Archives For November 2011

Nov 30

How to Know If Your Opinion Matters

From T. Edward Damer’s, Attacking Faulty Reasoning:

An opinion is an unsupported claim; an argument is a supported claim.

The expression of personal opinion is one of the most commom forms of verbal exchange, and since reasons for our opinions are often not requested, we are unaccustomed to defending them and even lulled into thinking that reasons are not required. “Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion,” it is often said. This is true, but the question here is not whether one has the right to express an opinion; it is a question of which opinions deserve our acceptance. If an opinion is not accompanied by reasons to support it, it is not possible to determine whether it merits our acceptance.

…Since some of our opinions also conflict with the opinions of others, we know that some of us are now holding false opinions; for if there are two opposing or different opinions about some matter, at least one of them is false. But which is it? That question can be answered only by evaluating the quality of the argument presented on behalf of each view.

Oh, that all people would read this book. It is like sweet nectar to a bland tongue!

If you’ve ever heard the words, “you’re very bright!” chances are you’re not living up to your potential. And it’s probably your own fault.

Heidi Grant Halvorson from the Harvard Business Review explains:

People with above-average aptitudes — the ones we recognize as being especially clever, creative, insightful, or otherwise accomplished — often judge their abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than others do (particularly in Western cultures). Gifted children grow up to be more vulnerable, and less confident, even when they should be the most confident people in the room. Understanding why this happens is the first step to righting a tragic wrong.

Did you hear that? The more capable a person is, the more likely they are to beat themselves up with the words, “not good enough”.

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• If you missed it, here’s an update on the direction of this blog.

I’m coining a new term: PDR, or, “Public Displays of Religion”. Just like PDA, PDR is when someone makes an over-the-top display of their religious beliefs. The line is fine–giving your wife a quick peck on the lips is cool, making out on the park bench in front of the mall is not–but there is a line. Please keep the overly-long restaurant prayers, constant God-references (“God gives me all the creativity I need!” … oy), and over-spiritualization to a minimum. I, and others around you, will thank you for it. I seem to remember something about the right hand not letting the left one know what it’s up to…

People fought over wafflemakers. In a Wal-Mart. On Black Friday. (And you wonder why I’m snug as a bug in my bed during the wee hours of the post-Thanksgiving glow?)

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