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One of my habits I’m trying (unsuccessfully) to curtail is when I talk about, say, a movie I like in a way that sounds as if I’m representing everyone.

“That was a great movie!”

A lot of the time, people agree. But there is the odd person who’s just not that into it.

What I’m really saying is “I liked that movie heaps!” – if people don’t agree, well, they must be out of touch with reality and need to get real (I’m being facetious).

I guess if I added at the start of the sentence, the words “To me…” that might help clear it up – it’s my opiniong.

But this isn’t a legitimate practice with facts.

Consider how strange these sound:

“To me, Paris is the capital of France”

“To me, 2 + 2 = 4”

These are facts, not opinions.

What about this one:

“To me, a foetus isn’t a human, it’s a blob or something”

Well, sticking “To me” on the start is a category error (a ‘fact’ statement masquerading as opinion). A foetus is whatever it is – no-one just gets to ‘decide’ what it is.

Let me segue into a related topic. Whether the person stating the fact is an ‘expert’.

Sure, if I get conflicting statements on my car – one from my mechanic and one from my grandma, I’m probably going to trust my mechanic. But that doesn’t mean I can automatically rule out my grandma on the basis of her not being a mechanic (hey, she might actually be right about the car!).

Heck, I could meet a talking pie who tells me the Earth orbits the Sun – the pie wouldn’t be a liar just because it’s a pie.

In the same vein, a man stating facts about foetuses being members of the human family isn’t automatically wrong – facts are facts, right?

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