Thursday, March 5, 2015

THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH in an uncertain world...

"There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul.  We spend our entire lives looking for the outlines." ~Josephine Hart

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, each one of us is on a quest for truth.  It is human nature to wonder--to seek--to fill the gaps of knowledge, and color in the spaces between the known and the unknown.  We are not satisfied to "let it be" and accept that perhaps some information is beyond our grasp.  It is what makes life frustrating and wonderful.  It is what makes us pathetic and extraordinary at the same time.

We are seekers.

And thank goodness we are.  If we weren't, polio would still plague us.  The world would be flat.  Lands and islands would remain undiscovered.  We want answers.  We want to be able to look into the looking glass and see not the murky image but the real one.  We are searching for the truth.

Whether it's the Truth with a capital T or the truth about something specific, it is the same general concept.  Every subject you take in school supports this search:  What really happened on December 7, 1941 and what were the events that led up to it?  What is the answer to this mathematical puzzle, or what steps did Einstein take to derive his theory of relativity?  What is the author really trying to tell us in this passage, and does this symbolize anything profoundly universal?  We want the answers, and we want them to make sense to us.  We want to know, once and for all.  

Schools seek to teach us not only how to uncover "truth," but how to recognize when something might be masquerading as truth.  It starts early--some might argue too early--in elementary grades when we try to identify the differences between facts and opinions.  We try to define both--put them into a neat little box--so we can easily and quickly recognize both and decipher their differences.  

But...that begs another question...can "truth" be characterized in this way?  Can opinions also be facts?  What about morals and ethics?  Are they facts?  According to many dictionary definitions, they are not. So if our notions of right and wrong cannot be characterized as truth, but merely opinion, then why was the world so outraged recently when a cartoonist was brutally murdered because someone did not like what he had to say?  What right do we have to point fingers if "Murder is wrong" is a moral opinion, not fact?

So much to sift through.  I would like to challenge you to read this opinion article recently submitted to the New York Times.  Not only is it an excellent  piece of persuasive writing, but it also challenges the way we define truth and differentiate truth from opinion.  After you read, please answer the following questions:  1.  What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?  2.  Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?  3.  Is there such a thing as truth?  How do we recognize it? 
 
Maybe the search for the truth will always remain just that:  a search.  As the quote indicates at the top of this post, maybe truth is eternal.  Therein lies the quandary:  

We are bound creatures searching for  something boundless....



48 comments:

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  2. 1) May I point out that just about everything is an opinion? In fact, what I just said was an opinion. However, to whoever agrees with it, it’s a fact. The problem with the current distinction between fact and opinion is that it is an opinion. Let me explain. Facts are things that are proven and opinions are what we believe. Correct? Well, the article itself proved that statement wrong. The problem is that we've turned everything into a controversy, because of our own beliefs on the subject. People are saying that ‘murder is wrong’ is an opinion. Sure, I can almost agree with that, but it doesn't make it any less wrong.
    2) Morality is an opinion. It is a sad thing to say, but it is. Our moral beliefs are influenced by how we are raised. The only way they could be fact is if everyone had the exact same beliefs. Which, as we all know…nobody does.
    3) I would absolutely love to say that truth is real, and in some cases, it is. However, in those cases, I don’t think it can very well be proven (look, I said ‘think’, so this is an opinion). For example, if I said I loved someone, then I would know more than anyone else how true that statement is, but it can’t ever be fully proven as a fact to outsiders. I think it almost has something to do with the way the world looks at everything, though. We've all seen too many people “in love” based off of selfish pretenses. So, I could love someone, but there is always the chance of disbelief in everyone else, which makes it an opinion to them. Next example: plain facts. What color are leaves usually? Green, right? However, what if I ask someone who is color blind? To them, the leaves aren't green. In their reality, they are some other color. They have only heard they are green and can never prove it to be true. So, based on our own definition of truth (something that is proven through facts), the leaves being green has also turned into an opinion. The article stated that E=MC^2 is a fact to a physicist, but not to anyone else. So, I think that truth also derives from knowledge. If you aren't taught the story behind why E=MC^2, then it’s not a proven truth to you; it’s someone’s opinion. Don’t think I don’t know how twisted this all is…I; in fact find it frustrating just writing all of this. I want to say that there is truth in the world, and there is. Although, with society and the many belief systems that we've built up, it’s just another opinion. It all comes down to this: there are facts and there are opinions, but the moment you can find a way to manipulate a fact into an opinion, that's when you know it was never a fact at all.

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    1. A great argument! If, however, a statement is a fact only to those who agree with it, is there any big "truth?" If so, how would we recognize it? I realize that may be an unanswerable question. This is a tough one that has been contemplated and battled since our most ancient recorded writings. Not expecting to solve the puzzle in a blog post, but it exercises the brain, that is for sure! :)

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    2. Also--can you clarify your last statement? Not sure I follow. If everything can be an opinion, than how is my ability to manipulate a fact into an opinion a good measure of its reliability? You may have explained that reasoning, and I may not have grasped it.
      Maybe finding truth is possible, but proving it beyond a reasonable doubt is not?

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    3. I understand how it can be confusing. I tried very hard to create a relatively organized answer, but I had too many conflicting thoughts going on. This was a very thought provoking question. In my personal opinion, if a few people can disprove a fact through their own logic, then it wasn't a very well supported fact to begin with. A fact should be solid.

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  3. 1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?

    The “problem” between fact and opinion is that because we feel the need to be politically correct all the time, and now we can’t even voice opinion or fact without having to constantly check our words to make sure we are not offending someone.

    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?

    I believe that there are some “moral truths”. Even if we are all people, we can’t just base everything on opinion. We are all human, we all relatively have the same morals. We all hurt, we all cry, we all want to be loved and accepted. Moral values are very important to anyone’s lives.

    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?


    If there is such a thing as truth, then where do we base that off of? For me, I take my truth from the things I see that are real, or credible sources. We as people, do the same thing. We believe things we see, or feel passionate about. If everything is a lie, and we believe in nothing, then what is the point in living?

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  4. So--for you, and for many, truth is what gives us purpose? Or is it the constant pursuit of our own truth what you mean? It is tough. It becomes easy to slip into relativism (truth and reality is all relative) we find ourselves in another conundrum: If everything is relative, so is that statement, and we have a whole lot of nothing. Makes the mind hurt, right? It does mine! :)

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  5. 1. People are entitled to there opinion 100% of the time. No if's and's or but's about it. Facts are facts, they are proven and they are backed up. I don't see an issue.

    2. Where do morals come from? History.. some come from religion.. it all depends on where you are from, however morals (in my opinion) come from other peoples opinions on how things should be. How life should be lived in the moral way or "right" way. You may think that morals you hear today have always been just "moral truths" but it was an opinion at some point in time.

    3. I think the only REAL truths ever are proven through science, research, observation of real time things. Truth is a real thing. And we recognize it by the proof provided... then again.. how do we know the proof is real.... (I just confused myself.)

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    1. Exactly! :) Or perhaps technology just hasn't been discovered yet to prove that which we believe is only an opinion (DNA evidence, for example, is very new). We used to believe the world was flat, and sailors could "prove" it by what they saw right in front of them on their voyages: miles and miles of flat sea. Then, along comes astronomy, and now, we can see that, in fact, that is not truth at all. Perhaps if we trace the "morals" back far enough...and I mean far...we can find the evidence we need? Sometimes, just through history, this "proof" fades and loses its power. As we get further and further from WW2, for example, it is becoming easier and easier for those who deny the Holocaust ever really happened, or say that it was exaggerated. Once all the survivors are gone, who is there to argue with them and provide that proof? Will just a few photographs be enough?

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  6. As I read through the article it was pretty clear that Justin P. has two definitions of fact. Definition one is that a fact is an objective state of affairs and definition two is that it is a state of affairs known due to conclusive arguments, airtight evidence and etc. He was going back and forward between the two, due to moral believes and his own opinion. The entire article is opinionated, but so is this blog post. Let's not forgot about the definition of an opinion. He pointed out that an opinion can be the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing as well as a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
    The main problem with facts and opinions are morals.. As I was reading through other articles I came across this. "Morality is like a guide for rational beings, and while moral theories can vary among different societies, morals often play an important role in the formation of ethics. A person may be considered immoral when he or she is old enough to understand and follow this code of conduct and yet rejects it. Though morality is often used to refer to the code of conduct accepted by an entire society, different morals may be accepted and practiced by individual groups within a society."
    Depending on our morals is how an individual sees right from wrong. A fact is the truth; something that is proven and has evidence to prove so right?
    Well, let's think about a court case. This might get a little confusing so please bear with me. We have a defendant, a lawyer, an attorney and a jury. Before the lawyers present evidence and witnesses, both sides have the right to give an opening statement about the case. During the trial, lawyers present evidence through witnesses who testify about what they saw or know. After all the evidence is presented, the lawyers give their closing arguments. Even though the lawyer presents the proof, it is usually never known is the evidence is real or fake. Due to morals we see right from wrong. The judge has the final decision due to laws that we have concluded to say what is right and what is wrong. If morals didn’t exist then the defendant wouldn’t be doing wrong at all (if they were guilty in this case). We believe what we want to believe.


    Morals are definitely opinions. Again it is classifying right from wrong and right from wrong is an opinion. An example of moral truths can be like statements such as “best places to visit on earth”, “prettiest woman”, etc. We all have different views and not everyone agrees on the same thing.


    Their is truth but truth has to conform to reality, facts, and actuality. Truth is found in logic and facts. It is true that you are reading this. Truth can also be an opinion such as religious, cultural and scientific truth.

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  7. Okay, so here are some thoughts to chew on. You said that truth has to conform to, among other things, FACTS. What about those facts that were facts at one time, but then as science and technology has advanced, were discovered not to be facts at all? For example, in the 1980s, this was a fact: There are no treatments for AIDS. That was fact. Now, this has changed. There are many very effective treatments. For years, the Black Death was incurable. It was a society killer. But now, it is pretty much extinguished. If we are going to equate truth and fact, then I would argue we are in a lot of trouble. That means that truth is changeable. It is not despendable. It can change. So then, is there no real truth?
    Here is something else. It is a fact that to murder someone in the United States is against the law. I can prove that. But this fact is based on an opinion (a popular one) that murder is wrong. Do you see? If facts must be based on truth, then what do we do with that?
    Perhaps we need to define fact and truth as clearly separate entities? I am not trying to prove anyone wrong here, just trying to point out that this is a much more complex issue than we think, and should not be simplified in our schools. It should be presented the way it is...
    And that's the truth...or at least a fact...or is it an opinion? ;)

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  8. 1. The current distinction between fact and opinion would be a fact has physical evidence and an opinion is a thought that can be backed up with facts that are interpreted.
    2. There is such a thing as “moral truths” because according to people who practice in religion, but others who don’t practice in religion will call it an opinion. I am one who believes that any moral or belief is an opinion because no one will believe exactly what you do. A moral is something you personally feel to be true with the evidence possibly from religious text or scientific document, which are both reliable.
    3. There is no truth in this world because what I see to be true is different from what you see to be true. For example, aliens are a work of fiction but some people see them as true living beings.

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  9. I think there is nothing wrong with the current definition of fact and opinion, what's wrong is how some people interpret it. It can be both, it can be just one, or maybe its neither. This is a really hard topic for me to wrap my head around. I believe in god so that is where I get my "moral truths". Without that who decides who is right and wrong. It purely based on own personal belief. I would like to believe there is truth, honestly I can't answer that though. There is truth for me though.

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    1. You asked a powerful question here, Candra, that I believe everyone here is missing: Where do we get these moral truths? Beyond the distinction of fact and opinion is this question that really everyone must answer for themselves. If we don't know the answer, I would argue that we can never fully grasp the definition of fact, opinion or truth.

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  10. 1. At the end of the article the author explains, again, the definitions of fact and opinion and then elaborates on how some beliefs are either facts or opinions, and how the evidence that is present or not is how those beliefs can be categorized as true facts or just opinions. I think that depending on the person, their interpretation of fact and opinion can be right or wrong. But then again, that is to the discretion of the person judging with their opinion.
    2. This question also draws into the last paragraph of the article. Beliefs or moral truths are fact with evidence and backup. Some are also based on opinion of purely because that is the way one feels about the situation.
    3. This is a very difficult thing to grasp and have a secure understand of. There are so many loopholes and curves that open up to new ideas and other interpretations. For me I like the believe there is truth.. That 2+2 = 4 and that gravity is a law of the world, that columbus sailed to ocean blue, and even that a period belongs at the end of a sentence. I also like the believe it is true that christ walked the earth and taught the people, that he died for us and that someday he will return. For some people their truths are different than other's truths and that is were the definition lies... Within each individual and what truth means for them.

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  11. 1. I do not believe that there is anything wrong with our current distinction between act and opinion. I do believe that many "truths" for one person can be "opinions" for others. The problems ensue when we don't agree on some important opinions. We as a people need to have boundaries/laws, this prevents us from hurting others. At the core of our human selves there is a ID. This ID will do anything to benefit itself, this can be good for one person but not for another, hence the boundaries.

    2. By our very definitions everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicates an opinion. Again, we need laws to be enforced so that people can in a way conform to necessary societal boundaries or else people end up hurting others and we return to to our primitive way of survival- no longer benefitting the world as a whole.

    3."It should not be a surprise that there is rampant cheating on college campuses: If we’ve taught our students for 12 years that there is no fact of the matter as to whether cheating is wrong, we can’t very well blame them for doing so later on". We humans, always seek to find the truth-the gold nugget- the needle in a hay stack. It should be no surprise that we see truth as a good thing and fear the unknown. There is truth and typically we go about finding it by conducting tests, but how do we go about finding moral truth? Well, as Nathaniel Hawthorne would say (much more eloquently) we humans are fallen and tainted, but at our very core we can recognize moral truth. Why else would we look away at the sight of homeless people or be so outraged to hear of the death of a murdered cartoonist. We do have some moral judgment, we just need boundaries to encompass it.

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    1. You have duly impressed me here, Ashlynd, by quoting from our current literature. Thank you for that! It shows me that you have connected this literature to universal matters, and that is the overarching goal, so GREAT job.

      You have recognized that it is, indeed a powerful notion that Hawthorne has brought to light in our novel: humans can recognize moral truth. It is a Romanticist notion that many people could argue with, and if they knew how to compose a sound argument, they could support it quite well. Truth, by its own definition is problematic; who is to decide what fits within its boundaries? Does it just not have boundaries? Is that the problem? If we come to the conclusion that truth cannot be effectively defined in a multifarious society/world, then how should we define facts? That which we know and understand through tangible proof...for now?

      I think that this is definitely a concept that could do some harm if introduced too early in someone's intellectual development.

      But that's just my opinion.

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  12. 1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?
    The problem is that people make it too complicated. I think that kids should be taught the difference between the two, but also learn that one is not more important than the other. Everyone has an opinion, and some opinions turn into facts which makes that person powerful. The problem is that people only listen to facts, or only listen to opinions and I believe everyone should listen to both.

    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?
    I think moral truths are things that most people can agree on and should be turned into something more important than what people think of as opinions. Moral truths can be opinions, but they can be turned into something greater for the good of the people.

    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?
    A truth, in my opinion, is something that you might not recognize consciously, but in your heart, to be cliche. There are so many details that are dithered over and aren't total truths, but in the bigger picture and in a wider range of understanding then it is a truth.

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  13. Thank you for finding this article. It provides an excellent point of view for analysis.
    Questions and answers (to the extent that I have provided them) are found below:

    1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?
    The current distinction between fact and opinion leaves no room for truth that cannot currently be proven. The distinction would more accurately focus on the presence or absence of evidence, as opposed to the presence or absence of truth. As the article briefly touched on, there was a time when the true statement that the world is round could not be proven, yet that did not make it untrue. Truth can exist without evidence, and evidence can exist without the truth that it is believed to prove.

    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?
    The idea of "moral truths" is a valid one. There are actions that can truthfully be classified as wrong. To use one of my favorite arguments, we can look at the United Nations and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was composed and agreed upon by representatives of countries all over the world. In this declaration, human beings are granted rights, and it is deemed wrong for any other human being to violate those rights. As the population of the world has not annulled this declaration since its formation, it remains a valid and authoritative document setting out the morals for the human race as a whole. With this universal status, the standards set forth carry the same weight of truth as the existence of the United States as a country, or the average annual rainfall in South Africa.

    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?
    Truth does exist, as evidenced by our affirming reactions to the emotional reactions and states of characters in books, movies, and other media or those of people in speeches. Around the surrounding opinion to be found in these situations are bits of various sizes that are a part of human existence. In this way, people from vastly different cultures can pull several of the same lessons out of a story. Truth is often only recognized when it affects us individually. The full horror and realization of the truth concerning how wrong it is for human beings to kill each other is only recognized when someone kills someone else close to us. We can recognize abstract concepts as having merit without ever encountering them, but we won't recognize them as a part of existence until we encounter it ourselves.

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    1. Wow. I was really struck by your answer here. I love how you said that truth is only recognized when it affects us individually. I need to ponder that. That is a powerful realization, Duncan, and I thank you for sharing that. Interesting definition of moral truths! Isn't it interesting that people from different cultures all managed to agree on some basic morals? Again I need to wonder...where does that come from? Where is that truth? Interesting! :)

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  14. 1.) The current problem with the distinction of fact and opinion, is literally the basis that it's our opinion whether to declare something as a fact or as an opinion. Then the whole deal, that facts change, and so do opinions. Are facts just opinions masqueraded by perhaps a bit more evidence? Where is the boundary? What changes an opinion into a fact? In science everything is based off of theories and hypothesis, but aren't those just extensions, or a fancier word for opinion?

    2.) Moral Truths exist. And they are facts. Now, people will argue with me and say, that moral truths are only apparent through religion, and only apparent through religious people. But you know what I'm gonna say to that? Screw off. And SCREW that. Through that logic, all atheists, should be murders, thieves, bullies, animal abusers, rapists, women and children abusers, men abusers, and more? Oh. Okay. Ill make sure I let all of these atheists know what they ought to be up to. But wait. Not all atheists are like this. Not all people lacking religion are disgusting vile creatures. Is that perhaps because there is some inherent truth behind natural moral truths? Probably. Its not just an opinion. And if you believe in Moral relativism, you're even worse, and were not friends at all. Because being a moral relativists just means you have no integrity, and claim that so you can do whatever you want, and try to say "No consequences!". I hate you. Because you suck.

    3.) There is such thing as truth. We look into our pasts, our present, history, science, religion, mass opinions, minority opinions, instincts, and more, to come to a conclusion. There may be differing versions of truth, but they should all relatively be in the ballpark. That is how we recognize it.

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    1. While I would definitely express it differently, I wholeheartedly agree with you on moral relativism. If you are interested, there are some GREAT philosophical websites that nail it right to the wall. :) Really good. I'd be happy to share.

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  15. 1. The article talks about the distinction of fact and opinion and how it is incorrect. People are taught that things are either fact or opinion, one of the other, it cant be both. Facts are true and opinions are believed which means a claim can be both.
    2.I believe there are moral truths I think morals are just part of being a human whether you are religious or not.
    3. I think truth is real. I think truth is shown by proof.

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    1. What happens though when that proof we once had proves to be false as we make new discoveries and invent new technology? What happens to truth?

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  16. 1) I think what is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion is that people can be stubborn and believe what they want to believe. I know that I sometimes argue against something that is a "fact" just because I do not believe it to be true.

    2) I think there is such a thing as moral truth but that moral truth is different for everyone. It can be a truth to someone if it works with how they view reality and they believe it to be a fact.

    3) There is such thing as truth, but that truth is different for everyone. There is no one truth that rules over everything, but I believe everyone happily has their own truth because they believe it to be true, and if they believe it to be true then, to them, it is true.

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  17. 1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?
    Just this school year, I've began asking myself these "fact vs. opinion" questions. It's tricky because when I sit here and tell you that there is a problem with the current distinction between fact and opinion, I'm giving you my own personal opinion. It feels like a big cycle, in which my brain doesn't fully comprehend. The main problem with the categorizing of these two ideas is that it's either one or the other. A statement has to be either fact or opinion, can't be both. But like the author showed, that's wrong. Isn't the sentence, "I think that the sky is blue" both a fact and opinion? You simply cannot place such restrictions on a universal idea.

    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?
    I believe there are moral truths. Just today in Church, we talked about being born with a sense of right and wrong. Romans 7:14 says, "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin". We are all born with a spirit. Therefore, we are all born with this moral law inside of us. That's my interpretation, which, I guess, is an opinion. I'm confusing myself here.

    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?
    Yes, there is truth. To me, truth is what is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. But, once more, to someone else that might not be the definition of truth. So therefore, it's my opinion. However, I wholeheartedly believe in truth myself. It's what keeps me going.

    I LOVE these complex articles! So much thinking! I love it. I think I am going to dive a little deeper and have some discussions with some people to get a better, more solid argument on the topic of truth. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Your answer here just made me smile. You are right, there is a lot of thinking here, and that's good. I feel when we try to over define things, we miss the quest. I like pondering fact and opinion.
      Tonight, as I was looking out at the stars on the last night of spring break, I found myself feeling very small. That didn't make me feel scared or sad, it made me feel like, who am I to decide what makes something a fact or an opinion? Maybe these big things are not meant to be neatly packaged and separated and defined. Maybe they are meant to discussed and pondered?
      Just a thought. :)

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    2. I agree. This morning as I was leaving for school, I found myself thinking about this again. Even though I could search for answers, I feel like I will never find the answer because it is such a complex topic. That bothers me though. I guess it comes from a fear of not finding a conclusion so that I can decide on whether I believe it or not. But, you have a great point. It's like time. I don't understand how the universe can have existed forever. Forever. Forever doesn't exist in time and time is the only measurement my mind can compare anything too. Maybe, truth is the same. Perhaps, there is such a lack of truth, our minds can't comprehend.

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  18. 1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?
    I think facts have evidence. Opinion is just a view formed about something, it does not have to be based on a fact or knowledge.

    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?
    I believe that there is such thing as a "moral truth". People will take their own turn on this question based on religion. If you are religious moral truth does apply and does exist. If you are not religious, people will just say it is an opinion.

    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?
    There is such thing as truth. We recognize it because it should be consistent and congruent with past experiences. It is in accordance with truth and reality.

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  19. I would like to say that this was pretty interesting, however there were a few people in the comments that I agree with more then the author of the article itself. However It was interesting nonetheless..

    1. I feel that the issue with society now is that the things we prioritize as important and such blind our sense of what is true and what is opinion and it's really hard to choose between which is which due to how it's taught and how real life works.

    2. In society now its a fact that the popular way to dress and etc is (how i see the style) skimpy and kinda ugly. But it's my opinion on how i look at it.. It's difficult to choose right from wrong. When you have so many people against it, you know it's got to be the wrong thing to do or the right thing to do. We set those standards and we are brought up in those standards of what is truly right and wrong. Kinda like how nowadays it isn't right to let yourself go or to eat a lot, but in earlier times it was the in thing and girls and such were more attractive...

    3. In my opinion, I feel that there's just somethings that we can't as right or wrong or true or false. Things like killing people is bad, well that's another thing, which obviously everyone knows that taking a life is a terrible thing. When it comes to moral standards and things like that, the times change and the standards change as well. And in the comments i saw someone mention stretching the terms to a level that it makes anything and everything an opinion. However i feel we recognize these "truths" through kind of like a bandwagon approach. Everyone else likes this and thinks it's cool and etc, then i should too. Like the idea i get a lot from our time now, you can't be pretty without caking on a ton of makeup wearing tight clothing and being super skinny. Now a days we strive to be these being we think is the true perfect being. Which it cant be true, because if it was then how could the people like mentioned earlier, in earlier times think it was attractive to be quite the opposite. The same thing happened in the 1900's where you didn't want to be fat but you also didn't want to be a twig either. So, it's hard to really answer questions like these when the things we care about the most in ur lives never have a set standard..

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  20. 1. I choose to believe that what may be considered a truth for one person can and will be considered an opinion for someone else. To separate these people and keep balance in the world, certain guidelines need to be set into place. Civil discourse can still remain a bridge between fact and opinion. However, without some kind of identification for humans to come together, there is little that can keep the naysayers of someone else truth at bay.

    2. There is a view of “absolute truth” which many believe that states a lack of definition for what they consider to be reality. Those who hold this view believe everything on earth is relative to another, and that there can be no actual “true” reality. This view would mean that there would be no moral absolutes, and no authority for deciding if an action is positive or negative. This view also opens another door to “situational ethics,” the belief that what is right or wrong is relative only to the situation. And that there is no true right or wrong answer, only whatever feels correct at the time and in that situation. Of course, this view on situational ethics leads to a, “whatever feels good” mentality and lifestyle. And yes, this definitely has a devastating effect on society and individuals. This is otherwise known as postmodernism and focuses on creating a society that regards all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth claims as equally true.

    3. A problem with the denial of absolute truth is that it fails to live up to what we know to be true in our own consciences. If there is no such thing as absolute truth, then there is nothing ultimately right or wrong about anything. While on the surface this type of relativism seems to be appealing, what it means is that everybody sets their own rules to live by. Eventually, one person’s sense of right will soon clash with another’s. And if there is no absolute truth and no standard of right and wrong that we are all accountable to, then we can never be sure of anything. There could be no government, no laws, and no justice, just because one could not even say that the majority of the people have the right to make and enforce standards upon the minority. To deny truth would be denying responsibility towards actions taken by anyone and everyone meaning that nothing could ever grow.

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    1. A very well constructed argument, Riley. Excellent questions and points. REALLY love your number 3!! Powerful.

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  21. 1. The thing that is wrong with the distinction between fact and opinion is that facts are between truth and proof. In the article, it says “Things can be true even if no one can prove them.” But even that can be an opinion. Some people, like Dr. Brennan from Bones, believe that things can’t be true if it’s not proven. For her, the bible isn’t proven to be true so she believes it is wrong and illogical.

    2. Personally, I believe that there are ‘moral truths’. What made humans believe that murder is wrong? We all have that basis that murder is wrong and that lying is wrong. However, people could argue that we grew up with that ‘opinion’. But if it’s an opinion, why don’t people change their minds about it? Murderers changed their minds, so why can’t everyone else start to think that murder is wrong? Why can’t police officers change their minds about it if they work with murderers? What makes humans believe and keep believing that it’s wrong when people act differently about it? That can be argued that it’s classified as opinion, but that just doesn’t make sense to me.

    3. I think that there is such thing as truth because there are things that are just simply what they are and no one can argue with it. We recognize it because there is proof of what it is by what we see and what scientists notice in things. For example, we know that flowers have pollen in them because of the stamen. We know there is a stamen because scientists noticed that every flower has one. It’s just simply there and humans noticed the similarities.

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  22. I have to add that in my above query to Soleil, I typed despendable. I meant that to read dependable. Sorry...I know. I couldn't let it go. Thank you!!

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  23. Since in many posts the notion of moral relativism has been brought up or alluded to, here are two more great articles that discuss and explain that. One is secular philosophy, the other from a more religious-philosophy point of view, if that makes sense. Several of you have pointed out that how we respond to these questions will depend a lot on our personal beliefs, so I am including both here...they are both quite good. :)

    http://thinkingaboutphilosophy.blogspot.com/2012/05/problems-of-moral-relativism.html

    http://www.equip.org/article/philosophical-problems-with-moral-relativism/#christian-books-3

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  24. This has actually been something I have thought about and talked about with others before. Like the article talked about the distinction between fact and opinion in school is the way we phrase a sentence.
    1) By putting I believe or I think in front of a sentence doesn’t automatically make it an opinion. Like the author pointed out to his kid, ‘ I believe George Washington was the first president’, is a fact. The structure of the sentence doesn’t make it an opinion or a face. Also, how a moral belief is an opinion as well. ‘Drug dealers belong in prison’ and ‘copying homework is wrong’ is categorized as an opinion.
    2) This also ties into the last question. Moral beliefs are not considered when there is a distinction between facts or opinion, yet killing a person should in fact be wrong.
    3) This is honestly a really hard question for me to answer. I think it depends on the person if there is such thing as truth; truth can be backed up with evidence and can proven right. Yet truth also depends on your beliefs. Do you have a moral belief that makes something true, like it being wrong to kill someone?

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  25. Okay wooooow that article was awesome, here are the answers I have for your questions (:

    1.) What is wrong with the current distinction of fact and opinion?
    (This totally seems like something Mr.Hiatt would enjoy answering.)
    What I found slightly disturbing, was that I was so blind to the definitions children are giving for fact and opinion. In the article, I read that fact can be backed by evidence but it can also be an opinion. An opinion can be fact but it won't need as much evidence to back it up. Either way, you need some type of evidence to support the truth you've come to know. Now for truth, that's a whole different story! I looked up the definition and it is: "a fact or belief that is accepted as true." That can be an opinion also! (this literally just gave me a headache) In conclusion, the thing that is so wrong about the way fact and opinion are presented to little kids is exactly the way it's presented. The definitions given to children aren't very well thought out but the definition we were presented with in the article would be harder to explain to a child that is learning to distinguish between the two simple words. So I guess, either way it'll be difficult to make a child grasp this concept and that's what's messing up everybody's brain.
    2.) Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?
    (These questions are totally trippy, they're all opinion based anyways)(This is driving me a little crazy.)(I don't know how to answer this without giving my opinion!)
    Okay here we go, I believe(There it is.) that there is no such thing as a "moral truth"(BOOM) because morals are based on beliefs and some beliefs don't have evidence to back up the truth, therefore not all truths are fact and not all morals will ever be fact because everybody has different opinions and opinions aren't always fact. (I totally just confused myself and if you're confused, I'm sorry, please ask me anything that will help clarify my answer.)
    3.) Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?
    (This is making my brain hurt.)
    There is such a thing as truth. Some truths are fact, for example, I am my mother's daughter. She gave birth to me. That is true and also a fact. How can that possibly be an opinion? We recognize truths by facts and opinions that we believe are right or wrong. A truth for me may not be a truth to somebody else because we might have different beliefs and opinions. So, yes, there is such a thing as truth. It just depends on what you believe is true or not, and we recognize this by the facts and opinions we've grown in our heads.

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  26. I have to agree with you, Mrs. Caraway, this one is my favorite as well. (Sorry for it being late, I didn't see there was a second one.)
    1. As the article said, the thing that is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion is that things must be a fact or an opinion. The writer showed this when he asked his son about George Washington. Even though the statement could be a fact or an opinion, the boy didn't know how to answer, because he was told to pick only one. There are things that some may consider "moral truths", but that others see as opinions. As we discussed today, this is a "relativity" issue, and there may not be one universal answer to which of these something is (not to say there aren't universal truths at all, just that not everything that is "true" can be one).
    2.There is moral truth, but it isn't what we would normally call a true statement. One thing I don't think the article touched on enough was how collective belief can be equivalent to truth in many cases. Take the "it's alright to murder" statement. It may not be "true" in the sense that it is a provable, inarguable statement. However, except for certain individuals, most people would agree that it is true. So, just as some people would still argue that the sky is not blue even though it is a "true statement", the idea that murder is wrong is effectively a "true statement".
    3. As the writer said, there probably is no such thing as a universally true statement. "Some of our beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not." I would tend to agree, there are provable statement, but there probably is no purely true statement, since perspective and personal experience can skew how people view events and facts.

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    1. Well articulated! :) Maybe the people don't define a universal truth, but that doesn't mean there isn't one! We have found over history that things we thought were ridiculous ended up being true over time with our growing knowledge. Maybe our knowledge capability just cannot grasp that universal truth to its fullest?

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  27. Kind off topic opening note: I found it interesting that you said "schools teach us...". It made me wonder that if a kid who didn't go to school would have a different thought process on facts/opinions if they didn't learn the definitions via text book and learned it just through real world experience. Food for thought...

    1. This article made my definition for the two a little shaky but I still have burned in my brain red pen on my essays saying "Where is the evidence? You need proof!" next to all of my "facts" I have listed in a paragraph. Facts are proven, right? But I can also argue opinions are too? Why is this so complicated?
    2. I believe in moral truths. We as people believe in our own ways and do things based on our morals. Not all morals are good morals but they're still morals. I believe everyone believes and stands for something.
    3. I want to say yes, there is a truth. I'm thinking of this on a smaller scale though. A little boy pushes a glass off a table and blames it on his brother. There was no accident involved, the little boy just simply pushed the glass off the table. That's the truth. Now of course you could look between the lines and say "Well, why did the boy push it? Did the brother antagonize him?" But if we're looking at just a picture, the boy pushed the glass and that's the truth.

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  28. With the current distinction everything is wrong, according to the article. If fact is something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven then almost everything is true, but when compared to opinion what someone thinks, feels, or believes, leaving nothing to be true. Yet they are both because everything starts with someone saying I think, I feel, or I believe and then is moved to testing those “opinions”, then from there is decided what is fact and opinion. The issue with the current distinction between right and wrong is that, both definitions are not true in all most all cases and what is actually being taught is merely a shared opinion, tested enough to be perceived as fact.
    There is sort of such a thing as moral truth. However in the eye of morals, the main reason there is confusion and disagreement of whether morals are true is due to the fact of everyone has a different moral belief, everyone sees things differently. From what I have personally viewed the phrases, I believe, I feel, I think, is simply that, that is just how our mind processes things, is through making everything a personal connection. We are not meant to think straightforward answers that are flawlessly right, but instead works through situations and facts in a way that connects to us as a person, which eventually comes out as I believe, I feel, I think. Some dealing with moral issues and moral truths is simply based on the person perceiving for their brain as fact, such that murder is bad. That is why fact and opinion is taught at such a young age because then they automatically develop in their mind that fact is fact and truth is truth and it gives their brain a code to follow that easily, and society wants them to, derive and answer.
    I think that truth must be determined by everyone. I do believe there is truth, due to my personal knowledge of things proven through history, science, literature, but I do also believe that truth and fact go hand and hand to help figure out each other.

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  29. 1. I don't think there is anything wrong with our current distinction between fact and opinion. I think people just agree and disagree with things and that's their opinion. For example, I might think a burger from Red Robin is the best burger out there, but someone else may think it tastes horrible. How much we like the burger is the opinion, and the burger being from Red Robin is the fact.
    2. I do think there is such thing as moral truth, but I think they come from opinions. People create morals based off of how they think something should be. Obviously killing another human being is wrong, but that is societies' opinion. Moral truths exist, but they are opinions.
    3. There is such thing as truth. The way you can recognize truth is by finding something backed up with facts. Something also can be true without facts but isn't credible. For example, we know for sure that Abraham Lincoln existed, because we have pictures and documents of him. So it's true he lived on Earth. However, Jesus also lived on Earth but since we don't have much proof it isn't credible. It's true he lived on Earth but without facts you can't prove it.

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    1. So, there is such thing as truth, but it is an opinion? Not sure that works with practical definitions. Need more on your distinction--how can truth and opinion be synonymous?

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  30. 1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?

    As the article worked to state, the problem with the distinction between fact and opinion, is merely that we are forced to categorize things into fact, and opinion. I think as humans, this article may be bothersome because we like to have mental organization of where arguments such as these classify. When we are questioned on matters such as these that our brain has organized into neat packages, it shakes up our definitions. I would say as Alex stated, there is no universal answer as to which of these something is.


    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?

    I believe certainly there is such thing as “moral truths” , and for some matters, those moral truths become universal. Such as sensing the wrong and right between killing or harming another individual. I feel as humans we share moral truths to a certain extent. We may share it as an opinion, but an opinions broadly agreed upon.


    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?

    I believe a sense of truth is differently recognizable for everyone. I feel our moral truths, beliefs, and customs play into what we believe to be true and not.

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  31. 1. What, if anything, is wrong with the current distinction between fact and opinion?
    From what i understood is that, it depends on how you're brought up. To some it may be a forever opinion and others facts. Facts are proven from multiple sources, and opinions from just a person.
    2. Is there such thing as "moral truths" or does everything that is classified as a moral or belief indicate opinion only?
    There is some moral truths because, we learn right from wrong, as well as knowing the difference between what you'd end up being if you were bad, and the same with being good.
    3. Is there such a thing as truth? How do we recognize it?
    After thinking about it, I'm honestly not sure anymore. But, if I were to go off of what I've been raised by and taught then yes I believe there is such thing as truth.

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  32. 1. I don't think anything is wrong with our understanding of fact and opinion, but I do believe that it's people stubbornness with their opinions that confuses others, and makes them forgot what is and isn't factual.
    2. I think there are moral truths, but that they are only tied to the person that holds that moral as a truth and that it is different for each person based on how they were raised and the opinions and thoughts they have created.
    3. There are truths, and they are recognized by looking at the facts that can be proven no matter what opinions or point of views are used.

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  33. I really like the way you draw images of what you read in the text to support your ideas.


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