morning, Greg. Thank you for the detailed explanation, and giving many examples. What amazes me the most is that we see biases everywhere but are unaware of our own biases. It is, indeed, frustrating. But we are just humans.

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

4 months ago #26

Lada, In order to assure freedom of expression we must accept the variations in opinions. It is our task as well to sort out truth from fiction knowing full well that eyewitness reports are at best opinions. Anything that "Everybody says" is at best a supposition and must be strained through the facts. Opinions should not be acted on unless they are informed by facts clearly displayed and repeatable like scientific experiments or engineering equations. That is why so much legislation is so damaging. It is based on opinions that are not those of some of the people subjected to them. And so it goes.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 months ago #25

What if opinions are baseless, besmirched and blurred? When one finds evident truth, then why fall into fallacies? Why cling to selfish stories and vague views when one finds truth as truth. Verily, with obscure opinions, we transgress more, and by the uses of truthful thoughts we enliven our hearts and souls with more beauty and grace.

Greg Rolfe

Greg Rolfe

4 months ago #24

(continued answer) If you notice how a teacher sets up their room where pictures are set and what is positioned by them. Again subtle but please remember these students sit in that room for 45 minutes a day for months. Subtle works. This last example of room setting was caught by a fellow parent at their school also at the end of 2019 and brought to the attention of the principal where he quickly had the pictures removed. Bias in teaching is as old as time. Both my parents were teachers until they joined the mission field. (sorry again after rereading this is sounds like a cry saying believe me I know instead of simply giving you the examples you asked for.) Art, word choice, classroom setup, who is asked to answer questions (based on how you know how they will reply, I have used this one many times myself), What they spend their time promoting, or who they promote. Martin Luther King was an amazing gentleman but who was Abraham Lincon again? I could spend pages talking about how history is butchered (please notice word choice) and the lack of teaching of geography (also a subtle bias as well as just a travesty). Did any of this help??

Greg Rolfe

Greg Rolfe

4 months ago #23

#23
Hello again. Bias is often found in a method or more accurately in the comments during teaching. The examples used by the teacher, I have even seen them in word problems in math. In many schools in America, you will/hear see anti-gun comments. One very real example I was very frustrated by was the last time I was in the High school my son attends at the end of 2019. The art department filled the halls of the school with anti-bulling posters. Normally this would go unnoticed except that the last time I noticed deaf and dumb did not mean unable to hear and stupid. But apparently, here it does. Now as to bias, the teaching was guided to direct the attention of the children to something that did not exist. My wife worked with the deaf as a translator, she never noticed any, and I mean any issues against her students or any of the other students. This form of bias is subtle but the art department is the greatest source of bias teaching in the world, (sorry that statement is solely based on my personal experience in America and South America and my and my daughter's study of art in college where the bias was hardly subtle).

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #22

#19
Hi Greg, you made an interesting comment, as always. I was intrigued by your words about bias in teaching. Can you give some examples?

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #21

#18
Thank you, Franci! I agree with you, we don't have to listen or believe what we hear or read. But also, hate speech covered by freedom of expression can harm and lead to evil ends because there are always those who listen and believe. :(

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #20

#18
Thank you, Franci! I agree with you, we don't have to listen or believe what we hear or read. But also, hate speech covered by freedom of expression can harm and lead to evil ends.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #19

#13
Good morning, Ken! Here is 6 AM, my favourite time to read and comment. :) From the link you provided, I'd like to highlight this: 1. Freedom of speech, or freedom of expression, applies to ideas of all kinds, including those that may be deeply offensive. 2. Governments have a duty to prohibit hateful, inciteful speech... such as when it violates the rights of others, or, advocates hatred and incites discrimination or violence. My conclusions (opinions): -Protected speech always has exceptions. -Free speech does do a lot of harm. -The right to express whatever you think is, many times, inversely proportional to the value of what is expressed.

Greg Rolfe

Greg Rolfe

4 months ago #18

#14
Hi Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic education is very relevant but I am sure you are very aware even education is not without bias. I have studied in three countries and each held a bias in their teachings. Opinions are based on bias. The ability to process input and target understanding can, not must, produce a judgment. I have no issues with varying opinions in fact I am learning to appreciate them (slowly). You made the statement "and opinion that is blind to logic", that is my frustration. But as one who is wiser than I has already said "that is simply my opinion" blessings

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Opinions are opinions but we don't have to listen or believe what we hear or read. "Delusions believed by billions are still delusions and the truth of one humanity embraced by even one human is still the truth.” – Abhijit Naskar Excellent post Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #16

#16
Hi, Gerald. What I meant to say is that everyone has the right to express their opinion. In Croatian, the phrase “everyone has a right to their opinion(s)” sounds perfectly logical. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #15

#10
Phil Friedman, thank you very much for reading and commenting. Thank you also for the kind words about my writing.🤗 I know you are not active on beBee anymore, and I appreciate that you visited the site just for my post. :) I recall your posts and long comment threads with hundreds of comments. As I understand the concept, there are two types of censorship. One type, as you said, is before the fact, i.e., before the expression is made public, and the other type implies censoring after the idea, information, or expression is made public. It is said that prevention is always better than cure. But also, every cure is potentially harmful.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #14

#5
Greg, you said that the problem is our ability to have access to accurate information, but also how we process that information. For me, the ability to process and rate information is even more important. It must be encouraged by active learning and developing critical thinking skills. Easier said than done. :) I echo the words of Zacharias, that education is of paramount importance. Although there are many who lack access to knowledge (education), as well as those who are not aware of the lack of knowledge, there are also those who are willfully ignorant, they know they are wrong but continue on with their opinion. We, humans, are all different. Perhaps everyone has a purpose and role, even those who are ignorant or nefarious. Maybe ignorance exists with the purpose. After all, we all come into the world ignorant. :)

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

4 months ago #13

Amnesty International, Lada, states what I believe to be a reasonable and fair approach to this subject, way better than I could. Try this link: https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/freedom-of-expression/

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #12

#3
Phil is indeed the ultimate benchmark when it comes to conveying a message and providing informed opinions. I don't have a problem with ignorant opinions if people behind those opinions are reasonable because reasonable people can change their opinion when faced with contradictory evidence and logical arguments. After all, each one of us is ignorant in a whole range of areas of knowledge. But when someone forms a strong opinion about something they don’t understand and firmly convinced of that, then it is best to avoid any further argumentation.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #11

#2
Harvey Lloyd Harvey, I am not as bold as you in presenting my opinions for review, though I agree it is a way to self-exploration. But, in my view, not every opinion or idea is worth sharing in public, i.e., publishing on social media. I need to be sure, to some extent, that my opinion "holds water." :) You raised an important issue that is separating problems from opinions. Many times we reject someone's opinion because we don't like a person behind that opinion, despite the seriousness of the issue being pointed out. On the other hand, we accept someone's opinion because we consider a person an expert in the field. We could be wrong in both cases.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

4 months ago #10

Thank you, Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic, for the kind words. A couple of brief points, if I may. . 1. The concept of censorship is confused in some people's minds. Censorship is always before the fact. Holding people accountable for what they say and publish -- for example, by suing for libel or defamation of character -- is NOT censorship. So too, holding someone responsible for needlessly yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater and thereby causing injury due to the panic which ensues, is not censorship. Neither, for that matter, would holding someone responsible for disseminating false medical advice that results in injury be censorship. These are simply examples of applying common sense laws about how some instances of speech and publishing can be damaging to people and should be discouraged. . 2. While everyone may have the inherent right to speak their mind, nobody has an obligation to listen. Or to publish what people say just because they say it. Which is why a private company kicking someone off a social media platform for hate speech or spreading false information or rumors is also NOT censorship. You raise a number of important and interesting questions here for discussion. Which is why I always look forward to seeing your posts. Best regards. -- Phil F.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #9

#3
Thanks for the share! I'll comment more later.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #8

#3
Thanks for the share also. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #7

#3
Good point, Pascal. Opinion and propaganda are two different things but very tricky to distinguish.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

4 months ago #6

#1
Thank you for commenting, Zacharias. We are both lifelong learners and understand the importance of education. Philosophy, especially ethics, is important for engineering. I intend to write an article on the subject when I have more time.

Greg Rolfe

Greg Rolfe

4 months ago #5

The freedom to express an opinion is essential. But as Lada mentioned what happens when that opinion intentionally laced with an intent to mislead or hurt. Do we censer that opinion? If so, who decides when that opinion is harmful? We have seen that very issue displayed at the highest level. So this question is hardly mute. The problem is not an opinion as both Pascal and Harvey have noted. The problem is our ability to have access to accurate information. Or as also mentioned the ability to accurately or at least use tested ways of processing that information. Pascal called it propaganda or opinion, have we learned how to tell the difference? In my opinion, censorship is not and will never lead to the benefit of all, it instead is used to silence an unpopular opinion regardless of its validity.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 months ago #4

#3
Pascal Derrien I think we are all coming from the same baseline, for the most part. The larger issue is the pyramid that always forms when ever humanity is involved. I think the words you chose to highlight, really define the "how" do we deal with the pyramid. Wisdom, money, wealth and poverty all adjust themselves within the pyramid of social success. Depending on social, political leanings you see inhibitors to those below others in advancing. Somehow we believe that the pyramid structure is bad. We see this structure all through nature and even within evolution theory the pyramid is a strong aspect of survival. Yet socially we believe that we have created this structure and can fix it. The structure is as natural as it gets. There will always be a bottom and a top. The real question lies within helping those who are young or lack opportunity navigate the systems we have put in place. The opportunity can be enhanced to help those who want to, move up the pyramid process. For me the words you displayed are defined once someone shuts down opportunity for access to opportunity, physically. Your words apply then. This is not acceptable for me either.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

4 months ago #3

First of all Phil is really a household name he is the ultimate benchmark when it comes to convey a message and provide a balanced and informed opinion. Secondly if we were all coming from the same baseline it would be easy and we could expect civil argumentation. But we are not. Stupidity is stupid , hate is harmful and dishonesty and greed are damaging behavioural traits. In my book they are not acceptable and should be called out. Opinion and propaganda are two different things. But thats my two cents

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 months ago #2

Opinions are the public aspects of a very deep consideration of someone's identity. Specifically how it manifests itself in front of us. Depending on the level of risk associated with the topic we can determine someone's passion within the opinion. Secondarily we are all behind the knowledge curve as all knowledge cant be held by a single human. Given these points, most opinions are stressing some belief about future outcomes. Time adds the necessity for choice. So opinions eventually turn to some form of action that benifits the opinion holder or doesn't. It is not usually the opinion i disagree with or reject but the methods towards solution that come with it, or are implied. The dangerous aspect IMHO is that we are rejecting the problem because of the opinion. When hearing or purveying an opinion we need to keep the problem seperate and not become against the problem because of someone's opinion. Foolishness, uninformed opinions, need wisdom. I am foolish on many fronts as they are unexplored. Yet i want to present my opinion for review as part of my exploration. The key is realizing that we are all moving from foolishness to wisdom at anytime.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

4 months ago #1

Perhaps that's why education (in the truest sense of the word) is of paramount importance, especially in turbulent times when reason is drowned in a bottomless sea of opinions of questionable veracity. It's never too late, however, since education, if done properly, is a life-long endavor. On another note, I wish Production & Management Engineering students were exposed to Logic and Ethics training too. It would have made my studies so much more enjoyable :-)