How do we know if something is ‘true’?

For the past few hundred years, we have had the scientific method and peer review. A scientist creates and performs an experiment, and other scientists who have worked in the field try to poke holes in it. If the results pass scrutiny, they are published. If this gets replicated enough, then it becomes ‘true’. Similar processes happen in the humanities, however the experiment is more based on researching primary documents.

Over and over I see people on here argue against this method. Phrases like, “The scientists and historians are lying or paid off” and “Do your own research” come up time and again. As someone who doesn’t have access to 40,000 test subjects to conduct my own research, I put my trust in scientists. Even when science gets something ‘wrong’ or ‘incomplete’ at first, they know more about it than I do.

So how does humanity know if something is ‘true’? Some concrete examples:

  • How do we know the Earth is round?
  • How do we know how to make a plane fly?
  • How do we know if vaccines work?
  • How do we know if climate change is real?
  • How do we know if the Civil War was fought over slavery?

submitted by /u/DRW0813
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