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Truth, Opinion and PC Culture

A summary of the article in a diagram

We as a society did not replace truth with our opinions.

We tell others what we think is true (and perhaps it is true), but we hide it behind the façade of “opinion” in order to be sensitive towards one another.

Not everything we claim to be an “opinion” is truly only an opinion. Perhaps our opinions are true, and are backed by a consistent logic and evidence, but because we are a heterogeneous society with large portions of it believing in things that are not true, the “religion” of political correctness has “forced” us to portray some truths as opinions, so the feelings of those who deny those truths won’t get hurt.

A specific situation at work

In a specific situation during work, the employees (most of which are religious) spoke about evolution. One of them said, “If people want to believe that humans originated from apes, let them believe that.”

The thing is, evolution is backed by a lot of evidence, and it doesn’t even mean that humans originated from apes. It says that humans and apes share a common ancestor.

The funny thing is, her ignorance about evolution, a scientifically proven theory, made her religious beliefs to be nothing more than an opinion she and many of the workers there hold, if they are indeed so sure that evolution means that humans came from apes. But, since only I (apparently) knew she was wrong about evolution, only I stood up against her.

Her question and my response

She asked me, “And in what do you believe?”, to which I replied, “I believe in accurate information from reliable sources.”

She replied, “But isn’t the Old Testament a reliable source?”

Well, since some information in the Bible has been proven wrong by science (such as the 7 days of creation, the world being only a few thousand years old, and not mentioning dinosaurs at all, if I’m not mistaken), I told her that the Bible is not completely correct about everything that is written there.

But in order to cooperate with each other during work and avoid potentially aggressive conflicts, we had no choice but to respect and accept each other's beliefs as "opinions" and move on with our assignments (even though I was correct).

From this anecdote, we can conclude that we are sometimes "forced" to portray truths as nothing more than "opinions" in order to live together harmoniously. The phrase "everyone has their own opinion" is often used (at least in Israel) to end a conversation or to avoid conflict, because the word "opinion" is more respectful than the word "truth," even if what we believe is actually true.

So we did not necessarily replace truth with opinion; we replaced truth with political correctness, in the name of cooperation and harmony within a heterogeneous society. Those who do not accept the opinions of others (even if true) are often portrayed as either aggressive or arrogant, as if those who do not accept the beliefs of others are "omniscient."

Being an intellectual is not always easy when others feel threatened by your debating, memorization of evidence, and logical skills. Perhaps as a result, they have developed the stereotype that intellectuals are arrogant and narcissistic dreamers who believe that they know everything and are superior to others. Or they may believe that intellectuals are simply "trolling"—a belief that may be used as a way to overcome the uneasy feeling of being intimidated.

Therefore, we—intellectuals and non-intellectuals alike—in a global society of various cultures, are faced with the choice of either being tolerant of others' possible and/or existent truths as "just your opinion," or of assigning the other one or more stereotypes as a justification for their beliefs that we disagree with, when we don't necessarily have equally logical and evident counterarguments to their own arguments.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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