What is the Difference between Facts and Opinions?

This is a short blog about the differences between facts and opinions.

I am writing this because I have noticed, over the last several years, people tend to confuse facts with opinions and opinions with facts.

What is a Fact?  A fact is something that is either true or false.

  • For example, the color of the sky (on a clear day) is blue. That statement is a fact.
  • For example, the outside temperature is 90 degrees. That statement is a fact.
  • For example, my dog is a husky. That statement is a fact.

While someone can challenge an established “fact”, this person would have to show proof that the “fact” is not correct.  Sorry, but just saying, “You’re wrong!” or mocking what the person said does not cut it.

However it is wise to treat things like “scientific facts” with skepticism, since not everything we are told (especially online) is in fact true.

For example, someone online makes a bold claim about a particular topic. You go to a friend of yours who has 20+ years experience in that same area. The issue? Almost everything your friend says contradicts what this online “expert” tells you. What does this tell you? Well at the very least, the online “expert” does not know what he is talking about.

So what are opinions then?  An opinion is either something that someone believes to be true (has not yet been proven to be a fact), cannot be proven at all for some reason, or something that could have more than one answer.

  • The color tan looks good on that wall. That statement is an opinion. Why?  Because something that looks good to one person may not to another.
  • That little dog is cute! That statement is an opinion, because while this person thinks the dog is cute, someone else may not think so.
  • Large smart phones are better than smaller ones. This too is an opinion. Some people may prefer smaller smart phones to larger ones.

Here is a real life example.  A friend of mine (we will call her Grace), posted a YouTube video showing some inaccuracies in another YouTube video she found.

Someone eventually posted a “rebuttal” comment showing why none of her corrections was “correct”.  The funny thing is…this person did not use logical arguments in most of his comment.

He was triggered, and wanted to trash Grace’s video using emotional (mostly non-factual, opinionated, weak) arguments.

Interestingly when Grace responded back to all of his arguments, he never did reply.  He just dropped himself from the debate that he had started.  I suspect he could not reply, because he was mostly arguing from his emotions and not from established facts.

Another thing that I found interesting, the owner of the video Grace responded to found out about her rebuttal video, and claimed that he watched about a “minute” of her video and found it “boring”.

The entire video was almost 8 minutes long.  How does he know the whole video is “boring” when he didn’t even give it an honest review (per his own admission)?  He too, was triggered (based upon his online responses) and could not even give a mature response to her video.  Yikes!

Now to be clear, I have no problem with people giving their honest opinions.  What I do have a problem with is people who try to pass their opinions off as facts, when they cannot provide proof.

Worse these people will usually (in my experience) insult you for your opinion, just based upon the fact that you said something that they did not agree with.  That is uncalled for and definitely disrespectful.

Posted in General, Society