How to Tell the Difference Between Facts and Opinions

Facts and Opinions

Hey guys. Welcome to this video on Facts vs. Opinions.

This can be a touchy subject for some, because a lot of us, probably most of us, are convinced that our opinions are facts.

In this video we are going to do a careful examination of the difference between a fact and an opinion and then we will take a look at a few examples.

First, let’s review some definitions.

Here is how Merriam-Webster defines them:

An opinion is “a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.”

A fact is “a thing done, something that has actual existence, a piece of information presented as having objective reality, or always objectively true.”

So, facts are things that are undeniably true and are based on evidence. Like the fact that a golden retriever is a dog. No one, in their right mind, would try to debate that it is a cat or a dragon.

Our opinions are based on our ability to perceive and interpret OUR experiences of the world around us.

For instance, I think warm peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the best tasting dessert in the whole world.

This is my opinion. Not everyone likes peaches, ice cream, vanilla flavored ice cream, or sweet sugary things.

Opinions tend to catch a bad rap. You may have heard people say “your opinion doesn’t matter,” or “that’s just your opinion” as means of disqualifying what you have said. Well, these statements are true. In the big picture, they really don’t matter. However, our opinions are special because they can be expressions of our preferences and life experiences.

There are two big things to be aware of when discussing opinions.

First: Our opinions should be conformed to facts.

What I mean when I say this is that if I were to look at a dog and say “that is a cat,” for various reasons, that dog is still objectively a dog. Because, I hold a view that when put up against a fact is wrong, it is exposed as my opinion, and thus should be conformed to the objective fact. My mind needs to change, because the fact isn’t changing. It’s a fact, it’s reality.

Second: Outside of objective facts, opinions are okay to hold, and to some people your opinions do matter. People’s opinions are important in that they can help us to know that person better. Like, you guys now know that I like peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

You are allowed to have an opinion about how you think things taste, music style preferences, favorite movies, favorite color, etc.

However, when you start to hold the opinion that gasoline isn’t flammable, it’s time to conform to the objective truth that it is indeed flammable and probably stay as far away from all humans until you figure that one out.

Another important note is that just because the overwhelming majority holds an opinion, or even if everyone holds an opinion, that does not make something a fact. As much as we would like to have the authoritative power to turn our opinions into facts, it doesn’t work that way. A good example of this is when everyone thought the world was flat. Almost everyone was convinced that it was flat, because, based on what we could see and our visual experience of the world, it appeared to be that way.

However, it is in fact, a sphere, as later discovered.

I hope this video was helpful. You can check out more of our video’s right here.

See you next time!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: October 17, 2019