Week 2: Nature of Opinion.

 Nature of Opinion:

Until the late 18th century it was believed that ringing church bells would drive away thunderstorms. During a thunderstorm, bell ringers would run to the bell towers to ring the bells, oblivious of the fact that a high tower with a metal bell was in fact the worst place to be. Between 1753 and 1786, 103 bell ringers were struck by lightning and killed. Evidence contrary to the belief, led to the custom being banned. The discussion of the nature of anything, would ideally involve the usual and expected characteristics of the thing in question. An opinion is characterized as a belief which is typically unsupported by evidence or reason, that is, it is not based on fact or knowledge. Having complete knowledge about a subject will always be superior to just having an opinion on it, even if the opinion proves to be correct, for example being lost while driving a person guesses that turning left will lead to the desired destination, which later proves to be true.

Opinion vs Facts:

In order to differentiate between an opinion and a fact we must focus on statements like “I feel”, or “It is my belief”, while reading or listening to information. These statements tell us that something subjective, something based on emotion and open to interpretation is being communicated. We know that it is something that can not be confirmed, and it is inherently biased. A fact, on the other hand is proven information, which is based on reason and accepted by majority.

 Is it possible to assert that all knowledge simply a matter of opinion?

 In the light of what has been discussed so far in this post, to assert that all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion, is unjustified. Something is a matter of opinion, if its not capable of being proven. In other words, an opinion backed up with reasoning is not a matter of opinion any more, because it is now supported with evidence. Simply an opinion can not override the established knowledge in any discipline, and even if someone disagrees with an established position, they will be required to provide arguments of their own.

Simply put, knowledge begins with a belief, that corresponds to reality because there is enough justification in support of the belief. Justification must come in the form of a testimony from someone, who is expert on the topic in question. Nevertheless, people have self imposed constraints on their knowledge, because they are so badly inclined to believe something that it becomes a fact to them. In these cases, facts alone are not enough because showing facts will make these people question the sources that are against their belief. Such people can not even make out the difference between their true experience, and their false belief, and to lessen the impact on their brains of this cognitive dissonance, they come out stronger in favor of their belief through motivated reasoning. It seems, for these people knowledge is simply a matter of opinion.

 In conclusion, people of knowledge do not let emotions and biases in the way of making an informed choice. They do not mind adjusting their deeply held belief system, if presented with conclusive evidence, and even in charged situations do not succumb to information tribalism. 

(2017, Nov 20). 10 striking facts about lightning. Retrieved from https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/storms/thunder-and-lightning/facts-about-lightning

LaBossiere M. (2007, Aug 26). Is philosophy just a matter of opinion? A Philosopher’s Blog. Retrieved from https://aphilosopher.drmcl.com/2007/08/26/is-philosophy-just-a-matter-of-opinion/

Imagine Easy Solutions. (2014, Aug 25). How to Identify Fact vs Opinion in Writing & Research [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTZjqOU_6Vc&feature=youtu.be

CrashCourse. (2016, Mar 21). The Meaning of Knowledge: Crash Course Philosophy #7 [Video File] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXhJ3hHK9hQ

Beck J. (2017, Mar 13). This Article Won’t Change Your Mind. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/this-article-wont-change-your-mind/519093/

 

 

PHASE ONE:

WEEK 1

Hey everyone! My name is Cynthia DiSevo, and i’m in my third year of Law & Society at York University, with hopes of attending law school in the near future! When I’m not at York you could probably find me in the gym, at work, napping, playing with my dog or watching netflix. I love meeting and talking to new people, and I am excited to get to know everyone. 

This course is very different then anything I have ever taken before, therefore I am looking forward to the course project as a way to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone, and think about things in a different manner. I also enjoy the fact that this project incorporates different technology and the concept of podcasts because I feel like it is something we are all familiar with and it will be enjoyable to make our own, tailored to our own opinion. 

When looking to differing research tactics/ shortcuts used by undergraduates, I think a lot of people use both wikipedia and google scholar for quick and general information. These websites are useful because they are easily accessible to us and help in providing quick answers to questions, yet, can be limiting because some of the information may not be reliable or it unavailable to us because it is inclosed in a locked database or book. 

Looking forward to the weeks ahead! 

Week 2

The relationship between knowledge and opinion is quite complex, and at times it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. As mentioned in lecture, knowledge can be defined as “justified true belief”, which emphasizes that there is evidence or other support which leads individuals to believe that a certain statement is true. In contrast, a matter of opinion is a more relative concept that is not capeable of being proven, taking on a more subjective role. Therefore, when looking to and beginning to answer the question regarding whether all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion, I do not think that this is true. 

In the video posted on youtube by “Imagine Easy Solutions”, it looked over the differences and ways to distinguish between facts and opinion, insinuating that the two are indeed different. Opinions are generally subjective, cannot be confirmed, are open to interpretation, and based off of emotions; whereas facts are proven information that have been verified by experts and accepted by the wide majority. Therefore, if we assert all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion, this will eliminate the existence of facts and show that all truths, laws and conclusions are subjective and relative to the individuals drawing them. 

Looking to the study of philosophy as an example, one may argue that the profession is solely based off of individual opinion, which is not necessarily true. Within the field, the opinions proposed by individuals are backed up by evidence and reason, therefore making them valid truths within the domain. As well, one can see a hierarchy of opinions as well, deeming certain views and opinions better/ worse then others because of the experience of the individual sharing the knowledge. This leads me to conclude that opinions can indeed become knowledge if it is backed up with the proper evidence and reasoning that would take away its relativity and subjectivity and make it applicable and true to numerous individuals. 

- Cynthia DiSevo

Phase One:

Hello, I’m Trejahra Jackson, im in school currently for Professional Writing. When I was in grade 7 and I discovered the Twilight series my future was laid out before me. That’s what’s I wanted to do. I fell in love with reason and wanted to be doing that ever since. Becoming an author and book publisher has been the goal even though I’ve taken different courses that lead to a different future.

I think Google and YouTube can be used as a way to find information. YouTube is a bit of an easier way just because it’s a video and can seem faster.

Phase One

WEEK 2: Opinions

As we established in class, an opinion is a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Opinions are subjective and biased based on someone’s personal experiences and beliefs, meaning everyone has different opinions. A fact on the other hand, is something that is proven to be true. Concluding that all knowledge is a matter of opinion would effectively eliminate facts from the world, which is why I disagree that all knowledge is a matter of opinion.

Opinions are very important in every aspect of life, they’re part of what makes us who we are. In an academic sense however, an opinion isn’t very useful without proper support from facts. As mentioned in one of the linked YouTube videos, “How to Identify Fact vs. Opinion in Writing & Research”, expressing opinions will weaken your point because others won’t necessarily be able to relate to what you’re saying because they may have a different opinion. In order to make an effective point, you need to support your personal beliefs with facts. My point is, there are facts everywhere and they are a BIG part of a person’s knowledge as a whole.

To conclude, the prevalence of facts within our society is the reason I disagree that all knowledge is a matter of opinion.

Solutions, I. E. (2014, August 25). How to Identify Fact vs. Opinion in Writing & Research. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTZjqOU_6Vc&feature=youtu.be

Zach Cunningham

WEEK 1: Introduction

Hi everyone! My name is Zach and I am in my second year of Work and Labour Studies at York University. Outside of school, the majority of my life has been devoted to sports and video games; both of which I used to compete at a high level in, but still enjoy on a recreational level to this day. I have always been a very competitive person regardless of what I’m doing and I take pride in that. I enjoy a wide variety of sports such as basketball, baseball, hockey and lacrosse. As for video games, a lot of people are confused when I say I play them competitively. In short, I have been playing for money for about four years.

I am excited to start the course project because compared to my other projects and assignments at university so far, it is a unique concept. I watch several podcasts on YouTube, including: Ear Biscuits, Through the Wire and The CODCAST. I love the general idea and format of podcasts and I’m very excited to begin the process of creating one.

Wikipedia, among other “fairly reliable” sources, are commonly used for research purposes. Such sources can be very helpful in developing a broad understanding of a certain topic and/or answering specific questions without having to read through entire scholarly articles. This can of course be limiting due to the lack of credibility and the potential inaccuracies within their articles. Although I believe they can help in the aforementioned scenarios, I believe that some students rely on these sources too heavily.

I look forward to continuing this course and getting to know everyone!

Zach Cunningham

Phase 1

WEEK 1

Hi everyone! My name is Natalie and I am in my third year of professional writing at York. I am very active and enjoy working out and playing team sports. I am also a waitress at Jack Astors! I love meeting new people and I am excited to be working with a smaller group of people in this tutorial as I am pretty shy and I think this will make it easier to get to know everyone. 

 I am looking forward to this style of course as I have not done anything similar to this here at York. I struggle with studying for tests and exams and I am definitely stronger at working on independent projects so I think this will benefit me greatly. 

A common research tactic I use, as well as other students, is Wikipedia. We are constantly taught by preofessors and TA’s to not use Wikipedia as it is not a reliable source but I still tent to use it a bit and find it helpful to answer some quick questions or get a little background information on topics. However, I would never cite Wikipedia or use it as a primary source for any academic papers. 

WEEK 2

So what makes something an opinion? An opinion is defined as an individual’s judgement or personal claim. This statement can be based on facts but cannot be proven to be true or untrue as opinion is diverse or varies based on the individual. An opinion is a belief not supported by evidence, subjective, based on emotions and open to interpretation. An example of an opinion is a statement like ‘bananas are farmed ethically’. A “matter of opinion” however is something not capable of being proven true or false. ‘bananas taste amazing’. I believe that it is impossible to assert that all knowledge is a matter of opinion. A matter of opinion is a debatable statement and some knowledge is concrete. For example, ‘water is wet’. This is proven through chemistry and physics and is extremely difficult to be proven otherwise. 

Week 1: OVERWHELMING STITCHES

Hi everyone! I am Nicole and I am a first year York university student. I am in the Communication and media studies program. I am Ghanaian and Canadian, but I love the Ghanaian aspect of my life better, hahahaha! I love to meet new people and have very intellectual conversations. I like to talk a lot, but I have got my quiet times, especially in the morning. 

I am excited to be taking this course, even though it feels overwhelming and impossible. I believe it is going to aid me be a better youtuber and blog writer. I want to take on Journalism as a career later on, so I believe this research course is going to help me some way somehow in the future.

In contemporary times, most undergraduate students use online sources for their research more than going to libraries to flip through huge piles of books. This is because it is easier to access information online, but it may be limiting because most of the sources online may not be credible enough to use for academic work.

 

WEEK 2: KNOWLEDGE, OPINION & MATTER OF OPINION

Every individual has their opinion about everything, and opinions vary across. An opinion is a judgement or view formed about something. It hasn’t been proven or has any supporting evidence. It’s basically the views of people and how they think about issues or situations at stake. For instance, I could say “I believe pork is the best meat on earth”. This is my personal opinion about the meat. There is absolutely no evidence to support my claim that pork is the best meat. Am I speaking of the healthy aspect of it or how it tastes? However, if I’m talking about it based on how it tastes, then everyone has different taste buds, so my claim can’t be supported across board.

A matter of opinion is something not capable of being proven either way. Knowledge is a fact or information that is justified to be true. This means that it can be proven to be true or it can be confirmed with other sources. Once anybody is able to bring out a framed piece of knowledge, he or she should be able to back it up with enough evidence for others to believe. For example, Isaac Newton was able to make known the theory of gravitation with supporting evidence and has been tested by many to prove that indeed what he claims is true and this has made it a fact accepted by everyone all these years. Therefore, it would be difficult to assert that knowledge is simply a matter of opinion because a matter of opinion cannot be justified or proven to be true.

Conclusively, in actual sense, opinions are a matter of opinion because both of them cannot be justified and knowledge does not fall under this category. Knowledge can clearly be justified.

Week 1: About me.

Hello Everyone,

I am Jawad. This is my first year at York University, and fifth year in Canada. My main interest has always been reading and I must admit that I have always been fascinated by murder mysteries, and by the infinite number of ways that this crime can be committed, and the infinite motives behind it. At first, I used to think its only me, but believe me, I am not the only one, I know many people who are raising children while reading about dead bodies being disposed off in dreadful ways. Apart from reading, I take a lot of interest in Investing, and until recently held the title of “portfolio manager” of our savings account. The recent mayhem in the markets due to Trump’s trade war with China, took what’s left of the savings and the title in the control of my wife.

I am truly excited to be doing a project like this one, as it is something which is not in my comfort zone. I am also a bit apprehensive because of my unfamiliarity with the technology and podcasting in general.

The most commonly used research tactic by undergraduates, will most likely be online sources. Various research engines provide a lot of non-scholarly links, which are futile in university life as they will not be accepted as a valid citing. On the other hand, if the library resources are used effectively, they will open a whole new world to the student.

 

Jawad Khan

PHASE ONE

Week Two: Alternative Facts

I recently had a run-in with a quite unpleasant character who engaged me in a debate over a matter that is very dear to my heart. I remarked repeatedly that nothing he could say would change my stance, as the issue is deeply entrenched in my sense of identity, and he responded with a statement that was quite peculiar. He told me, “We have to debate these things so that these people will reconsider what they believe.” And yet, in my eyes, every single one of his arguments were flawed, incorrect, poorly worded and utterly unnecessary. Not once did I ever waver from my stance or question my belief.

Perhaps I was in the wrong. Perhaps he was. Or, most likely, we were both spewing out desperate half-truths in order to cling onto our fragile worldview. Dr. Michael LaBossiere, a philosophy professor, wrote an article that thoroughly debunks the notion that all information is simply a matter of opinion using rigorous logic. He states that many people hold a misconception that all opinions are equally valid and equally true. The allure of this misconception is tangible, especially in a society where we emphasize respect, equity and acceptance. It would seem that in a perfect world, every opinion would be respected equally. I believe this thought process stems from a misunderstanding over the definition of an opinion. Many people automatically assume opinions are rooted solely in emotional reasoning and cannot be taken as true or even probable. But in actuality, what we define as opinions are actually matters of opinion, defined in lecture as something that cannot be proven as true or false. On the other hand, opinions can be justified and rooted in evidence, and these opinions must be taken as more valid as matters of opinion or opinions based on incorrect or misleading information.

LaBossiere, M. (2007, August 26). Is philosophy just a matter of opinion? Retrieved from https://aphilosopher.drmcl.com/2007/08/26/is-philosophy-just-a-matter-of-opinion/

Week One: Feeling Pumped!

Hello, everyone! 😜 I promise that is the first and last emoji I will use on this blog (unless, of course, I’m allowed to put them in these posts). Anyway! The name’s Pan! This is my third year at York University and my first year on the Keele campus. Oui, je me suis inscrit au collège Glendon pour le français et les mathématiques avant de s’inscrire ici. (I’m not actually sure if my grammar is correct in this sentence. It’s… been a while since I’ve spoken French.) I’m in Math right now, but I’m planning on applying to the Social Work program here at York. I love writing and I’m very passionate about people—how they talk, how they think and how their inner world comes out in the way they behave and react to external stimuli.

Honestly, I’m pretty pumped for this assignment. As a Math major, I never really got to talk about things I was interested in. I also never ran into research papers in post-secondary. That being said, I only know one tactic for research. It was taught to me by my mother back when I was just a little kid. She told me to go to the library, find a number of books that look promising and then flip to the index and look for key words. The same logic applies to online journals—control-F, keyword changed my life.

This is definitely helpful in the sense that you can find what you need really quickly, as there tends not to be too much in any one book or journal that actually corresponds to what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, using it leaves you reading excerpts out of context. The author writes a book or journal with the intent of providing a cohesive thesis, after all. Picking and choosing certain pages without truly understanding the content can potentially be very dangerous and hurt your own credibility.

I’m looking forward to continuing on in this course and exploring more on how to research effectively!

Pan Goordat

Instructions

Hi all!

To keep things simple, we are creating and updating THREE blog posts each.

  1. The first blog post, titled PHASE ONE, will contain entries from weeks 1 through 4.

  2. The second blog post, titled PHASE TWO, will contain entries from weeks 5 through 8.

  3. The third blog post, titled PHASE THREE, will contain entries from weeks 9 through 12.

You’ll use headers to separate weekly entries as you edit & update the blog posts you’re working on.

Note that this assignment is worth a hefty amount of your course grade. Treat each blog post seriously. While your tone can stray from formal here and there, your posts should be thoughtful, well researched, and carefully considered.

While your TA will be checking for weekly blog post completion, they will be grading for substance after each blog is complete (week 4, week 8, week 12).

Formatting instructions, the schedule of prompts, and assessment information is available here.

Prof Bell

Dr Bell

Dr. Bell is the Director of York University's Writing Centre and a professor in the Writing Department's Professional Writing degree program. She spends her time devising ways of using critical pedagogy to support students' understanding of and commitment to academic and professional integrity. The podcast course is a result (and continuation) of one such experiment.