What They Do Is What They Believe
Who do you believe? Fortunately it is not simply a total crap-shoot. There are some things that we can verify for ourselves in our own experience. And although we can never really know the motivation of someone else, we can get enough information to know how to act. That is to say, we can use a “working hypothesis” about someone’s motives, simply by watching what they do.
For example, if we come across a sort of guru, or spiritual person, who has a great following, particularly a religious leader of some sort, by tracking what they do aside from what they say, we can know something about them as well as whether or not they actually believe what they say they believe.
If they have taken a vow of poverty, for example, or expect their followers to do something like that, and we see them privately living in luxury, we can have a pretty good idea of their motivation. And, from that we can have a healthy skepticism about the ideas that they teach.
When it comes to our own families, hypocrisy is usually easy to spot. However, we must always be open to the possibility that although the source may be corrupted in some way, the ideas they preach or teach might well hold the truth or part of the truth, even though the messenger is unable to live the teaching.
Our instincts our valuable as a filter for danger and if allowed to speak are very good at detecting people around us who are hiding a less than positive motivation.
Science, or more properly, the scientific method, is an invaluable tool in verifying truth, at least on the material plane. While we know that the material plane is not all that there is, the effects on the material plane are observable. The point is, the scientific method itself is really a description of how our minds operate anyway. And, when we are faced with scientifically demonstrated facts that contradict something that we hold as true, it is useful to then re-assess that belief and other beliefs that are dependent upon it.
Sometimes there are contradictory factual discoveries for which there is no immediate resolution. In that case, we must hold them in contradiction until the missing information is found.
But again, we must hold onto our skepticism when assessing scientific “truth” because as has been amply demonstrated in the past, scientists are human and subject to motivations as well as any of us, and occasionally these motivations lead them to hide facts, distort facts, or ignore facts that are scientifically established by others, or even by themselves, if they do not support the popular theory.
Occasionally, some of the scientific “facts” are completely made up, are complete speculation, but carry the weight of “science” for which they are accepted by masses of people, just as in other periods of history when a religious “truth” was pronounced it had the weight of “God” behind it, and was accepted by masses of people. The social phenomenon is exactly the same.
The Science is Never "ALL IN"
But knowing what we know about the history of science and the ideas and old theories that have been totally discredited, we do know one thing. Whenever somebody says that the science is done, it’s all in, what we are looking at is an agenda, and likely some form of vested interest, political interest, or some other motivation. There is no such thing as “the science is all in,” particularly in a more complex set of scientific factors. In fact, the more complex, the less we can even consider stopping the scientific investigation.
Science Beyond the Material
The good news is that the scientific method can be applied to matters that go beyond the material world. Although the materialists would like to claim that is not possible they are conflating the method with the subject matter. The only debate is about what we consider data to which the scientific method can be applied.
All this to answer the question, who do you believe? We must be careful, meticulous and skeptical.