Engineers are uniquely equipped not only to recognize truth but to discover it. We deal in nothing but truth day in and day out. Engineers cannot afford opinions. If we rely on someone's opinion that that column will support that roof, the roof may collapse and kill people. Engineers have to know for certain what the true strength of that column is and what the true load of that roof is – because it's our responsibility not to kill people.
So, if you don't happen to be an engineer, how do you recognize a truth? Let me answer that by stating a truth: v = 10t. This truth says that a falling object will attain a speed of 10 meters per second for each second it falls. Another truth is e = 1/2mv², which says that the energy released by a body on impact is half it's mass times its velocity squared.
How do we know these are truths? Because every time we drop an object it falls at a velocity of 10 meters per second per second, and it always releases an energy of half its mass times its velocity squared on impact. If you doubt the validity of these truths, go up to the roof of a three story building and step off. Note that you will fall for two seconds, and you will hit the ground at a speed of 20 meters per second (about 40 mph), and you will generate an energy on impact of 20,000 joules (14,740 foot-pounds) for every handed pounds you weigh – and you will most likely be dead.
Truth is a description of the way the universe works, and it is absolute and immutable. Engineers literally cannot lie because they are dealing with reality. At the other end of the truth scale are politicians, who literally cannot tell the truth. To an engineer, truth is what works; to a politician, truth is whatever is convenient at the moment.
Both engineers and politicians envision change. The difference is that engineers accomplish change by working within a framework of facts, while politicians promise change through a fabric of lies. If you want to fly, an engineer will apply Bernoulli's Principle and build you a machine that will carry you through the air. A politician will feed you marijuana cookies and tell you you can fly.
So, how do you differentiate between truth and lies? First, you must exercise discipline. You must recognize that truth never exists as a separate entity. It is always a characteristic of reality. compare everything you hear to the real world. Will this work? Does this make sense in light of what I already know?
Of course, this requires that you know what does work – what has worked in the past and what has never worked. In other words, you must be informed. You must educate yourself in historical precedent so you have a yardstick against which to measure what you hear. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but I didn't get to be an engineer by listening to Anderson Fooler on CNN.