Whatcha Gonna Believe – Opinion or Information?

Differences of opinion or belief should not be confused with differences in information

Opinions and beliefs based on myth, lies, and propaganda may seem normal, correct, or even “common knowledge” and yet hold no validity.

— Caren Black, guest on Titanic Lifeboat Academy – Navigating a Path to Resilience (episode 216)

It seems to me that much of our public discourse involves throwing around a lot of opinions and beliefs as if they were backed by information. We see it in some of the comments on Peak Moment episodes. Episode 191 with Lierre Keith, The Vegetarian Myth is a prime example. People are strongly attached to their beliefs about The One Right Way to Eat, and scientific research, studies, physiology, and history be damned.

It sure muddles up the conversation, be it in politics or economics or health. Surely much of it is intentional obfuscation: keep the public from knowing what’s so, keep ’em pacified, and carry on to your advantage. It gets tougher to weed the noise out from the facts. I’m thankful for people and media who work hard to give us accurate information, and those whose well-tuned antennas filter out noise from information. Thanks Bill Moyer and Carolyn Baker.


  1. Apologies, Joshua. Thank you for pointing it out. I thought I’d approved both of your earlier comments the day they arrived, but it appears only the second one succeeded. I’ve remedied that.

    On YouTube, we used to have to approve video responses. That appears to have changed – I no longer get messages to do so. If you can point me towards that function in YouTube, I would appreciate it.

  2. Joshua Matthews says:

    I notice you haven’t published my thoughts on Lierre Keith’s claims that veganism is unhealthy. But you have allowed my other posts. “Speak your mind” is what you’ve put as the heading for this comment box but you don’t really mean it, do you? Although what I’ve said could be considered offense by some, considering the name-calling and insults Lierre hurled in her book, I think it’s perfectly understandablt. You’ve just shown me that you’re a censoring person. You also failed to accept a video response I made to your Youtube channel. This video simply rebuked a few of Lierre’s claim with no name-calling, no insulting but you didn’t accept that. You really do want to prevent all opposing views. Please delete all my comments from your channel. Only allowing the ones you like skews my voice.

  3. Joshua Matthews says:

    Before you delete my comment, just look at what it says above the box for posting comments: “Speak Your Mind”.

  4. Joshua Matthews says:

    Ever since I was 8 years old, I’ve been ‘bombarded’ with people around me telling me that I need to eat meat else I would get ill. THAT is “the common knowledge”, beliefs and opinions of everyday people that I meet. I’ve not been subjected to some “myth” as you call it, that “vegetarianism is super-healty”. Quite the opposite. Reading Lierre’s book and your opinion isn’t something new or different from what mainstream people think. You seem to think that I (and other vegetarians and vegans) have been told that our diets are healthy and we’re somehow ‘shocked’ by what Lierre has to say and we can’t detach ourselves from what we’ve been led to believe over the years. No. Not at all. I’ve always been surrounded by “Lierre Keiths”. Nothing she says is particularly surprising. Her opinions and beliefs are just like every other lay person I meet. I don’t see anything in Lierre’s claim that vegetarianism/veganism is unhealthy that’s any different from any unstudied, unqualified person. Nothing. The only difference is that she’s written a book and is very outspoken. To me, Lierre Keith is nothing more than the trash collector, the hairdresser, the girl in the fast food place or the old man at the bus stop. After nearly 40 years of veganism, my health is better than most of my peers and I’m not going to start eating something that utterly disgusts me simply because some sick, man-hating, transphobic, irrational, arrogant, insulting woman says I should. You and Lierre do not impress me one bit. Not one bit.

  5. janetswanson says:

    Hi Janaia–I didn’t know how to get in touch with you. I was a student of yours many many years ago. You may remember me from your third or fourth class at Cubberly. I was also good friends with Christina and Gregor Nelson and Gail Blackmarr (who send their love). I kept at it for 15 productive years at IDG.

    Anyways I am on a new pursuit, and wanted to get in touch with you. I saw you on late night television as feminist food advocate. Who would have thought ? Well, I am approaching the world as a water awareness “goddess”. Not really me, I am just trying to draw attention to the issues Wallace Stegner has put into our collective consciousness through his memoir “A Sense of Place”

    I have this book in audio format digially remastered from cassette and available on CD or DVD. I am doing this at my own expense. It is my belief that every person who drinks or using water in the state of California should read or listen to Mr. Stegner’s account of how his west was won. It also included “The Wilderness Letter, 1959”.

    I think it is an important account of the more recent immigrant, from the Canadian Plains and it is closley alligned to that of Neil Youngs’ journey, missing only by ten years. Mr. Stegner points out that the biggest problem facing the lower 48 is WATER. My point is that California doesn’t have WATER problem, Califonia has a problem with Los Angeles and Arizona. It is not our toilets and showers that are at fault, it is ridculous landscaping, open air viaducts and wasteful verdant ariation of farmlands. I think that the films “Who Shot Roger Rabbit ?” and “Chinatown” should be viewed where age appropriate. I think Mr. Stegner’s book should be made part of the California State High School Curriculum required reading, in its original, no abridged copies allowed.

    So, to that end, where would you like your copy sent and do you want DVD or CD or both and will you please keep your copies as masters and make copies for as many as your friends as possible, maybe as a kind of cottage chainletter Christmas Gift. What say you ? thanks so much, all my love,


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