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/