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Old 12-19-2013, 09:48 PM
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Default The 'Validity of Opinion'

Perhaps a somewhat incendiary topic. I'll hold up my end and keep this civil.

There have been debates recently that have ended up focussing on the validity of opinions.

In my view, there are several different layers to this. I'll explain.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. There are, however, subjects that are closed from opinion and should be looked at with hard facts. If I were to join a discussion based around experimental pharmacology (for instance), I may have very strong opinions about the effectiveness of particular medications. I am, however, speaking from a position of relative ignorance on the topic given that my only experience in the field comes from some study of psychology at University and half an A-level in Biology.

Posting my opinion on the matter would hold little weight, especially if I didn't back up any of my posts with logical reasoning, evidence or experience. If somebody else were to post factual information counter to my argument, I would be expected to admit my position and in the eyes of many 'lose' the argument - or at least have my opinion invalidated.

That is to say, that in most situations, opinions hold different weight. I am simply not qualified or experienced enough to discuss drug interactions in experimental pharmacology - even if my opinion was very strong. How strongly you hold such an opinion does not make it any more valid unless you are speaking from a position of strength.

I'm not quite sure where people get the idea that all opinions are equally valid. They are, quite simply, not. Why is it that some people hold higher office in their respective academic or employment fields? Quite often it is because their opinion holds more weight and they are able to judge actions based on their knowledge and experience.

I work in mental health. If I consider that somebody is not at risk but my manager or CEO decides that the individual in question is at risk, I defer to authority. The consequences of not doing my job - however right I think I am might be dire. This is why we have teachers, lecturers and the like. It doesn't mean that my opinion is not important to me but it does mean that I may very well be wrong.

I'll take an example from the media. This idea of a 'balanced debate'. In many debates, there are often two sides. Unfortunately, the media seems to believe that a 'balanced' debate is one that hears both sides - often, this is actually not 'balance' at all but biasing towards a distinct minority position.

It is also important to consider the quality of evidence. If I were reading about a particular subject and found 'evidence' that came from a party with a vested interest (financial, political or otherwise) in the 'research' that they have commissioned, I would write it off immediately as poor evidence. If I found evidence from a source with no vested interest in the research, then I would consider it more reliable and perhaps cite it in any argument I made.

That's not to say you can't argue from a minority position, either. Provided you have evidence. Majority opinion-holders should also have evidence and in an ideal World, the strength of the evidence would be the deciding factor in a debate. If everybody else was arguing that the Earth was flat (and had no evidence) but I produced satellite images of the Earth taken by a neutral third-party that demonstrated that the Earth was roughly spherical, I should win that debate.

If you don't have any evidence for a majority or a minority position, then you are speaking from a weak position.

So yes. I will say it. Some opinions don't matter. If you have little experience, evidence or knowledge on a subject, then your opinion - to me - is invalid, or at least not as strong as an individual with more experience, evidence or knowledge. In the same way as I may have a strong position in an argument, if somebody came in with more knowledge, experience and evidence than I, I would accept this and maybe discuss the subject respectfully.

There seems to be an idea that everyone has a valid opinion. Sorry folks, this isn't always the case. So please. Analyse critically and consider the knowledge of individuals in a debate. It's ok to know nothing about a subject but if you're holding an uninformed opinion, it is usually logical to defer to those that actually know what they're talking about.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

I tend to agree with that. Everyone's entitled to have an opinion, but some opinions put more weight in the scales than others. For various reasons. Good and bad ones. :)
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

I know how you feel. Your work analogy is a good one, but I have a different perspective on it.

I worked for 8 years in architecture as an AutoCAD draftsman. At one point, our department manager was given a new position, based on qualifications, and was replaced. When we got our new manager, he had very little CAD knowledge, and some construction experience. But he was a "team player", and therefore was considered the best man for the job. This man had no idea how our department ran, or what our work really consisted of (other than drawing plans with AutoCAD), but he felt the need to change the way the department ran (and some company policy, for that matter), and it didn't work at all. He ended up running most of our employees out of the department (and company in some cases) all because he now had some say in how the department ran, and clung to it with an iron fist.

His opinion meant nothing, but was given full reign over the whole department. Eventually the powers that be noticed what was happening to our department, and replaced him with someone qualified, but not after significant damage was done.

So I agree, not all opinions are valid. That being said, everyone does have their own right to an opinion, but some are more like ideas that should be evaluated and not adhered to strictly until more information presents itself.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

"You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts."
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Good thoughts..as an engineer, i'm not too fond of opinion in *certain* settings

example 1:
Person A asks person B, what do you think of the color "orange"
-the answer here is meaningless thus the validity of opinion increases cause there is no
logical answer and no impact due to the opinion

example 2:
Person A, a project manager, tells Person B...I want to use columns that were made using non-fossil fuel production processes on that bridge and reduce the carbon footprint every way possible...Person B, a civil engineer, says that cannot be done because thosse materials will not support the weight needed...

Person A: How much weight do we need to support
Person B: 10,000 tons
Person A: I don't think we need to support 10,000 tons, the bridge in city C only supports 7500 tons and if we can;t get 10000 tons using the non-fossil fuel process we cannot stick to that design...go talk to city C and see what they did

and on and on...

now, this is the kind of crap that happens everywhere...and actually A has an opinion...but it is worthless and is being pushed due to some emotional and illogical desire to have a low carbon footprint on a bridge...crazy example i know

So, in the end, if the result of the exchange of opinions is meaningless and does not impact others, so be it.

When the result of "opinions" has an outcome that could impact others, then those having the appropriate experience *must* override those of authority...

I've worked in the professional engineering arena for almost 30 years and I see it all too often where opinion of authority wins over opinion (knowledge) of individual and it seems to always turn out detrimental.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

This, to me, represents most internet arguments/ opinions.
No matter what evidence you may produce to the contrary, most people will stick to their original argument AND believe their opinion holds as much weight as anyone else's despite their glaring ignorance of the topic.
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

shemp, i dont understand example one. why is the answer meaningless? if it is me asking my wife if she likes orange because i plan to paint a room orange, then the answer is valid right?
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

OPINION:

1 - a belief, judgement, or way of thinking about something : what someone thinks about a particular thing

2 - advice from someone with special knowledge : advice from an expert

3 - a formal statement by a judge, court, etc., explaining the reasons a decision was made according to laws or rules

Now, according to No 1, anyone can have an opinion about something, whatever they know or have a knowledge about a particular topic, they can still voice their opinion... and you take it as such, it's just an opinion.

No 2's opinion will always have more weight into a discussion, providing they're offering an opinion based and in relation to their expertise within the topic of the discussion.

No 3 is self explanatory.

Opinions are like people, they varies, some are very good, some are out of topic, some are funny, some are naughty, some are wrong, some are hypocritical, some are beautiful...

Sometimes (often) a thread goes into many directions and end up in more than one topic being discussed, many opinions will have nothing to do with the original OP, but it's not all bad, it's what engender a discussion.

What makes somebody voicing an opinion in a thread? the topic? the thread starter? a particular member? a particular post? did they see something funny? did they see something they don't like? Whatever it is, I think it's good that anybody can join a discussion, with plenty or very little knowledge about what's being discussed in a thread, it's what makes it a discussion and what makes the discussion to carry on, those who knew little are better for it and those who knew all about it shared their knowledge and experience.

Initially, I wanted to do a cartoon for this thread, but on second thought, I choose to share an opinion with you guys and girls... and it's really just that... an opinion :)
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

How often do we see someone present a fact and another person says, well you are entitled to your opinion.

It seems civil discussion must be able to differentiate between opinions and facts. But even 'facts' can be no better than meaningless opinion if those facts cannot be backed up by evidence. Ah, but two people can see the same evidence and come to different conclusions. So facts and opinions can almost be the same thing in some discussions.

Someone asked the question of who are the fastest drummers on this site. Well, everybody can observe that. It could be fact by observation, but unless someone brings in the meters and begins measuring, the discussion bogs down by things not stipulated - speed measured by endurance, by a one bar fill, what? Not a great example, because "speed' in the case of TWFD stuff is based on the tiniest of movements recorded on a pad. As far as hands anyway. Doesn't mean anything when it comes to set playing, really.

Is that my opinion? Or is that a practical application and fact? LOL
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Hyde View Post
shemp, i dont understand example one. why is the answer meaningless? if it is me asking my wife if she likes orange because i plan to paint a room orange, then the answer is valid right?
Yes you are correct...that would have an impact. A scary one...thats why I don't have an opinion when my wife is involved. I just do as told :-)

My example 1 is just two people saying "do you like orange" or talking about their favorite colors or foods...etc...we could all talk about our favorite way of recording music...and none of the opinions are invalid...but who really cares unless there is an endgame or requirement of commerce or some form of business entity that invested and needs to be satisifed...then those opinions could take on meaning
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

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...thats why I don't have an opinion when my wife is involved. I just do as told :-)
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Old 12-19-2013, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

The Drummerworld Discussion Forum membership would dwindle to almost nothing based on this unrealitistically stringent criteria. I can see it now - the infamous "What Drumset Would You Recommend?" question would go unanswered. Everyone first doing loads of research to make sure they give the best response.

Validity is in the mind of the beholder. .
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:05 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Or we could have 120,000 opinions and the OP would know nothing more than when he started.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryz View Post
The Drummerworld Discussion Forum membership would dwindle to almost nothing based on this unrealitistically stringent criteria. I can see it now - the infamous "What Drumset Would You Recommend?" question would go unanswered. Everyone first doing loads of research to make sure they give the best response.

Validity is in the mind of the beholder. .
No it's not. It's based on the best evidence when evidentiary criteria are required, which isn't always the case.

In some matters, there is no exemplary criterion - those threads would still exist.
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Last edited by BacteriumFendYoke; 12-20-2013 at 12:22 AM. Reason: Singular, plural. What's the difference...
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
No it's not. It's based on the best evidence when evidentiary criteria are required, which isn't always the case..
Precisely!

Well said.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

I think a lot of the arguments stem from opinions that live in completely different set of rules.

A lot of people don't take this into account. An opinion may be valid if it lives in a world where X doesnt matter, but if X matters their opinion falls apart as lies.

It is very good to define the criteria you base your opinion in. Think of it like a math proof.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

My opinion is that we spend too much time here arguing about the validity of someone's opinion. I've done it, too, but I've come to feel it isn't particularly helpful. Generally it just results in a thread getting sidetracked.

I agree 100% that some opinions carry more weight and are more fully supported by facts than other opinions, no question. For the most part, though, I'd like to have the opportunity to hear all those opinions and make a decision for myself on which is the most valid, based on the information presented and the reputation of the presenter.

It seems to me anything else is simply a matter of wanting to control the conversation. So what if someone presents an opinion and you don't feel that opinion is valid? Instead of trying to control the conversation by trying to make that person back down from their inferior position, it would seem more useful to try to convince undecided listeners of the validity of YOUR opinion.

And that's just MY opinion, lol. Not even worth 2 cents, probably.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post

It seems to me anything else is simply a matter of wanting to control the conversation. So what if someone presents an opinion and you don't feel that opinion is valid? Instead of trying to control the conversation by trying to make that person back down from their inferior position, it would seem more useful to try to convince undecided listeners of the validity of YOUR opinion.
.
It's hard not to do when people insist that 2 + 2 = 10. Sometimes the opinions here are that far off and they refuse to believe 2 + 2 = 4.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

I don't disagree. I'm not a fan of 'censorship'.

All I'm effectively saying is that opinions need critical appraising. I would hope that the people on here are intelligent enough and well-versed enough to recognise the difference between a well-formed view and one that is poorly-formed. The forum members that I've met have more than capable!

At large though, it worries me that critical thinking skills are not focussed on in schools. If they were, some of the adversarial arguments that people have may not occur. If two parties can accept that an opposing standpoint is valid but they disagree, that's fine.

I'll take an example. When I was at University, I knew a guy about my age who had very strong political views. I had equally strong political views but we had reached almost polar-opposite conclusions. We discovered through polite discourse and genuine discussion that we had read the same books and waded through the same reasoning and simply arrived at different conclusions based on personal factors. I could absolutely respect that, even though I disagreed vehemently with his assessment.

What I'm not saying is that there needs to be any censorship. I'm simply saying that whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion, opinions should be dealt with responsibly. The weight of evidence, experience and knowledge should inform the validity of the conclusions and trying to use the word 'opinion' when overwhelmed with contradictory evidence as a way of deflecting your incorrectness, is disingenuous.
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

the problem is that one person's "truth" that they will vehemently defend to the end is sometimes based on emotion, perception and low information...however, you can never convince that person of it.

For instance...

what do you say to the person that drives a car to a street corner rally and holds up a sign that says "No war for oil"....remember, they DROVE A CAR to the event.

How do you relay logic to that individual?

How about the individual driving a combustion engine gasoline vehicle with license plate that says Fossil Free? (not exact spelling but I don't want to put an exact license plate on here)

These are real examples...how do you get across to that individual with logic?
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPockets View Post
It's hard not to do when people insist that 2 + 2 = 10. Sometimes the opinions here are that far off and they refuse to believe 2 + 2 = 4.
Agreed, but I have found that you often can't convince that person that 2 + 2 does NOT equal 10. Any adult of reasonable intelligence, who has the facts available to them, and still concludes that 2 + 2 = 10 is not likely to be convinced by you reiterating the facts. And you don't need to convince them. Everyone else already knows, and you now have evidence that you shouldn't trust that person's opinion on mathematical subjects.

A silly opinion is still useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
I don't disagree. I'm not a fan of 'censorship'.

All I'm effectively saying is that opinions need critical appraising. I would hope that the people on here are intelligent enough and well-versed enough to recognise the difference between a well-formed view and one that is poorly-formed. The forum members that I've met have more than capable!

At large though, it worries me that critical thinking skills are not focussed on in schools. If they were, some of the adversarial arguments that people have may not occur. If two parties can accept that an opposing standpoint is valid but they disagree, that's fine.

I'll take an example. When I was at University, I knew a guy about my age who had very strong political views. I had equally strong political views but we had reached almost polar-opposite conclusions. We discovered through polite discourse and genuine discussion that we had read the same books and waded through the same reasoning and simply arrived at different conclusions based on personal factors. I could absolutely respect that, even though I disagreed vehemently with his assessment.

What I'm not saying is that there needs to be any censorship. I'm simply saying that whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion, opinions should be dealt with responsibly. The weight of evidence, experience and knowledge should inform the validity of the conclusions and trying to use the word 'opinion' when overwhelmed with contradictory evidence as a way of deflecting your incorrectness, is disingenuous.
Agreed re: people's critical thinking skills.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post

...There seems to be an idea that everyone has a valid opinion...
I haven't seen that. What I've seen is the idea that everyone has an opinion.

But either one could be a thinly veiled jab at 'Well, that's just your opinion, man'.

LOL
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:04 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

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These are real examples...how do you get across to that individual with logic?
Why do you need to? >>>>>
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:11 AM
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Why do you need to? >>>>>
Good question....I suppose I don't, to be honest.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Years ago, when living in Baltimore, I had an Uncle that knew everything. I knew just about everything so he and I had some interesting debates. After a bit of time I got tired of everything I said being shot down just on his opinion with no facts that I would not start any conversations and when he did, I would just agree with him. Discussions didn't last long from that point on. I'm not one to back down when I have the facts but with this man you could pour water on him and he would still say he was dry. I have gotten to the point now where I will state my opinion but will not argue it. If you don't believe me at first you won't believe me and 30 minutes of fussing. It just ain't worth it.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

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Years ago, when living in Baltimore, I had an Uncle that knew everything. I knew just about everything so he and I had some interesting debates. After a bit of time I got tired of everything I said being shot down just on his opinion with no facts that I would not start any conversations and when he did, I would just agree with him. Discussions didn't last long from that point on. I'm not one to back down when I have the facts but with this man you could pour water on him and he would still say he was dry. I have gotten to the point now where I will state my opinion but will not argue it. If you don't believe me at first you won't believe me and 30 minutes of fussing. It just ain't worth it.
Exactly this!!^^
Now just imagine every single person you argue with on the internet is like Grunt's uncle- because at the end of the day, 99.9% of people are.
Think about it- how many arguments have you actually "won" during your years on the forum?
How many times did your evidence- based, well-researched opinion make a difference to the person making a contrary argument??
Not many times I'm guessing...
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Just some random images...















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Old 12-20-2013, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

You post is way too long but I got your point skimming through.

You're right but I'll point out that this is a forum and the things people do on forums are a bit odd. Some like to practice answering questions and so they'll jump in and give advice where they really have no idea. Some just want to be listened to or respected. Some just want others to buy the same stuff as them so that they can feel influential or part of some sort of team. Some like pulling a little subjective sentence from a persons carefully thought out post just to shoot that person down. I could go on but I'm not trying to sound like an expert. Point is, it's much easier to do these things from the safety of your pc so forums are a haven for certain characters and most of us fall into one category or another.

So if you think someone is full of shit, you can bet that people are thinking the same thing so just ignore that person.
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Old 12-20-2013, 04:44 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

As it comes down to so many times on the internet, it comes down to how well you discourse. Ya know, that small uptick of heartrate and adrenaline as you read the inflammatory reply. But not only that, but how well can you keep your thoughts organized under pressure. Rationale is so disorienting to someone who's upset. People are entitled to their opinions(like a**holes) but in the world today, experience does seem to trump everything. Because its the most factual thing about people. A history cant lie, good or bad. So, if you do decide to wage this futile war with unknown assailants on the internet, you need to learn how to control yourself, which is highly called for and in short supply, imo...,
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

True, we have about as much self control on the internet as we have on the road, where we can't see the other person either.

And just like right of way is usually proportional to the price of the car, validity of opinion is sometimes proportional to the total value of all the kit in the signature. :)

Sorry I can't make it a wall of text, I'm typing on iphone :P
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Amply demonstrated by my avoidance of posting in the technique sub forum ;)
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  #32  
Old 12-20-2013, 03:07 PM
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larryz larryz is offline
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by shemp View Post
what do you say to the person that drives a car to a street corner rally and holds up a sign that says "No war for oil"....remember, they DROVE A CAR to the event.
So you're saying that absolutely nobody can be against this war for oil, which is what it is, and drive a gasoline-powered car? I totally disagree.

While politicians are in bed with oil companies and thus will not support cleaner alternatives because it would offend their largest donors, oil can be had from other countries that do not necessitate the US sending troops to ensure that result.
  #33  
Old 12-20-2013, 03:29 PM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Yep - that's a sticky subject. Anyone old enough to remember the major oil crisis in the 1970's - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis
knows that we've had 40 years to develop alternatives.

And that the US should be fully energy independent by now.
And that people should be driving vehicles that don't require wars for oil by now.

We drive what the manufacturers make available (and what hasn't been suppressed).
There are hurdles to overcome, and they probably would have been, were it not for the enormous profits made in the industry.
  #34  
Old 12-20-2013, 03:36 PM
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IDDrummer IDDrummer is offline
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

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Originally Posted by larryz View Post
So you're saying that absolutely nobody can be against this war for oil, which is what it is, and drive a gasoline-powered car? I totally disagree.

While politicians are in bed with oil companies and thus will not support cleaner alternatives because it would offend their largest donors, oil can be had from other countries that do not necessitate the US sending troops to ensure that result.
I knew someone would bite. Off we go!
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  #35  
Old 12-20-2013, 04:05 PM
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picodon picodon is offline
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

There is no such thing as sending troops to ensure oil supply. War makes oil production collapse. Look at Iraq (twice) and Libya oil output before, during and after war.

Ensuring oil supply = leaving the bad old dictator in place and pay him his 10%. Never ever make waves by sending troops.

I have a valid opinion on this, I used to work for a major oil company.
  #36  
Old 12-20-2013, 04:11 PM
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shemp shemp is offline
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Default Re: The 'Validity of Opinion'

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDDrummer View Post
I knew someone would bite. Off we go!
LOL! "Off we go", that is very funny, but I promise it was not bait....and i'm not going to help promote further discussion of it...I just liked your comment

Last edited by shemp; 12-20-2013 at 04:28 PM.
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