Yesterday’s Dilbert:

In everyday reasoning, opinion and belief hold sway; evidence takes precedence only in certain special contexts — legal and scientific, in particular.

Which brings us to “I’m entitled to my opinion”.

I’ve told this story several times on the net. It involves Ann Daingerfield Zwicky (who died in 1985) teaching freshman composition at Ohio State many years ago. She started a class discussion on Anerican politics and got a pointed criticism from one student that Jimmy Carter had no military experience (so was incompetent to lead in military matters). But, but, Ann said, Carter served as a Navy officer.

No, the student said, that’s my opinion.

Ann did her best to say that this was not a matter of opinion, but of fact, but got nowhere. She came home in tears of exasperation. And, I am afraid, no classroom lessons were learned.

Now I read about X deniers (fior various X) and hear the same “but that’s my opinion“, and I despair. Evidence is irrelevant.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: