For most specialized topics, we are not capable of evaluating any ideas or opinions on their own merits because we do not have sufficient understanding of the topics. So, credibility is not earned from making sense of things. Things make sense when they come from someone credible. We fool ourselves into thinking that what we heard was credible because it made sense. We don’t actually have that ability in most cases.
In order to become an authority, you have to gather your credibility first, like degrees, licenses, awards, endorsements, and institutional affiliations. Whether you actually know or understand anything is secondary. In short, fake it till you make it.
It’s superficial but there is no way around it as we cannot know everything to evaluate everything on its own merit. This is why politics is so superficial. We are making decisions on issues that we do not have sufficient knowledge of, yet we pretend like we vote based on facts and reason. I find this the biggest flaw of our political system.