[extropy-chat] Appeal to Authority

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 17 14:25:21 UTC 2006

On Thu, 16 Mar 2006 23:19:52 -0500, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at tsoft.com> wrote:

> There are any number of examples like that. An especially
> revealing one is this:
>    Suppose you are the only mathematician who has calculated
>    that the orbit of a dangerous asteroid sure to strike Earth
>    will pass through a particular point, there being dozens
>    and dozens of other astrophysicists and mathematicians all
>    of whom have reputations for competence and accuracy at
>    least as good as your own. If the decision suddenly is
>    yours, would you go with their calculations, or the one
>    that you have performed with your own hands?
> Unless you can *explain* what special circumstances are
> causing them to be wrong, you are defying probability not
> to accede to their authority. The same is true of Rafal's
> and many other examples: often we simply *must* rely on
> authority!

I would say it is expedient to accept the unsupported conclusions of these  
authorities, but not strictly logical.

(One could of course argue it is sometimes logical to do what is  
expedient, which seems to be the argument of those here who think appeals  
to authority are not fallacious.)


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list