Quit being a pussyfart and stand up like a man.
Lately, I've found myself incapable of taking a side on any current issue, no matter how obvious the answer may seem. It just seems like there is not way to tell whether I'm right or dead wrong. The opinions I hold today seems absurd a year ago, and judgments I've made just months before, I can now no longer believe I even considered. Judging people, judging decisions, judging the proper method of action to resolve a problem; it all seems far too complex to even attempt now. I run into several problems:
1. Misinformation: This is numero uno. There is absolutely no way to tell who's telling the truth, short of a few circumstances. Peer edited scienific articles are often reliable, but often it's a matter of time before another report comes out refuting it. I'd love to trust long-standing facts and common knowledge, but far too often it is dead wrong. And don't get me started with public media. Not to mention, every photo, video, and sound bite I've heard could be forged with today's technology. What can I possibly trust?
2. Lack of knowledge: The only way to be truly sure of information is to educate myself on the matter. Problem is, the people reporting on said issue, or suggesting possible solutions to a problem, have studied this particular field for the majority of their life. How can I expect to properly understand the situation without dedicating just as much time and effort, for EVERY subject I choose to tackle, be it economic, scientific, or political?
3. Importance: Among all this mess, the reason it's an issue to begin with is that I can't ignore it. I can't ignore global warming. I can't ignore the economic crisis. I can't ignore war, or disease, or poverty! And yet to properly determine where I should stand on all these issues, not only moral stances but stances on proper solutions, I must risk being lied to or spend years of my life dedicated to that subject.
What's a guy to do? How do you other members on here make judgments about where to stand on major issues, and what solutions to support?
Quit being a pussyfart and stand up like a man.
Generally, I believe good opinions change when new information becomes available. It should always change and having an open mind is key when forming an opinion or adjusting one that you already have. I'll try and help with the three problems but I'm not the best at trying to explain how I form my opinions on different subjects.
1. Misinformation: The truth is you can't trust anything unless it comes from a reputable source with credentials that you can rely on or trust. I generally do not believe a piece of information till I hear it from a reliable source that I trust. For example, on my opinion of the wolf hunting season down in the States, I don't usually believe the nay-sayers, only because the people who are agreeing with the situation are the farmers who this affects directly and the National Parks Personnel. I believe the people who have the deal with the problem and the people who know that every ecosystem needs balance. I will side with them becuase they know what they are talking about because they not only have experience but they are witnessing the situation first hand.
You can't trust every piece of information you find but if you rely on what is logical, what is rational and what isn't buried in emotion or in uninformed rants, you will find the actual information that will help you form your own opinion.
2. Lack of knowledge: It is very easy to fix this. It might take a bit of time but nothing extraordinary. It isn't just about digging right in, spending nights looking at information, its looking at everything surrounding the present issue. What is affecting what in that situation, is there any outside influence that is a major player in the problem but everyone looks over it for the problem itself? This doesn't need to take a lot of time, you can do it sparingly over the course of your spare time. As a small hobby or just interest, like surfing Wikipedia and reading random articles. Look at the issue at hand and picture it a a giant puzzle, the picture in the middle is what you want but you need to get the borders in place first.
3. Importance: I can't really help you with this problem. It is all about what you deem important.
I base all my opinions on what I have experience and the information surrounding the issue rather than the issue itself. That way I can get an unbiased, non-emotional picture of what is going on.
Last edited by Mistrus; 01-18-2012 at 12:54 PM.
I think the key to your dilemma is keeping an open mind and being prepared to change your opinions when reliable information comes out. You talk about needing to study a subject as dedicatedly as an expert in order to be properly informed but in reality this is why there are experts. They dedicate their lives to studying something in particular so that they can share it with others in summary. You can read what they wrote and based on their credentials and the methods they used to study everything you should be able to decide if they are truly knowledgable experts.
The problem with public media is obvious, like you said it can easily be forged. You're overlooking the fact that certainly not every news source is going to be 'faking it' and you should be able to figure out which sources are reliable and which are being manipulated by someone.
As for supporting solutions the experts generally have some ideas, of which you can choose the one you think will work best to support. Deciding which issues you want to be concerned about and how you want to support proposed to solutions are a matter for common sense and your own tastes. There are many issues facing us today so I guess you would consider things like which are the easiest ways that you can help out (which are the courses that are easiest for you to support in your area) and where your interests, skills and morals lead you.
Some people for example would argue that you shouldn't send money and aid over seas when there are people suffering homelessness in your own country while others would prefer the idea of helping those whose whole country is generally worse off.
You just have to know what kinds of data are reliable and what kinds are not. Experimental data, projections and models are only somewhat reliable. Purely quantitative data like surveys, polls and simple numbers of things are far more reliable as long as you take into consideration the sample size and how the math was done. Professional studies are required to include the math in their publication.
Sounds like an issue of knowledge. In the end, most of enerything has to do with your judgement. (Of course, you said that it is hard to decide or that's what I infered from your writing) And every problem you face, not everyone expects you to know the answer. Life in general is this way. Somethings you won't know and others you will. It all depends on if you want to take the time to educate yourself enough to understand and to take the time to come up with a solution that is balanced and precise on whatever it is that you wish a solution for. I really can't give advice since I'm technically not considered an adult by U.S. laws, but who cares. Anyway, I don't want to sound like an idiot or someone who is gonna tell you how and when you can find a solution to a situation/problem you face or where you can find all the answers you need so I'll stop here.
For every two minutes of glamour, there are eight hours of hard work."