Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Doggerel #143: "That's Just My Opinion"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

We've all seen a common troll reaction: In a long thread, filled with references, explanations, chains of logic, and so forth used to back up arguments. In my experience, such things exist almost exclusively in the skeptics' side of the argument, but I digress. Eventually one troll gets sick of arguing over the facts and simply says, "that's just my opinion."

This is, of course, usually an effort to stop all debate, as if you should treat opinions as sacred and beyond questioning. Of course, there's also the difference between a conclusion arrived at through evidence and reasoning and opinion, though the media's done a fair job of covering up that distinction. If you're talking about science, you'll have to deal with the evidence.

You can believe what you want, but that doesn't take away our right to convince people otherwise. If you aren't willing to change your mind when given evidence, and don't want to be criticized for having an opinion, it's probably best that you don't express it among people who will take you to task for it. That's just a suggestion, of course.

3 comments:

John said...

This is on that's bothered me for a long time, actually. I hear this frequently when ever I get involved in debates. That's the last refuge of wrongheadedness: somehow, we've trained people to believe that the holding of an opinion shields one from criticism.

The implication is that all opinions should be treated as equally valid. That one leads to a fun little paradox.

Dunc said...

The one that really burns me on this is when people start ranting about "freedom of speech"... It's like people think that the right to express yourself should mean that no-one is allowed to disagree with you.

Laser Potato said...

"The one that really burns me on this is when people start ranting about "freedom of speech"... It's like people think that the right to express yourself should mean that no-one is allowed to disagree with you."
Yep, just like a wanker named "The Crack Emcee" is doing at the Vox Day thread at Respectful Insolence.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/03/vox_days_misogyny.php
That guy's a real piece of work; he not only cites HIMSELF as proof for his own shaky claims (talk about circular logic!), but check out how he deals with any attempt at criticizing "Liberal Fascism":
"Laser Potato,
You're funny: You've found some left-wing criticisms of the book and think that negates the Liberal Fascism charge? Hilarious. They could be wrong, y'know? Being Left-wing criticisms, it's in their interest to deny it. That, alone, doesn't make them wrong (to me) but it doesn't help their argument any. And it's even funnier when, on my site, I've posted tons of quotes, from unbiased folks, who - when not even trying to make a political point, y'know, just "talking" - say the same thing. Somebody's lying - or in denial - and it's not me. You'll have to find those quotes yourself"
Doggerel #89 (I'm GOING to show you...IN MY BOOK...er, blog) #98 (Context) #116 (Bias) and...hmm...and I missing any?