The Search for Facts in a Sea of Opinions

My Opinion on Facts

In today’s fast paced world, we are often bombarded with a lot of data elements. But is it Factual Data? Making decision based on data is a good step towards making great decision. How can we make sure the data presented is factual vs. an opinion? After all, if we are making real business decisions, or real life decisions, would you want to make it based on someones opinion (which for the most part may not be verifiable) or based on a fact?

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What is a Fact

Simply stated, a fact is a truth. A fact is a statement of truth that can be verified and is able to be proven as true. An opinion, in contrast to a fact, is a statement that reflects an author’s or the speaker’s point of view, beliefs, perspective, personal feelings, and values. Opinions cannot be verified and proven to be true or false like a fact can be verified and proven to be true because an opinion does not need to be factual. A person’s opinion can be supported or refuted when a critically thinking reader scrutinizes and evaluates the opinions based on documented, valid, and reliable facts.

Opinions can be accurate and true but opinions can also be completely false and untrue. In other words, an opinion can be a fact when it is accurate, true, and verifiable with evidence. In addition to these differences between a fact and an opinion, facts are objective and opinions are subjective; facts are consistently repeatable in terms of their measurement and observation with empirical senses, and, opinions are not repeatable in terms of their measurement and observation with empirical senses. By the way empirical senses have to do with your five senses; vision, hearing, smelling, tasting, and the sense of touch. These are ways you experience life, and determine facts. Don’t get too close to these being all facts; you can be fooled by professional deceivers like magicians quite easily.

So why is this important?

One of the biggest inventions of the twentieth century is the creation of the Internet. Everyone, including myself, has been known to say stuff like “If you need to know how to do this, just Google it”. We look to the Internet for answers all the time, but is the Internet a factual source?

What are we doing here???

What I want you to do is lookup two things using two different search engines; Google and DuckDuckGo.

Open two browsers and place them side by side. On the left side, go to www.google.com
(Links to an external site.)
. On the right side go to www.duckduckgo.com
(Links to an external site.)
.

First search

In both pages, search the same thing: “why did vote counting pause”

Take a snapshot of your screen with both browsers showing side by side and paste this in a PDF document.

Second search

Search for a topic, on both sites again, that is close to you. Try to think of something a bit controversial; politics, scientific belief, cultural, etc. Maybe even something that you believe to be factual but maybe now thinking it may be more of an opinion.

Take a snapshot of your screen with both browsers showing side by side and paste it in the PDF document.

Answer these Questions

1. Why are the results so different?

2. Which site is more “Factual” and why do you think it is factual?

3. Could there be a mix of facts and opinions that influence the way we think about our culture, life, beliefs?

4. What other sources of data on the Internet influence our culture, life and beliefs?

What about You (zero points)

Have you ever searched the Internet for your name? Do so now on both sites and see what comes up. Possibly nothing, possibly a lot. After searching for yourself, copy the result of the sites showing something you thought was interesting or unexpected; website list or a surprising picture. If nothing comes up, not a big deal.

What about Your Opinions (Also zero points, but could be life-changing)

Watch this TED talk for thought process improvements, Free of Charge!!!

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