Lately I’ve found myself in more and more of these debates where I’m dealing with people who seem to think “faith” is the same thing as “fact.” And recently during one of these debates with a more moderate individual who followed this flawed doctrine, I was told that we had to “agree to disagree because there’s two sides to every story and everyone is entitled to their option.”
Now, they were right that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But they couldn’t be more wrong when they said that there are two sides to every story. In the credible world, where facts matter, facts determine how many sides there are to a story. Sometimes there are two sides, sometimes there are multiple sides and often there’s really only one.
I also had another person post this comment on my Facebook page Right Off a Cliff:
If there is a debate, then there is a difference of opinion. Hence, there are always at least two sides to a debate. If everyone agrees, then there is no debate.
That’s another completely flawed belief. There are people who believe the moon landing was a hoax. So, does that make the fact that we sent humans to the moon just “a matter of opinion”?
But where I see the biggest flaws when it comes to Republicans is in their belief that what they want to be real matters more than what’s actually real. Again, like I’ve said countless times, these are the people who claim they’re voting for the party of “fiscal responsibility” when a president from their party hasn’t balanced the budget since the 1950’s. Even when you look at their “conservative icon” Ronald Reagan, he nearly tripled our national debt while in office. They treat Reagan more like a religious deity based on legend rather than a human represented by fact.
So, when I say Reagan wasn’t a “fiscal conservative,” that’s not a “matter of opinion” – that’s a fact. Because it’s indisputable that during his eight years in office we nearly tripled our national debt. And I’m not sure how anyone can be seen as “fiscally responsible” when they’ve almost tripled their debt.
Then there’s the whole issue many of us encounter when dealing with religious radicals who don’t seem to understand that having faith in something has nothing to do with fact. You see this all the time in the gay marriage debate with millions of conservatives who seem to think their faith overrides Constitutional law. That something they believe – yet can’t prove – matters more than the rights of American citizens. These are people who seem to think their rights are being violated because they can’t deny someone else theirs.
The fact is that our Constitution doesn’t have a single reference to Christianity anywhere in it. And it’s clear, via our First Amendment, that every American is given the freedom of (or from) religion. So, in the debate over same-sex marriage – there is no debate. There’s no “two sides” to that story. There’s fact and there’s the delusional reality some wished existed.
It’s the same thing with climate change and those who seem to believe God controls the weather. That’s a claim I always find interesting because those same people can’t explain to me why, if God controls the weather, don’t we ever get winter when it should be summer and visa versa. But where science can predict weather patterns, forecasts and all sorts of other useful data, faith cannot.
So, until we can start to predict our climate or our weather patterns based upon the Bible, or some other form of religious text, science is the only “side” to that argument.
Abortion is another example. While there is a legitimate debate over when life technically begins, there isn’t a debate over whether or not women have the right to choose what to do with their own bodies. Our Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade settled that debate decades ago. So, when a Republican says the “abortion debate,” what they really mean is their opinion based on their own personal feelings and faith as opposed to legal precedent and factual reality.
Though I doubt any of these examples will have any impact on the way any Republican thinks about anything. I’m sure the typical conservative response will be to dismiss everything I’ve said, then regurgitate some right-wing talking point they’ve been fed by Fox News.
But to summarize: No, there’s not “always two sides” to a debate. If someone is just flat-out wrong, you don’t have to “respect their opinion” – because facts aren’t opinions.
They. Are. Facts.
And as the saying goes, the great thing about facts is that they’re real whether or not someone wants to believe in them.