[extropy-chat] Appeal to Authority

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Thu Mar 16 16:59:14 UTC 2006

On 3/16/06, gts <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Seems to me appeals to authority are fallacious because, as Hal writes,
> "without knowing why the authorities believe as they do, we cannot pit the
> competing arguments sharply against one another." Appeals to authority are
> therefore not a form of logical discourse.

### If my parents are dumb alcoholics and the other kid's parents are
highly financially successful MD/PhD/JDs, he can reasonably tell me to
shut up and accept the opinions about biotechnology patent law that he
learned from them, rather than to keep faith in my own folks, even if
neither of us has the cognitive resources to evaluate the relative
merits of the opinions.

Appeal to authority is a rational argument whenever the participants
in the discussion do not have the ability to understand or otherwise
verify the arguments produced by authorities but can agree on a way of
assessing the authorities themselves.


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