Before anything, keep in mind that this is mainly something that I find to be a major problem so this is entirely personal, for the most part. At the same time, I don't think what I'm saying here cannot be applied to the vast majority of common people out there.
So, recently, I've started taking an interest in politics, or at least political theory. I've been looking through and analyzing, to the best of my ability, all political topics I can find. Looking at the issues, seeing where both sides stand morally, etc. and trying to determine exactly what I think, what I want to support and what kind of political movements I should be endorsing. In doing this, though, I've come across a problem; evidence. While theories stand here and there, what we really need to look at is raw evidence and see whether we yield better results from, say, having higher taxes or lower taxes, right? "Better", while sometimes subjective, more or less has some traits that people agree to concede. If there's more people dying, that's considered a bad thing. If there's fewer jobs, it's a bad thing. And so forth. So the problem doesn't lie there and finding the better solution should be easy. What I've learned, though, is that evidence isn't that simple. Because, most of the time, causation is all but impossible to determine. Instead, we have to work with strong correlation, i.e. if every single time you cut taxes, everyone's wealth goes up, more jobs are made and life gets better as whole, then we can argue that it's probably because of said tax cuts that things improved.
But, of course, things aren't nearly that easy. For every reason that one side might give for some tax cuts benefitting society, the other side will have counterarguments such as a) these tax cuts just happened to take place at the same time as the economic boom caused by factors xyz, b) things would have been even better without the tax cuts and c) the evidence for things becoming better is biased. At this point, the first group will respond that a) factors xyz were not the primary reason for the boom, b) conditions abc would have been worse without tax cuts and c) there is no evidence for this evidence being biased. So on and so forth. Eventually, after both sides argue on and on for a while, never exhausting their logic or evidence, they either get torn away by the police/moderators or just agree to disagree. By this point, though, we'll definitely have had at least one comment along the lines of "if you knew anything about economics, like I do, with my degree (and other qualifications), you'd know that low taxes are generally better", which is really where my main point lies.
Now, all of these things generally apply to both sides. On here, my experience has been that people pushing right-wing fiscal policies, such as low taxes, claim to know more about economics and people pushing left-wing policies like teaching evolution or allowing homosexuality, claim to know a lot about science. You see, these things are extremely difficult to argue against with anyone. I don't have an eco or bio degree and, since they have proof that they know something about this, I'm really at an inferior level where there's nothing I can do.
Thing is, though, I'm not sure why or how I'm supposed to have faith in these people's qualifications. Using a more leftist example now, liberals claim that evolution has been definitively proved by science and that it should therefore be taught in schools. Indeed, it's really not a subject of debate to see whether or not the scientific community as whole accepts evolution, because this is evidently true. But my problem is, I really can't analyze the evidence for myself. Scientists can throw a bunch of data at me about fossils and extinct species and whatnot, which demonstrate that evolution is the correct theory in the field of biology. To me, however, this data means absolutely nothing. It would require an extraordinary amount of effort on my part to learn biology to the extent of understanding this evidence, something that is simply unfeasible for me and for the general populace. Meaning that, the only part of the liberal argument that I can understand is the fact that the scientific community endorses their idea; the actual evidence is simply meaningless to me. Therefore, in asking me to accept their idea here, they're basically asking me to have faith in the scientific community. More specifically, they're asking me to have more faith in the scientific community than I do in, say, my local churchman, who tells God created the world 6000 years ago. At this point, why and how should I believe in the scientific community, when the crux of their argument - and the argument of science as a whole - the evidence, is simply unaccessible to me?
And the fact of the matter is, there'll obviously always be the odd conservative Christian scientist or leftist Communist economist who will be supporting the other side of the argument. Going by the fact that both sides claim to know with absolute certainty that they're right, one of them is bound to be lying through their teeth. Which one, though? I don't think I can possibly know.
In the end, of course, we can always have arguments on moral and philosophical bases. These things are rarely constrained by evidence so there's room for discussion, although I quickly find that people simply hold different beliefs axiomatically so there's really no room for discussion. For political issues that are important and seriously affect our lives, though, I'm not sure what those of us who aren't so well-researched are supposed to do.
tl;dr: Science, economics, etc. are too complex for me (and the average person), but necesssary for political discussion. How on earth do we discuss politics in a democracy where the average person has a say when these subjects are pretty much meaningless to the average person?
“These are my principles; if you don’t like them, I have others.” – Groucho Marx