Professor of nothing

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A professor of nothing is a fallacy that occurs when a source is introduced as a "Professor" or "Doctor" or similar (and thus authoritative), yet either they are not a professor or doctor or their field of expertise is not the topic at hand.

The fallacy is an argument from authority and thus a conditional fallacy.

Contents

[edit] Form

P1: Prof. X supports Y.
P2: (unstated and unproven) X is authoritative about Y.
C1: Y is true.

[edit] Examples

The vast majority of the "positive" reviews of Michael Cremo's Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race are introduced as "Dr."[1] yet are not qualified to speak on archaeology.

Young Earth creationist Ian Juby has also occasionally been introduced as "Professor Juby", at least by Carl Baugh,[2] despite not having any semblance of qualification in paleontology (or any other scientific field).[3]

[edit] Problems

Simply put, if someone's not an expert in a field, they can't be cited as one.

Every time an "expert" is touted with a title but without their area of expertise, be wary. If the quoter cannot provide the field in question, the source's authority can also be questioned.

[edit] Poem

Dennis Earl's poem, Professor Nothing, despite implications of conspiracy, covers some of the problems with supposed experts:[4]

Articulation in the highest degree
A familiar presence on my TV
Acceptable presentation for the powers that be
Transparent bullshit for everyone to see

Your expertise is sorely lacking
Yet it doesn’t stop your relentless attacking
Of those who oppose dangerous fracking
And those who support honourable hacking

It’s not your place to question and doubt
Your worship of power is completely devout
You hammer dissent with a ferocious shout
As we collectively roll our eyes throughout

You sound real smart but that’s an illusion
A professor of nothing bordering on delusion
A willing conspirator acting in collusion
With sinister forces who thrive on confusion

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. Reviews/Comments
  2. See for instance Potholer54's YT video nominating Juby for the 2011 Golden Crocoduck. Calling Juby "Professor" might be a mistake by Baugh who is such an awfully incompetent apologist/creationist that Ken Ham(!) has warned his followers not to rely on Baugh's BS. However, Juby didn't actually correct Baugh.
  3. At least Juby hasn't explained anything about why anyone should give his creationist claims the time of day — not even waving a diploma mill certificate around à la "Dr." Dino — except claims to have a high IQ score.
  4. https://dennisearl.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/professor-nothing/


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