morriswalters wrote:Trust isn't a binary. And advocates and detractors describe something closer to, trusted or less trusted, rather than trusted and not trusted.
That's not at all how it works.
Ok, so there's basically three ways for me as a third-party to establish 'truth' over something I have no first-hand knowledge of.
First is the inquisitorial model. This is where I trust an expert to gather first-hand evidence. An example of this would be snopes. It's not that snopes can't be wrong, it's that their entire reputation is based on them not being wrong too badly too often.
Second is the adversarial model. This is where I trust noone
. An example of this would be the courts and politics. Here I expect both sides to bend the truth as far as it will go in an attempt to win the argument for their side. If after both sides bend the truth in their direction they still agree, then I assume that no bending is possible and the fact is as trustworthy as it can be under this model.
Finally is the distributed model. This is like with ebay or amazon ratings - and works best when many independent people share first-hand knowledge, and you hope any biases and incompetencies even out.
(Science is so powerful a method of truth finding because it actually combines all three aspects: Someone gathers first-hand evidence, others play devil's advocate with alternate hypotheses, and many people repeat the experiments independently.)
Many people treat politics as if it were 'inquisitorial' rather than 'adversarial' - and, indeed, it used to be the case that politicians cared somewhat about their reputation for honesty; They'd mislead through ambiguity or omission rather than bare-faced and easily disprovable lies. So it wasn't totally inappropriate to treat politicians as 'experts' rather than 'adversaries'. However it's becoming an increasingly invalid approach in this post-truth world.
As I always favoured the adversarial model for politics, nothing really changes for me: The adversarial model led me to the conclusion that Obama is a Christian and I have no reason to change my belief.
Does that clarify things for you as to how I see the world?