Caleb’s Concepts: Why Everything is just a matter of Opinion


Caleb Garbuio, Columnist

Next time you fail your math test, tell your teacher to give you an A. Why? Because you failed because of their opinion. While clearly a joke, this point questions what makes something right or wrong.

Right and wrong depend entirely on someone’s worldview. For example, nonreligious people  do not believe in a supernatural world, while religious people believe in a higher power to explain things. These perspectives shape their life outlook giving the appearance of an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.

There will never be a right answer to these worldviews because only the person who holds them can change them. During a mental health workshop I took as a student athlete, I learned that the best way to foster change is through having people recognize the issue. 

We can tell people the “right” course of action, but if they do not recognize it themselves, they will never change. Ever try debating a relative with an opposing political opinion? Did you convince them? 

Look at who people think is the “winner” of a political debate. It will always be the candidate they will vote for anyways. Psychologists call this thinking error confirmation bias because people accept new information that supports their worldview and reject other information. This means that value judgements, such as right and wrong, are references to how we perceive outside events. 

This is why there is still a debate about the existence of God. For two people may be exposed to the same event, yet will come to different interpretations of that event. The believer will apply their belief in God as a cause for the situation, while the nonbeliever will not.

Since humans have internal bias, then all human inventions will have a degree of it, including science. Yet, scientists argue that the scientific method prevents human bias from bleeding into science. I would ask these scientists how the scientific method allowed wonky ideas like Social Darwinism to take place.

During the late 19th century, many scientists used the teachings of Charles Darwin regarding human evolution to form a human hierarchy based on race, gender, intellectual abilities and wealth. These scientists followed the “scientific method” which led to the sterilization of 8,000 people in North Carolina alone. Interestingly enough, Charles Darwin hailed from a long line of fervent abolitionists, and many speculate his commitment to proving human evolution by chance was influenced by his hatred of slavery, Adrian Desmond and James Moore say. According to their biography, Darwin was outraged when he saw the suffering inflicted by slavery and was motivated to prove that all humans came from one common ancestor.  

Yet, people’s personal opinions about human evolution impacted methods “free” of human bias. Despite horrible things being done in science’s name, it has made the world a better place. Why? Because good people found different interpretations of existing information. The world will be a better place when everyone comes together and shares similar opinions about the right course of action.

Don’t believe me? You don’t have to. After all, it is just my opinion.