Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Is it wrong to teach people that all opinions are equal? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    We're told all through school that "opinions can't be wrong" and "all opinions are equal".

    But there are grown adults holding opinions like "vaccines cause autism", "evolution is a myth", and "global warming isn't real". People without even the most basic, simple understanding of a subject will vehemently disagree with people who have studied a subject their entire lives. Often when they're challenged, their only defense will be "it's my opinion."

    These same people seem to pull things out of thin air whenever it's convenient. The EU referendum is a brilliant example: you'll see huge amounts of people claiming that immigrants take more in benefits than they bring it, which is factually untrue - it can't even be debated, it's just wrong. Or you'll see people claiming "the EU will benefit economically from leaving" - they have absolutely nothing to back up what they're saying, this is the entire content of their opinion. When qualified economists disagree... "Well, it's my opinion".

    These people then vote based on their opinions.

    Is it wrong to tell children going through school that opinions can't be wrong, or that they're equal? Some opinions are more informed than others, some are just stupid, and some are utterly wrong, but grown adults are incapable of understanding this. I believe ignorance is the biggest threat to democracy. People should be taught that an opinion is only valid if you've actually informed yourself, and to question every opinion they hear. The amount of people that don't or even can't do this is horrifying.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JordanL_)
    We're told all through school that "opinions can't be wrong" and "all opinions are equal".

    But there are grown adults holding opinions like "vaccines cause autism", "evolution is a myth", and "global warming isn't real". People without even the most basic, simple understanding of a subject will vehemently disagree with people who have studied a subject their entire lives. Often when they're challenged, their only defense will be "it's my opinion."

    These same people seem to pull things out of thin air whenever it's convenient. The EU referendum is a brilliant example: you'll see huge amounts of people claiming that immigrants take more in benefits than they bring it, which is factually untrue - it can't even be debated, it's just wrong. Or you'll see people claiming "the EU will benefit economically from leaving" - they have absolutely nothing to back up what they're saying, this is the entire content of their opinion. When qualified economists disagree... "Well, it's my opinion".

    These people then vote based on their opinions.

    Is it wrong to tell children going through school that opinions can't be wrong, or that they're equal? Some opinions are more informed than others, some are just stupid, and some are utterly wrong, but grown adults are incapable of understanding this. I believe ignorance is the biggest threat to democracy. People should be taught that an opinion is only valid if you've actually informed yourself, and to question every opinion they hear. The amount of people that don't or even can't do this is horrifying.
    Its very true some opinions are just stupid. It's hard to say. People won't accpet that their opinions are not that correct.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    It's nonsense that all opinions are equal.

    "It's just my opinion bro!" - Adolf Hitler (1945)
    Online

    19
    ReputationRep:
    I have never been taught that "all opinions are equal" in school, but you're right of course. It's one thing being entitled to have and project your opinion, and another entirely to have people respect or agree with it. Shame that this is also being propagated by the media (CNN is a prime example of this) with their infamous 50:50 reporting.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JordanL_)
    We're told all through school that "opinions can't be wrong" and "all opinions are equal".

    But there are grown adults holding opinions like "vaccines cause autism", "evolution is a myth", and "global warming isn't real". People without even the most basic, simple understanding of a subject will vehemently disagree with people who have studied a subject their entire lives. Often when they're challenged, their only defense will be "it's my opinion."

    These same people seem to pull things out of thin air whenever it's convenient. The EU referendum is a brilliant example: you'll see huge amounts of people claiming that immigrants take more in benefits than they bring it, which is factually untrue - it can't even be debated, it's just wrong. Or you'll see people claiming "the EU will benefit economically from leaving" - they have absolutely nothing to back up what they're saying, this is the entire content of their opinion. When qualified economists disagree... "Well, it's my opinion".

    These people then vote based on their opinions.

    Is it wrong to tell children going through school that opinions can't be wrong, or that they're equal? Some opinions are more informed than others, some are just stupid, and some are utterly wrong, but grown adults are incapable of understanding this. I believe ignorance is the biggest threat to democracy. People should be taught that an opinion is only valid if you've actually informed yourself, and to question every opinion they hear. The amount of people that don't or even can't do this is horrifying.
    I don’t know if what I’m about to say is going to disagree with or support your argument but don’t you think that maybe people voicing their opinions in the way they feel is most correct gives them a sense of stance. The fact that we have the ability to say what we feel (whether it may be controversial or not) is the beauty of discussion. No? Often people who are experienced in their field and are ‘best suited’ to make the perfect judgements/decisions on a particular issue creates the idea of seclusion and prevents people who may actually have good contributions to participate.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Opinions are all valid, but do not all hold the same weight.

    A leading evolutionary biologists opinion on evolution is probably slightly more valid than that of your local priest.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Of course not all "opinions" are equal.

    First of all, I feel like I need to address the issue put forth in the original post. There's a difference between "fact" and "opinion". Opinions are subjective ideas about our surroundings. Facts are objective truths about our surroundings. To say that blue is the best color is subjective, and thus an opinion, but to say that evolution is real is objective, and thus a fact. You can't disagree with facts nor can you have differing opinions on facts. You can think that gravity is just a "theory", but that doesn't mean you won't fall down a cliff if you step over the ledge.

    But even among subjective experiences there are rights and wrongs. For an example, if someone claims that a murder is a wonderful thing, but someone else disagrees, you'll put more value into the latter opinion, due to the fact that you're guided by (I assume) right moral compass. While morals can't be directly guided by scientific and objective facts, they are important. But the first opinion is wrong in any case, and people, not child children should be taught to think reasonably, kindly and critically. Through education, children need to be taught to take both objective truths and moral subjective ideas into account.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    All opinions are equal but actions are not the same as opinions, at the end of the day you are perfectly entitled to say that you think vaccines cause autism but once you stop your children from being vaccinated because of this it's a different story
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    All opinions are equally valid, deserving equal airtime, if backed up by logical argument and/or evidence. Debate will do the rest.

    I also think people should have to write reasons for voting the way they do.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Compelling argument on opinions
    I think there needs to be a distinguished definition on what children are taught on opinions - there are educated opinions and narrow minded opinions. Perhaps we need to teach there are fact based opinions, and opinions conveyed by those that are narrow minded
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    yesss I always have frustrating debates with my classmates, usually ending in my friend storming out because I refuse to accept her argument

    'if you feel it, it's right'

    lol v annoying yes
    Spoiler:
    Show
    we were discussing transgenderism type thing, which I thought would be interesting to see what people's opinions might be, ended up sparking some full fledged attack for some reason
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Opinions are fine, but should be seen as seperate from assertions.

    E.G "Spider man is my favourite film", is fine, and nobody has any right to say 'YOUR OPINION IS WRONG.'

    BUT: "Spider man is the best film".-Is an assertion and is open to feedback/criticism because it's no longer subjective you've turned it into an absolute.

    That's my opinion-turned-assertion at least.

    Best regards.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Francis Urquhart)
    Opinions are fine, but should be seen as seperate from assertions.

    E.G "Spider man is my favourite film", is fine, and nobody has any right to say 'YOUR OPINION IS WRONG.'

    BUT: "Spider man is the best film".-Is an assertion and is open to feedback/criticism because it's no longer subjective you've turned it into an absolute.

    That's my opinion-turned-assertion at least.

    Best regards.
    Have you ever studied Philosophy by any chance?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by QuibblerWaffle)
    Have you ever studied Philosophy by any chance?
    Got a C in it at A-level, if it wasn't for that pesky ethics exam i woulda got a B! :P

    Though not trying to brag but our philosophy didn't really touch on this, closest we got was religious language.

    I work at a school so the analogy is based on what is quite common at school: students being unable to tell apart an opinion from an assertion. Therefore leading to a series of inveitable conflict that i as a member of staff am compelled to break up!

    Best regards, sorry for the wordy reply.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Francis Urquhart)
    Got a C in it at A-level, if it wasn't for that pesky ethics exam i woulda got a B! :P

    Though not trying to brag but our philosophy didn't really touch on this, closest we got was religious language.

    I work at a school so the analogy is based on what is quite common at school: students being unable to tell apart an opinion from an assertion. Therefore leading to a series of inveitable conflict that i as a member of staff am compelled to break up!

    Best regards, sorry for the wordy reply.
    You just sounded really Philosophy'ee.
    I hope to sound Philosophy'ee one day
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Without taking Philosophy as an A level because I can't get my head around essay writing for the life of me.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by QuibblerWaffle)
    You just sounded really Philosophy'ee.
    I hope to sound Philosophy'ee one day
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Without taking Philosophy as an A level because I can't get my head around essay writing for the life of me.
    Haha thanks! And yeah philosophy is far more accessible than it sounds and i've always hated the (here's more philosophy'ee!) superifical nature of essay writing and exams, i miss the good ole' days of sitting under trees in the sun reading books. Wish i did more of that as an A-level student instead of slogging it to greggs and forcing donoughts down my throat in the form of stress-eating! :P

    I'll leave you with this slightly (but unintentionally) patronising (but useful) point: Never stop learning! Never stop exploring the limits of your mind and the limits of the world! Never say never! And never give up!

    Best regards to ya!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Never tell a feminist that their opinions are valid let alone equal
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by JordanL_)
    We're told all through school that "opinions can't be wrong" and "all opinions are equal".

    But there are grown adults holding opinions like "vaccines cause autism", "evolution is a myth", and "global warming isn't real". People without even the most basic, simple understanding of a subject will vehemently disagree with people who have studied a subject their entire lives. Often when they're challenged, their only defense will be "it's my opinion."

    These same people seem to pull things out of thin air whenever it's convenient. The EU referendum is a brilliant example: you'll see huge amounts of people claiming that immigrants take more in benefits than they bring it, which is factually untrue - it can't even be debated, it's just wrong. Or you'll see people claiming "the EU will benefit economically from leaving" - they have absolutely nothing to back up what they're saying, this is the entire content of their opinion. When qualified economists disagree... "Well, it's my opinion".

    These people then vote based on their opinions.

    Is it wrong to tell children going through school that opinions can't be wrong, or that they're equal? Some opinions are more informed than others, some are just stupid, and some are utterly wrong, but grown adults are incapable of understanding this. I believe ignorance is the biggest threat to democracy. People should be taught that an opinion is only valid if you've actually informed yourself, and to question every opinion they hear. The amount of people that don't or even can't do this is horrifying.
    The opinions embolden in the first paragraph are not comparable to the opinions embolden in the second paragraph. The first are proven, scientific facts. The second is a political statement, that can be interpreted differently to lot of different people. It depends on how you define "benefits" in its socio-economic context.. (Financial? Cultural? Political? Social security? Welfare payments? employment? Public services? - it's rather ambiguous.)

    However, I do agree with you. Some opinions are clearly wrong and are not "equal". But that only becomes a problem when somebody puts their opinion forward as if its a fact.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    We must have gone to very different schools. I was taught from a young age to base my opinion on fact.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    There's something wrong with your school...


    Posted from TSR Mobile
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Has a teacher ever helped you cheat?
    Useful resources
    Uni match

    Applying to uni?

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course

    Articles:

    Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

    Quick link:

    Educational debate unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.