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  • Monday, July 25, 2005


    Confidence, Certainty, and the Truth

    The relationship between facts and opinion is convoluted. I often have to sort through many facts in an effort to arrive at a comprehensive understanding or perspective that suits me. This isn't any different from what anyone else does but I feel an acute desire to be confident in the facts at my fingertips and the overall structure I fit them into.

    The thing is, everyone has levels of trust in the veracity of certain sources of information and distrust of other sources. This trust is usually dependent on a variety of reasons but often seems keyed to specific political or moral views. Sometimes trust of a informational source may be dependent on a opinion held by a pundit or a respected group. Perhaps someone says "This newspaper is obviously liberal and is not to be trusted because of their bias." And that will be enough for someone to believe it. The person may never actually look at this source. "So and so says the paper is liberal. That's good enough for me."

    The false labeling of ideas and sources can cause people to discount them before they ever actually look at the original idea/source and form their own opinion. This is the bane of public debate.

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