It’s nice to think you’re bucking the trend, and taking the route less traveled. Just because that person asserted a fact, why should I believe them? If we are all supposed to have freedom of thought and expression, what makes their assertion any more valid than my explanation?
In one word: science. In a few words: correctly applied science.
I’m sure you can come up with a few scenarios that I’m thinking of. Namely, the “debates” concerning global climate change and, to a lesser extend, the theory of evolution. These two concepts are frequently challenged in the media, making it confusing for a person who does not understand the science to come to an informed decision. As a result, they will look to those with a lot of influence in order to help make that decision.
However, this only works if those with influence understand the science and are willing to communicate it clearly. If they have other agendas, or if they themselves simply don’t want to accept the science, then they have the power to influence many others who will look to them for leadership.
When it comes to problems like global climate change, this is obviously an issue. If we are in the habit of ignoring scientists (from multiple sources), we will quickly get ourselves into problems. Yes, it’s a fair question to ask for the source of where information comes from and critique it. But disputing the information on the basis that scientists at large are trying to “push their agenda” by advocating for solutions to human-caused global climate change is just ridiculous.
Instead, we need to look at information before trusting anyone in particular. This goes for scientists just as much as politicians or journalists or anyone else. Fortunately, those in science usually tend to deliver information that is as objective and accurate as possible (though that is not always the case). That is why I tend to trust scientists. Not because I’m in cohorts with them to spread fear about an issue in order to get more science funding, but because the data that’s presented to me is convincing in and of itself.
Make an informed decision by looking at the data, not just trusting people of influence. If the data is good, it should have no trouble convincing you.