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Fact-Checking Tips: 6 Key Questions to Find Out if Your Belief is True

6 Key Questions to Find Out if Your Belief is True


Our beliefs impact our actions and decisions, however, we don’t always think to ask ourselves why we believe it is true! Most often, we simply believe what others around us believe, or what we have been told. We simply assume it is true as our brains are lazy and gullible. But Is what you believe true? Let’s find out

Once a belief is formed, we use confirmation bias to search for and favor supporting information. Maybe because we’ve heard a vivid or emotional story. Or It’s possible that we’ve had a personal experience of our own to confirm this belief. After all, the best way of knowing something is to have seen or experienced it ourselves, right?!?!

Actually, no: Our personal experiences can be wildly misleading. Trusting them to tell us the “truth” is an excellent way to be misled. 

So how would we go about figuring out if the belief is true? Evidence, of course! The trick, though, isn’t to search for evidence that supports our belief, but to look for evidence that would prove it false.



We think we follow evidence to a conclusion. In reality, we come to our beliefs in irrational ways, then work backward to find evidence to rationalize the belief.
Source: Is a claim true? Use these four criteria to evaluate the evidence

If you can’t think of a way to disprove the belief, it’s untestable, and “evidence” is meaningless. It might be true, but we’ll never know for sure.

Let’s assume the belief is testable, put on your scientist hat and actively search to prove it wrong. The golden rule is Evidence matterswe’re after quality evidence, not anecdotes, unreliable “news” sites, memes, social media groups, or cherry-picked “experts.”

It’s also useful to get into the habit of proportioning our beliefs to the evidence… meaning we can be more confident a belief is true the more evidence we have and vice versa. Overconfidence is often based on an illusion of knowledge, and it can prevent us from learning or changing our minds. Reality is complex. Embrace the shades of gray and avoid black-or-white thinking.

So let’s play:

  • How sure are you that your belief is true?
  • What is the source of your belief?
  • What are your reasons to believe it’s true?
  • How could you figure out if it is true?
  • How would you feel if you were wrong?
  • What evidence would change your mind?

The bottom line is that it’s essential to get into the habit of questioning what we believe. Healthy skepticism, or demanding evidence before accepting a belief, and being open to changing our mind, is empowering. It protects us against being fooled… by others, or by ourselves.

This article is based on Is what you believe true? Use these 6 questions to find out


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