How to Decide What You Should Believe in

Imagine there is a man in your village, Joseph, who always thinks he know when it is going to rain. Quite often Joseph walks around the village in the afternoon and says, “It’s going to rain tomorrow, I can feel it.” However, Joseph is never right. He never guesses correctly if it is going to rain or not. You start to ignore him when he tells you it is going to rain because you don’t believe him any more.
But, sometimes it is harder to know whether to believe someone when they tell you something. This article will give you some helpful tips about how to decide who and what to believe, and when to believe them.
In this imaginary world, Joseph has been wrong about the rain before, so he gets a “reputation” for being bad at guessing when it will rain. When someone tells you something and you don’t know if you should believe them, think about their reputation. Have they been right about things before? If they are usually wrong, maybe you should not believe them.
In the village there is another man, Roger. Roger says he knows everything there is to know about goats, except Roger is always changing his mind about what he thinks is a goat’s favourite food. Sometimes Roger says, “A goat’s favourite food is grain,” and sometimes he says, “A goat’s favourite food is definitely grass.” He has changed his mind so many times that you don’t listen to him anymore; he has been “inconsistent”. When someone tells you something and you don’t know if you should believe them, ask yourself if they are “consistent”. If they are always changing their mind maybe they are unsure themselves about what they are saying. Maybe you should not believe them.
In the village, Roger the goat keeper also sells grain to other people in the village who own goats. You notice that when he is trying to sell you grain, he always tells you that a goat’s favourite food is grain, even though you have heard him say at other times that goats prefer grass. Maybe this is because Roger wants to persuade you to buy his grain. Roger’s reason for wanting you to believe that grain is better than grass might be that he can make more money if you believe him. When someone tells you something and you don’t know if you should believe it, ask yourself- does this person have his own reasons for wanting me to believe what they are saying? Maybe they are not being totally honest with you because they have their own interests at heart?
In the village there is also an old woman called Anna. Anna tells you one day that she saw a big monster fly over her house. You know that Anna cannot see very well and has very poor eyesight so you don’t really believe her. You do not think that Anna would lie to you, but because of her bad eyesight you think that she may have just seen a bird and thought it was something different. When someone tells you something and you don’t know if you should believe them, ask yourself- do I trust their eyesight or hearing? Maybe if they have bad eyesight or hearing they might have got it wrong, and you should not believe them.
Another woman in your village, Mary, is always telling everybody that her son is the best runner in the whole country. You have seen her son run, and you know that he is very fast, but you are not sure if he is the fastest runner in the whole country. You think that maybe Mary is telling everyone that her son is the fastest runner in the country because she wants everyone to be impressed. She is very proud of her son and she often brags about him, so you think that maybe she is “biased”. She also thinks that her son is the best in the village at cooking, even though you have tried his cooking and know that he is not very good at all. So when somebody tells you something and you are not sure whether you should believe them, ask yourself if maybe they are “biased”.
So, when somebody comes to you and tells you something, there are several things to think about before you decide whether to believe them. Firstly, what is their reputation? Do people in the village respect them because they are often correct? Secondly, are they consistent? If they always change their mind, then maybe you should not hurry to believe them, maybe they will have already changed their mind by tomorrow. Thirdly, do they have any reason to lie to you or try and make you believe them, for example to help themselves? Fourthly, have they got good eyesight and hearing? Do you believe that they saw or heard what they thought? Fifthly, could they be biased? For example are they bragging about their family or something that they have done? Think about these five things before you decide to believe something or not!

VICTORIA MEARS

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1 comment

  1. Agyir George 5 years ago September 18, 2016

    Thanks! I am impressed!

    REPLY

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