One Less Myth

Argument from Authority

Well my pastor said that God is punishing us for all the sin we've allowed
Boy does your pastor sound like fun!
But jokes aside, it's important that we know who to believe, and when
Just because someone has a platform, and seems convincing, doesn't mean we should believe whatever they say!
Sure, but we all can't know everything. So at some point it all comes down to choosing who you believe
Very true
I believe my pastor, and you believe a scientist
Both are just different forms of authority
Ah, this is where we get into some nuance. The question isn't about their authority, but about their qualifications.
Do they stand to gain from their ideas?
Can the things they promote can be verified
A good scientist, for instance, doesn't work alone. They don't get to just make random claims (although some try, and get media attention sadly).
The process of science has safeguards to make sure that claims are verified, replicated, reviewed, and challenged
And if they can't be, they are retracted
And if a scientist is caught lying, they are shunned in science groups
This motivates scientists to stay honest and be accurate
Religious authorities, celebrities, and politicians often lack credibility on their own
That's not fair to say they lack credibility!
It doesn't mean they are always wrong, but we should take their words with a grain of salt
Part of this is because they all potentially have secondary motives, and few reliable checks on their credibility.
Public leaders are often motivated by their need to gain or maintain a following
Often there is financial gain tied into the number of followers. This could be in the form of book sales, products, or sponsorships