Because they tell me, I know some readers want me to express my opinions. Sometimes I do, but even then I think you should ignore them. I don’t think my opinions have any greater merit than those of others who have honestly considered all the evidence they can (or that I have). I am not obligated to make or responsible for any policy decisions. For these reasons, I think my opinion is irrelevant. It’s the evidence and the logical reasoning it supports that matters to me, and I think should matter to you. If you’re persuaded by them, fine. If not, fine too.
A consequence is that if you wish to engage me on an issue, don’t waste your time trying to tease out or attacking my beliefs, to the extent you think you know them. Usually readers are wrong about what they are, and I have fewer of them than it seems most people do. Instead, engage me on the evidence. Engage me on the logic. Show me something I’ve overlooked. I’m grateful for it.
Sometimes I am asked to express my opinion in exchange for something of value, like a paid column* or a journal publication. Sometimes I express an opinion for my own enjoyment or for rhetorical effect. Still, I think you should ignore it. It’s malleable, as it should be to the extent new evidence comes to light. It’s entertainment.
I bet many readers disagree with me about the above. Great! Tell me why my opinion is so important.
* By which I mean I am paid for an opinion column, not for the particular opinion I express. My particular beliefs are not for hire.