Opinions Vs Facts (Redux)

- 2 mins

In a previous post I described in general terms how I prefer basing my arguments on facts rather opinions. In a counter post Daniel, a fellow craftsman, described how, in his opinion, opinions are more important since that’s the currency people use to communicate effectively.

I felt it was necessary to write a counter to counter the counter and thus I begin.

I agree with Daniel in that opinions are very important. In fact, that’s the most common way in which we exchange ideas and thoughts. It is our accumulated knowledge of a subject which is blended with our personality and our emotional state to a current extent. I certainly won’t argue against that since one only needs to observe the world around to see this is true.

However, as with everything in life, balance is necessary and essential. When a discussion comes about on how to solve a particular problem, opinions are great to start off the discussion and offer food for thought. In order to come to a decision though, an opinion in and on it’s own is not enough most of the time. If someone says for example that tool X is slow and it should not be used, that person must also provide an alternative which proves to be the better option. These two elements combined form a fact.

If that person only mentioned her/his dislike about tool X without any alternative, then that is simply an opinion which is not enough to prevent a decision that must be made. In our every day life we are often required to make decisions and most of the time we don’t have all the necessary information to make the best decision possible but we have to make one. If tool X is the only solution to our problem then we must be able to put aside our beliefs and opinions and settle on what’s best for the project which in this case means using tool X.

A fact therefore, is not always something that has survived the test of time and is undisputed. My definition of it extends to the point that says:

“This is currently true since all the available information that we have, are sufficient in order to promote this idea from an opinion to the closest thing we have to a fact, even though this might change in the future when more information or knowledge becomes available”.

Opinions are great and important but it’s when they are analysed and distilled into solid pieces of knowledge that they serve us best.

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