Distinguishing Facts And Opinions In The Modern Age
The world is at a critical state where the line between facts and opinions is blurred with each narrative. People find it even more difficult to tell the difference and, in turn, form their beliefs on what they deem as authentic. What are the contributing factors between the two, and how can you put a clear distinction?
Humanity is gifted with the capacity to form personal convictions. Interpreting one's realities can be possible through the lens of values, emotions, and unique experiences. However, the fact has a striking way of doing things, reminding us of certain truths we must accept no matter how hard.
You might wonder, "Why do I have to separate facts and opinions?" Although they always come together, their meanings still differ. Another thing you should know is that facts and opinions are not exactly opposite, nor do they fall under two extremities.
Just like in the "Old Men and Infidels" book series by Walter Clark Boutwell, the main character is blindsided by certain events that may be far from the truth she recognized. Because of those instances, her outlook on life changes as she uncovers more horrific realities that she can no longer ignore.
Boutwell's series delves into the tumultuous journey of how Malila tries her best to survive in a deranged world full of conspiracy and lies. In her search for the truth, she gradually changes as a person who desires to make significant changes in the world.
How different are facts and opinions from each other?
Facts are derived from a statement backed by concrete proof and thorough documentation. Meanwhile, an opinion comes from a subjective place, a personal deduction rooted in a person's beliefs. If we were to go through this in detail, a fact has been proven and cannot be changed. The opinion is merely a show of what someone views and represents the individual's personality. Sometimes, ideas can be based on facts, but the latter can never be based on an opinion.
Unlike opinions, facts can be measured, observed, and proven without much fault. No matter how many references are related to an already point, they can't change what's already there. It could be a record of events or information obtained through various means. In the end, facts are not up for debate and can impact a collective agreement on something.
As mentioned, an opinion can come from personal biases. Therefore, it could be more reliable, depending on the situation. Since the conclusion drawn from such views may be true, you can only count on your internal beliefs to form your statements. Everyone can still change their opinions compared to facts, which no person can alter, no matter what. And there's this other factor that contributes to such change: people can be easily swayed by others' opinions.
Do facts and opinions have the power to influence thoughts?
Although they have distinctive roots, facts, and opinions, they can shape a person's outlook. For example, the heart pumping blood through your body is a fact and has mountains of empirical data to back it up. However, an opinion like a person's preference for food can change. Most of the time, even a person can be swayed by others to try a new kind of menu, and the next thing they know, someone already has a different type of food they like.
However, opinions can be valid, depending on how they are used, especially when you present them to a panel eager to question the validity of your findings and sources. An excellent example of using facts and opinions is using the truth as an opener to grab the audience's attention immediately. Then you can use those facts to back up your opinion; that way, it becomes believable and acceptable. The statement becomes reasonable by showing everyone that even some arguments can be based on indisputable facts.
Facts and opinions don't have to clash.
The first step in solidifying credibility is to distinguish facts from opinions successfully. Comprehensive skills are necessary to put things together into perspective, then evaluate the proofs presented until you finally conclude. Despite the requirement to derive facts from opinions, many people still hold onto their perceived notions of anything they feel is convenient to believe in. Few manage to have an open mind and heart to change their prejudices after being shown the differences between facts and opinions.
If anything, the power of facts remains. They can prove themselves no matter what; opinions can still be accurate, but they cannot stand alone.