You can have an opinion, but not if it’s wrong.

In an attempt to appease others by being politically correct or to justify something wrong as something right, fact or truth is changed to opinion and vice-versa

An opinion, defined by dictionary.com, is: “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty” or “a personal view, attitude, or appraisal”.

A thought experiment: My favorite Starburst is the cherry (red). To me, I think it’s the best tasting. You may think the strawberry (pink) is the best, may be able to pull up some scientific proof that the dyes used in the pink one aren’t as bad for you as the kinds or amounts used in the cherry or that the strawberry are more healthy some other way.

And because of that you’ll say the pink ones are the best.

For the sake of argument, let’s say all that stuff is true. Does that make the pink Starbursts the best? No. It makes them the best health wise. You must clarify what you’re talking about.

Can the pink Starbursts be the best health wise and I still think the red ones are the best tasting?

Yes. There is no logical contradiction because “best” is clarified. The meaning is made clearer and more precise so the argument can be understood and context given.

In math, there are formulas that if you follow the correct operations, you can plug in any variable and come out with undisputed proof that the answer is true.

For example: y = mx + b (Slope Intercept Form) Using this formula you can plug in your variables and graph a line. You can trust the formula to give you the slope of a line and exactly where it falls on the coordinate plane.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. You need to understand basic mathematical operations.

PEMDAS, or the order to do mathematical equations: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication/Division (from left to right), and Addition/Subtraction (from left to right). The order of operations teaches you how to understand and use math formulas (or just any math problem) properly to find the correct answer.

Formulas and an understanding of basic math are powerful tools in finding the correct answer.

Likewise in logic, there are formulas (argument forms), and an order of operations (basic logical techniques and understanding of conditionals).

Most argument forms are valid (so be weary saying someone’s argument is valid, perhaps say it has merit). One valid form is Modus Ponens, “the way that affirms by affirming”, or in simpler terms, “that which is proven”. Modus Ponens, like math formulas can give a correct answer and also show the logical steps to reaching that answer.

But it’s not always guaranteed.

Like math, there are basic understandings one most have in logic to achieve a sound argument (valid argument with true premises and true conclusions), which require critical thought. One must understand conditionals; understand what qualifies as a counterexample and how to determine if something is instantiated or unsubstantiated. Phrasing and understanding definitions are an equally important part of philosophy and logic.

An example of modus ponens:

  1. Only if humans are mortal, then you (a human) are mortal.
  2. Humans are mortal.
  3. Thus, you are mortal.

Despite being a simple argument form, modus ponens, if used properly with the logical toolkit (order of operations), can prove thousands of things. And, if combined with other argument forms and logical tools, can prove just about anything.

You can have an opinion, but not if it’s wrong.

In philosophy, a false belief often refers to something an individual thought was right, but turned out being wrong. It can range from something small, like thinking a brand of gum would be longer lasting, or to something major on the world stage, such as a political choice.

Ignorance, while frowned upon, isn’t inherently a bad thing. It’s choosing to remain ignorant where problems arise. Choosing to stay ignorant (continuing to hold false beliefs once proven wrong) is a sign of a lack of intellectual integrity.

You can say I’m entitled to my opinion, but if my opinion is the sun isn’t really a star but a giant lightbulb that aliens manipulate to illuminate certain parts of the earth throughout the day, am I still entitled to it? No, because in context, it goes against established truth.

If I were to say The Prestige is one of the best movies Christopher Nolan has ever made, can I have that opinion? Yes, even if I were to list things to support my opinion, it is subjective to my personal tastes.

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