Fact and Fiction: The Difference Evidence Makes in Making a Opinion

By Amanda Eldreth

Elm Staff Writer

I am an avid animal rights’ activist. Some of my best friends disagree with the majority of my beliefs but they respect them. An acquaintance of mine, however, presented me with this hypothetical dilemma: who I would choose to save between a dying person or dog.?

I felt that his question was too simple to be able to answer honestly; I wanted to know how they had been injured, who was the person, why was that scenario unfolding before my hypothetical self.  There was no hesitation in his response that the details were unimportant-you help your own, first and always.

But details are important. How can someone be so quick to form an opinion without knowing all facts? Is someone truly capable of judging the entire picture based off of one snippet?

There are those people who seem to think the answer is yes; one instance can engrain an opinion into their mind, and then they create facts to support that roughly shaped view. The world does not always bend itself to our needs though. You should not force facts to fit an opinion but rather, examine all the facts first. When you know all sides to an argument, you can then form an educated opinion.

There will always be an entire spectrum of beliefs on any topic. When someone finds themself on the opposite side of what has generally been accepted as normal, it can be a challenge not to go overboard with emotions and actions. Just as there have been political groups that give parties a bad image, some animal rights’ groups have been labeled extreme and are immediately disregarded by some.

The fight for anima rights is still relatively new as stable movements just began worldwide in the twentieth century. Supporters of this ongoing movement are attempting to change ideas and attitudes that have existed for centuries, and sometimes even they don’t use the knowledge that is readily available to build their opinions around the scientific and educated facts.

PETA, for instance, has been known for its extreme tendencies in order to gain attention, but its actions have backfired and generated negativity towards all animal rights’ supporters. What is frustrating for me is that people assume anyone who considers themself an activist is accused of only reading one-sided propaganda that was written by those who believe humans are evil monsters who like to cut up animals for fun.

The truth of the matter is: those people exist. There are people who do strongly believe that humans are evil monsters and so they contribute to and read such propaganda. There are people who only read about how beneficial animal vivisection has been for the human population.

What some people fail to do is understand that there is always more than one side to an argument. Just because a person supports one side does not mean they know only that side. Having a well-rounded arsenal of knowledge and facts will strengthen your views and create the opportunity for a less emotional debate but one more centered on the core of the argument. Use the facts to build complex opinions and understand that not everyone will agree with your views.

Open your minds, people. Think about why you believe in something and have the urge to want to know why someone might disagree with you. Narrow-mindedness is not attractive. It is not a bad thing to be emotionally invested in a cause and to believe with every fiber of your being that doing so will change something. But have the decency to understand why someone might think you’re wrong and know all the facts to prove to them that you aren’t.

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