Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sincerity versus credibility

“If the power goes out at school, and remains out for 30 minutes, you have to dismiss school. It’s a state law.” Or so I was told by a tenth grade student. Bless her heart, she is one of those that states her opinions as facts.

I hadn’t heard of this “state law” she claimed to be fact. So, I asked her, “Where did you hear about this state law?” You see, as far as I know, it was up to the discretion of the school district to determine when school was let out due to various reasons.

“It just is,” she said.

“But where did you hear about it?” I asked.

“My friend told me.”

“And where did she hear about it?”

“Look, Mr. Morgan. I trust my friend and so it has to be true.”

And there we have it.

Perhaps it is from my years of working in television, but for whatever reason, I tend to be skeptical of things unless I can verify them from a credible source.

To me, at least, there is a difference between someone having credibility and trusting someone. As the saying goes, “Sincere people can be sincerely wrong.”

The weather is a great example of this. Let’s say my best friend, someone I really trust, tells me it will snow three feet tomorrow. Let’s also say that this same best friend is not a meteorologist, but rather they heard about the snowstorm from someone at work and believed it.

Does it mean I don’t trust my friend if I go to the national weather service website (a credible source) to check what they say about the weather? No, it doesn’t mean that I don’t trust my friend.

All you have to do is turn on the news to see how many people truly, honestly believe in different views—sometimes in direct conflict with another person.

Here’s an example: one person states that the democratic candidate is going to win. A different person states the republican candidate will be the certain victor. They both can’t be right.

In this case, one person is wrong even though they sincerely believe they are right.

If I can be so bold: Before you buy that swamp land in Florida which is guaranteed to triple in value in the next month, or throw out all your food because you heard if it has the letter “e” in its name it is bad for you, do a little digging at other points of view. You may discover that there isn’t enough credible evidence. 

(Side note: this blog is mainly about intellectual ideas. In the matters of religion, I believe the only true credible source is through the Holy Ghost. Meaning, when it comes to religious matters, that should be between you and the Almighty.)  

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