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Q: "Everyone is NOT entitled to their own opinion." ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: "Everyone is NOT entitled to their own opinion."
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: dood-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 10 Feb 2003 21:26 PST
Expires: 12 Mar 2003 21:26 PST
Question ID: 159803
I'm looking for arguments against, "Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion.) E.g., Andy Rooney said, "Contrary to popular belief, everone
is NOT entitled to their own opinion...If you don't know the facts,
your opinion doesn't count."  I'm not interested in religious reasons
or emotional arguments (love).  I'm looking for philosophical
reasoning AGAINST the notion of entitlement.

Clarification of Question by dood-ga on 10 Feb 2003 21:43 PST
Good websites will do.  I need at least 10 arguments against the
proposition preferably of a philosophical nature.
Subject: Re: "Everyone is NOT entitled to their own opinion."
Answered By: sabrina_j6-ga on 12 Feb 2003 06:30 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Here is another quotation that I thought you might be interested in: 
"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be
taken seriously." -Hubert H. Humphrey

I have complied a list of 10 plausible arguments against the theory of
 "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion".  I found that Philosophy
links devoted wholly or even partially to this debate were almost
non-existent; hence I have presented the arguments below with links to
all the sites from which the sections of text were obtained. I hope
this will meet your requirements.

1) Argument one: "Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom—the knowledge of
things and their causes, through reason and dialogue. It is a way of
comprehending what is 'real' and what is 'true' by focusing on
rational understanding and analysis, or simply what makes sense.
Opinion and speculation are inconsistent with logic; because of
philosophy’s dependence on the latter, it has provided a natural niche
for the practice of scientific reasoning."
Philosophy and the Natural World,

2) Argument two: Bias to propaganda- "If you don't know the other
point of view, you don't know anything.  You must always be aware that
you do not know everything and that you may yet be proven wrong. If
you do not allow for that possibility, then you are, by correct
definition, ‘'losed minded'  If you only study one point of view, you
are sure to become a victim of propaganda. Propaganda is a repetitive
bombardment of an idea in the absence of any counter argument. Most of
the time propaganda is used to influence the masses. As Michael J.
Behe, professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in
Pennsylvania, once wrote, "The essential mark of an unbiased
presentation is whether it addresses opposing views accurately, in
their strongest forms. Propaganda, on the other hand, ignores or
caricatures its opponents, or gives weak, watered-down renditions of
their arguments." [One can never expect to have a full and complete
understanding of the perspective of the other side, hence, every
opinion is inherently biased towards it’s own interests and cannot
therefore be deemed an authoritative fact.]
From "The Value of an Open Mind", The Big Question.

3) Argument three: An opinion is expressed by an intelligent
individual whether it is based on fact or not. "This is the ability to
generate non-trivial ideas, to have his own opinion, that makes the
biggest impression. An educated person has an opinion on any subject.
Educated persons can give a probable answer on any question. The
answer does not have to be exact, or even correct, but a person must
have some ideas to discuss on the subject." [Thus, it is not necessary
to know the facts in order to articulate an opinion; an opinion may
even be completely unsubstantiated in an argument. Thus, if a
contention or opinion is not founded on verified and valid
information, it is irrelevant.]
Smart Problems in Physics, Some Philosophy Behind It, Probable Answers
By Vladimir Shelest

4) Argument four: There is a fundamental difference between argument
and opinion. "In mathematics, we make assumptions. We then prove
whatever possible from them. This leads us to believe such things as 2
+ 2 is 4. In science, we demonstrate through repeated experiment. And
we do not need many trials to believe that objects released above the
ground fall to it. In a philosophical sense, neither of the above is
fact. But we would be quite foolish to act otherwise. Certainly they
are something quite different from opinion. So in order to get on with
life, we call these facts and act accordingly. We often must do the
same with opinions. If reasonable people hold different views, then we
are dealing with opinion, not fact. Given a need to act in the absence
of fact, we have no choice but to act upon an opinion. But doing so,
does not convert the opinion selected to fact."

5) Argument five: "The worth of the opinion. The difference between
fact and opinion matters. In the case of a hypothetical brain tumor,
what is the worth of an opinion from a respected neurologist? As an
opinion, it means only that a cat scan is in order. A radiologist will
examine the results, then be able to demonstrate whether or not there
is a tumor. Either way, the conclusion is fact. The opinion of the
neurologist may have been required for authorization of the cat scan,
but however accurate, it never was anything but an opinion." [An
opinion, is rarely based on corroborated and verified information.
Thus the value of an opinion is wholly dependent on the caliber of
it’s source, and not the caliber of the facts themselves]
Points 4 and 5 were from
"My Opinion is as Good as Yours!" by Bob McElwaim,

6) Argument Six: Relativity. "Neither does relativity flatly state
that everyone is correct to believe their own measurements of whether
two events are simultaneous or not. In the language of relativity,
everyone is correct 'from their own point of view'. It may be that,
from their particular point of view, everyone has some ground for
believing that they have accurately determined the order of events.
Nevertheless, it is not possible for everyone to be correct. If
everyone has a different opinion about which is the best football team
in the premiership it may not be possible to determine conclusively
who is correct, and so you may be inclined to say that they are
'entitled to their point of view'. Entitled or not, the best team is
by definition only one team, and the opinions of all but one football
supporter are wrong, even though it's not possible say whose opinion
is correct"
The Rhetoric of Relativity, www/

7) Argument seven: The array of opinions: "Everyone does have (or
should have) the freedom to hold their own beliefs and the freedom to
try to persuade others of the truth of those beliefs. But not all
beliefs can in fact be equally true. If you believe the Earth is flat,
and I believe it is roughly spherical, we could both be wrong (it's a
tetrahedron), but we can't both be right. If I believe the Sun goes
round the Earth, and you believe the Earth goes round the Sun, we
can't both be right...When it comes to the difference between the
Earth going round the Sun and the Sun going round the Earth, we don’t
just shrug our shoulders and say ‘everyone’s entitled to their own
opinion.’ Rather, we look at the evidence, at the facts, and try to
figure out whose opinion is actually right…Let me put it differently. 
If they say there's no evidence, how can they be so arrogant as to
think that they know enough to be sure of this?  Have they examined
the possible evidence? Or have they just dismissed it without even
looking at it?  And if so, how are they any different from the kind of
person who would ignore the evidence, and still believe that the Earth
is flat?" [All opinions are expressed I order to persuade or convince
someone of an idea. Thus in doing so, vital data that does not
necessarily support the viability of the idea will be discarded. This
creates a prejudiced environment around all opinions.]

From: FAQ for Phillip Pullman, His Dark Materials,

8) Argument eight: The issue of respect and judgmentalism. "Ordinarily
we use the term "judgmental" to mean that an individual makes an
excess of negative judgments. You doubtless have met individuals who
seem to have an opinion--often negative--about everything and
anything. This kind of acceptance requires me to believe that all
individuals [and their opinions] are entitled to be treated as if they
were significant and important merely because they belong to the human
race. I do not accept you because you are white, black, Christian,
Buddhist, young, old, accomplished, educated, cultivated, talented,
etc. I must accept you because you are you. It does not boil down
merely to putting up with you. It involves welcoming you because you
are, like me, a member of Homo sapiens. Earned respect means that the
person whom one respects has justified it in some way. In a sense, you
don't respect someone unless and until the individual has done
something to deserve it. [The right to have one’s opinion respected
also requires that one is deemed competent. Only when an individual
has proven that they are educated and informed, can their opinion ever
be appreciated or accepted]
From: "And Just Exactly Why Should I Respect You?" Introduction, www.

9) Argument nine: Established Theory. "Absolute truth begins with each
of us admitting that none of us are consistently honest with our
selves and therefore not able to be honest with each other. Because of
our pride, to admit this, can be a difficult first step but it is well
worth the initial discomfort. Our lives are largely built upon
opinions that we have untruthfully labeled as facts. We have allowed
these pleasant sounding untruths to give us security, and very similar
to the attitudes of those who were on-board the Titanic, we believe
that we are more secure than we actually are.” [In an effort to avoid
objectionable facts, we tend to resort to half-truths (or opinions).
By subverting segments of these facts, they cease to become facts in
themselves. As a result, opinions expressed to abate the truth are
groundless, and the people who express them should not be taken
Truth, point 9, Similar to the Daniel Quinn/Ismael Theory

10) Argument ten, from 'The Problems of Philosophy' by Bertrand
Russell, "What we firmly believe, if it is true, is called knowledge,
provided it is either intuitive or inferred (logically or
psychologically) from intuitive knowledge from which it follows
logically. What we firmly believe, if it is not true, is called error.
What we firmly believe, if it is neither knowledge nor error, and also
what we believe hesitatingly, because it is, or is derived from,
something which has not the highest degree of self-evidence, may be
called ‘probable opinion’. Thus the greater part of what would
commonly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion. A body of
individually probable opinions, if they are mutually coherent, become
more probable than any one of them would be individually. It is in
this way that many scientific hypotheses acquire their probability.
They fit into a coherent system of probable opinions, and thus become
more probable than they would be in isolation. The same thing applies
to general philosophical hypotheses. Often in a single case such
hypotheses may seem highly doubtful, while yet, when we consider the
order and coherence which they introduce into a mass of probable
opinion, they become pretty nearly certain. This applies, in
particular, to such matters as the distinction between dreams and
waking life. If our dreams, night after night, were as coherent one
with another as our days, we should hardly know whether to believe the
dreams or the waking life. As it is, the test of coherence condemns
the dreams and confirms the waking life. But this test, though it
increases probability where it is successful, never gives absolute
certainty, unless there is certainty already at some point in the
coherent system. Thus the mere organization of probable opinion will
never, by itself, transform it into indubitable knowledge."
From, ‘The Problems Of Philosophy’, Chapter XIII “ Knowledge, Error,
And Probable Opinion”  By Bertrand Russell, Copyright 2001

You may find the following link useful:
Statement of Teaching Philosophy, by Robert W. Jensen, April 2001
(An analysis of opinion)

Search Strategy:
"everyone is entitled to their own opinion"+argument

If necessary, please feel free to ask for a clarification on this
Hope this helps!
dood-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
sabrina j6-ga did an excellent job on a very difficult topic.  As she
said, websites on the topic, or full discussions were almost
non-existent.  She looked under the rocks and found substance anyway. 
The question was of personal interest only and not for any project,
but the answer was scholarly.

Subject: Re: "Everyone is NOT entitled to their own opinion."
From: kriswrite-ga on 10 Feb 2003 23:20 PST
Here is a quote that is similar to Rooney's (and probably inspired him):

"You're not entitled to your opinion; you're entitled to an *informed*"
Harlan Ellison

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