There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.
If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.
| Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.|
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with !
| Part of the series on|
Logic and rhetoric
- P1: Source X supports Y.
- P2: (unstated) Source X is necessarily correct.
- C1: Y is necessarily correct.
- Einstein believed in a god, so I'm going to.
- The world was created in seven days, because the Bible says so.
- [Famous Person X] uses [Product Y]; so will I.
- Many Christians make a special case (see SeekFind.net's website) for the Bible / God / Jesus, arguing that everything else can be questioned except God. Often, this relies on the circular reasoning that God inspired the Bible because the Bible says so.
Such an argument is fallacious because there is no given reason why the authority's word should be accepted as final. The fallacy also faces the issue that only the authority's opinion is considered, while no opposing arguments are.
The line between invincible authority and a valid argument from authority can be difficult to draw; this does not mean no distinction exists. A sound argument based on citing authorities requires (1) supporting the authority of the authority (e.g., the authority is an expert in the field, has been widely published, and agrees with scientific consensus) and (2) hedging your bets (because even the most qualified authorities make mistakes) and asserting that the authority's support merely makes an argument likely true, not necessarily true.
Ultimately, however, this fallacy underscores the weakness of citing authorities instead of arguments.
- "Invincible Authority" (old version), Bruce Thompson
- "Invincible Authority Fallacy", SeekFind.net (a YEC Christian website)