How Should You Evaluate Someone’s Claims?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

In the internet world we live in, there are literally hundreds of millions of people making claims about every subject under the sun.  In the past, when the internet did not exist, there were far fewer voices making claims in a public fashion.  A person wanting to make public claims had to be published, get on the radio, get on TV, or make a movie.  None of these were easy to do, and so few people did.

Since there were far fewer voices before the internet age, we thought we could better ascertain their credentials to decide whether we could trust what they were saying.  Many of us assumed (incorrectly) that if somebody was published or was featured on a TV program, then what they said was most likely true.  After all, there had to be some kind of vetting process, right?  This was an easy way to evaluate their claims without doing any work.

Since there are now millions of people making their viewpoints publicly known, we can no longer be so lazy.  Since anyone can say anything, and expose it to everyone through the internet, we have to figure out how to evaluate whether someone’s claims are true, not based on the person making the claim, but based on their actual words.

So how do we go about doing this?  Brian Auten, at Apologetics 315, wrote a nice introduction to critical thinking called 15 Ways to Detect Nonsense.  Please take a look at his post and get started on the road to thinking critically.

  • Excellent post Bill. One of the reasons why I challenge readers of my blog to present counter arguments is to continue the dialectical process. If someone does offer a better argument, I am more than willing to change my views. So far–at least as far as religion goes–no one has.