Talk:Argument from authority

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This Fallacies related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.



These were well researched and I gave citations, please don't revert without giving good reason. Proxima Centauri (talk) 05:29, 4 June 2012 (UTC)


I cut this from the main Fallacy page, with the intent of bringing it here, but then I couldn't see where it belonged in this article either. So I'll take the coward's option and place it here at talk. Voxhumana (talk) 07:04, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Ex equus pyga -- "From the horse's ass" is a variety of argument from authority. The horse's ass claims a particular status such as former military or government service to lend weight to their assertions or imperatives. It is a supremely ineffective strategy, resulting only in the inflation of the horse's ass's own chest. Anyone who has ever tried to cinch a saddle girth tight on an unwilling animal knows that the beast is not that hard to outsmart. All it takes is patience, since sooner or later he must exhale.

I can't quite understand what the last two sentences are getting at, mixed metaphors, perhaps? Scarlet A.pngtheist 09:38, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Seems like the nerds here on RW don't even know what actual rationality is if they believe an AA is EVER a valid argument. (talk) 20:40, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your input. ₭£€‡₦怇₮ 21:22, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
DRINK! Scarlet A.pnggnosticModerator 22:47, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────IIRC, that one was aimed at TK, who used to thump his chest with claims that his CV included some sort of military or security service. It is now stale, and may be incinerated. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:17, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

The article boils down to ad verecundiam being the second best thing to sex. But to spoil a good party, the conclusion never follows from the premise in any inductive argument. It's a good tool to add numerical weight to a consensus at the expense of quality, and then use the consensus as a throwing weapon against whistleblowers that threaten a position of influence and power. I results in a self-sustaining escalation of fallacies: ad verecundiam (expert said it) -> ad numerum (millions accept it) -> ad baculum (you deny it)--Brasov (talk) 00:29, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Like everything else you write, I'm not sure if you don't understand what you're talking about or just have trouble communicating it well. Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 17:53, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Argumentum ab auctoritate[edit]

It looks like Argumentum ad verecundiam is different from Argumentum ab auctoritate which is what this article is actually about: Argumentum ad verecundiam seems to be appeal to shame (or modesty) and Argumentum ab auctoritate means appeal to authority.-- Pedja  (speak up, contributions) 13:17, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes, that would be the literal translation - though since "verecundiam" is used to reference this fallacy, one could say "appeal to authority" is still the English equivalent. Interesting bit of etymological trivia to include, though. Scarlet A.pngbomination 15:07, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I'd rather shift the article itself to "argument from authority", to avoid dog-latin in titles. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 15:07, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

"logically valid"? Still argument from authority, therefore dubious[edit]

The article states "A logically valid argument from authority grounds a claim in the beliefs of one or more authoritative source(s), whose opinions are likely to be true on the relevant issue" This is still a logical fallacy. Strictly, the ideal kind of logical argument is evidence + deduction. Surely you're talking about yet another appeal to authority, and saying one is more valid than another?

You could say "Hawking is more likely to be right about certain areas of physics, and less likely to be correct when he starts mouthing off about politics" (I believe this to be true). But saying A:"Hawking is likely to be correct about physics", "B: X is a statement of his regarding physics", therefore C:"X is likely to be correct" is still an appeal to authority rather than a logical argument proving X - though it is logically consistent in itself.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

So, let me get this right. You are saying that (to use your example) in comparison to views in other areas Stephan Hawking is more likely to be right in physics, but if Stephan Hawking an experienced educated genius at physics makes a statement about physics then it's a fallacy to trust that his opinion is more than likely going to be right in the field he has spent a lifetime in? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 14:00, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
Frankly? Yes. The conclusion of a logically valid argument follows necessarily from its premises and, if its premises are true, cannot possibly be false. Is it logically possible (i.e. entails no contradiction) for Stephen Hawking to ever be wrong about anything, even in his area of expertise? Yes. There does not exist a deductive rule of inference saying that "an expert says X; therefore X" is ever logically valid. Again, it may make X more likely in a Bayesian analysis, but it is still logically fallacious. Logical truths are like mathematical truths in that they cannot possibly, conceivably, ever be false. We should change the introduction to clarify that argument from authority is not logically valid, although probabilistically useful.Technophile (talk) 09:31, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

"I don't like this definition of a logical fallacy. Is RationalWiki run/infected by the spooks?"[edit]

Not a joke. Mʀ. Wʜɪsᴋᴇʀs, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 17:04, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

The conspiracy subreddit is literally more critical than the "shower thoughts" one.

oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 15:19, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Sources to integrate into the article[edit]

We should mention the tall poppy syndromeWikipedia as part of our discussion/analysis on the topic. We should also further emphasize that it's often wise to heed the opinion of authority. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 21:48, 22 March 2017 (UTC)