When I teach, I often begin my classes by telling students not to believe me. They’re usually surprised by this. It’s uncommon for teachers to discourage their students from believing what they say. What would be the point of schools and universities if teachers weren’t reliable sources of knowledge?

It’s not that I want my students to distrust me. Rather, I want them to be able to distinguish fact from opinion and to be dedicated to ascertaining the validity of any statements or statistics they hear, watch, or read.

This is no easy task. How can any of us know whether the information we’re exposed to is accurate?

psychology today