View Poll Results: Can you have a well informed opinion about something you haven't experienced?

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  • Yes

    17 68.00%
  • No

    5 20.00%
  • Other

    3 12.00%
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Thread: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

  1. #1
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    Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Put another way, can you have a well informed opinion about something you haven't experienced? For example, can someone who has not been in the Marines have a well informed opinion about how Marines should behave in war? Can someone who has not been President of the US have a well informed opinion about how the President should develop and support policy? Can someone who has never had an abortion have a well informed opinion about what women who do not want children should do when they become pregnant?

    In another thread, this question and variations of it have been debated for a while now and I think the topic deserves its own space because its implications go far beyond the subject of matter being handled there.

    In regards to the question, I've always believed that while one cannot understand the totality of what another individual or group experiences, one can certainly educate oneself enough to develop a well informed opinion about actions, people and institutions that one has never directly encountered. Many psychiatrists are not mentally ill and yet they can certainly have well-informed opinions about mental illness. Many political scientists have never been diplomats and yet they can certainly have well-informed opinions about foreign policy.

    What do you think? Should everyone just "shut their mouths" about things that they have not directly experienced?

    *Shut your mouths is a quote from Allen West posted in the previous thread that resonated with those of the opposing opinion which is why I used it.
    Last edited by ThePlayDrive; 01-16-12 at 09:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Thread title doesn't agree with poll question.

    And yes, I think we can have informed opinions about things we've never personally experienced. You don't have to have personal feelings to be able to examine the consequences of a decision.

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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    Thread title doesn't agree with poll question.
    The question is what underlies the title. The reason people think others who have not directly experienced X should "shut their mouths" is because they don't believe people who haven't directly experienced X have well informed opinions.

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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    Put another way, can you have a well informed opinion about something you haven't experienced?
    If you have insight outside of your own experiences and circumstances, then yes you can. It doesn't take a genius to look at history and project into the future, based on human nature and predictive odds. If you have a good understanding of human behavior, psychology, and sociology, then you can understand concepts as opposed to experiential evidence.
    "God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse."
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    The question is what underlies the title. The reason people think others who have not directly experienced X should "shut their mouths" is because they don't believe people who haven't directly experienced X have well informed opinions.
    What I'm saying is, if the answer to the thread title is "no", the answer to the poll question is "yes". It's confusing.

  6. #6
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viktyr Korimir View Post
    What I'm saying is, if the answer to the thread title is "no", the answer to the poll question is "yes". It's confusing.
    Fair enough.

  7. #7
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Nobody should shut their mouths. How else do we all learn from each other??

  8. #8
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    Put another way, can you have a well informed opinion about something you haven't experienced? For example, can someone who has not been in the Marines have a well informed opinion about how Marines should behave in war? Can someone who has not been President of the US have a well informed opinion about how the President should develop and support policy? Can someone who has never had an abortion have a well informed opinion about what women who do not want children should do when they become pregnant?

    In another thread, this question and variations of it have been debated for a while now and I think the topic deserves its own space because its implications go far beyond the subject of matter being handled there.

    In regards to the question, I've always believed that while one cannot understand the totality of what another individual or group experiences, one can certainly educate oneself enough to develop a well informed opinion about actions, people and institutions that one has never directly encountered. Many psychiatrists are not mentally ill and yet they can certainly have well-informed opinions about mental illness. Many political scientists have never been diplomats and yet they can certainly have well-informed opinions about foreign policy.

    What do you think? Should everyone just "shut their mouths" about things that they have not directly experienced?

    *Shut your mouths is a quote from Allen West posted in the previous thread that resonated with those of the opposing opinion which is why I used it.
    Yes, I think one can have informed opinions about things they haven't experienced. It's when they dwell into motivation and begin to assassinate character that they may need the actual experience.

    A cop fires six shots at a suspect coming at him with a knife. I can have an opinion that it was overkill. A copper would likely explain that, with adrenalin pumping madly, a cop knows his odds of hitting his target are much diminished. Another cop might know that cops are trained to fire multiple rounds. Heck, I've even seen some posts in similar scenerios where someone has said, "Why didn't they just shoot to wound?" Might sound reasonable to a lot of people. But I think most coppers would tell you that's movie stuff.

    Of course, the reason you posted this thread has to do with the thread about the soldiers urinating on the dead Taliban. We're all entitled to our opinions as to what they did. (It was wrong.) But when we start to assign motives and assassinate their character for what they did, I think we (lay people, so to speak) cross the line. Those of us who have never experienced war in real time, with our own asses on the line, cannot be expected to understand the mindset of people who have.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Oh. I see now. It IS kinda confusing. So...I'll answer this way, although I already voted no.

    I meant yes. But no.

    Can you have a well informed opinion about something you haven't experienced?
    YES

    Should everyone just "shut their mouths" about things that they have not directly experienced?
    NO

  10. #10
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    Re: Should we all just 'shut our mouths'?

    Are you in Ben Bernanke's position? No, but surely you take a position on his recommendations.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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