Atheists are monkeying with the meaning of logic in order to destroy God arguments.
I am so sick of this nonsense. Every time I quote an expert on soemthing atheist go "that's just appeal to authority." then they turn around and quote Dawkins. They really think exert testimony is appeal to authority but if they quote a scientist then that's fact! Of cousre when I quote the scientists who do the studies on religious experience those are just preachers who don't know anything! (they are actually psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, and so on).
Appeal to authority is not a fallacy. That's right. It is never a fallacy to quote an expert. think about it. why do you quote a dictionary? Why turn to a dictionary for proof of a word definition? That's an authority. That's what dictionaries are they are authorities in terms of defining words. If appeal to authority is wrong, appeal to dictionary is wrong. If appeal to authority is wrong then appealing to scinece is wrong becuase scinece is an authority.
The real name for the fallacy is "Appeal to false authority," or "appeal to unnecessary authority." it really applies to situations like quoting your high school principal for matters that don't involve school administration. Or "my uncle John says we almost lost WWII in the battle of the bulge and he was in army so he should know." While the battle of the bulge was serious and perhaps it might have contributed to a German victory had we lost that battle, uncle John is not an authority on that just because he was in the army. Being one's uncle might have him authority over children in the family to some extent it does not make him an authority on military strategy.
It's would be idiocy to say "this quote from the world's greatest authroity on WWII is just an appeal to authority." In other words "appeal to the guy who knows is wrong." That is lunacy. Here are some authorities on logic who explain what they fallacy is about:
"Also Known as: Fallacious Appeal to Authority, Misuse of Authority, Irrelevant Authority, Questionable Authority, Inappropriate Authority, Ad Verecundiam "
An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:
- Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
- Person A makes claim C about subject S.
- Therefore, C is true.
This fallacy is committed when the person in question is not a legitimate authority on the subject. More formally, if person A is not qualified to make reliable claims in subject S, then the argument will be fallacious.
This sort of reasoning is fallacious when the person in question is not an expert. In such cases the reasoning is flawed because the fact that an unqualified person makes a claim does not provide any justification for the claim. The claim could be true, but the fact that an unqualified person made the claim does not provide any rational reason to accept the claim as true.
When a person falls prey to this fallacy, they are accepting a claim as true without there being adequate evidence to do so. More specifically, the person is accepting the claim because they erroneously believe that the person making the claim is a legitimate expert and hence that the claim is reasonable to accept. Since people have a tendency to believe authorities (and there are, in fact, good reasons to accept some claims made by authorities) this fallacy is a fairly common one.
Since this sort of reasoning is fallacious only when the person is not a legitimate authority in a particular context, it is necessary to provide some acceptable standards of assessment. The following standards are widely accepted:
- The person has sufficient expertise in the subject matter in question.
Claims made by a person who lacks the needed degree of expertise to make a reliable claim will, obviously, not be well supported. In contrast, claims made by a person with the needed degree of expertise will be supported by the person's reliability in the area.
Determining whether or not a person has the needed degree of expertise can often be very difficult. In academic fields (such as philosophy, engineering, history, etc.), the person's formal education, academic performance, publications, membership in professional societies, papers presented, awards won and so forth can all be reliable indicators of expertise. Outside of academic fields, other standards will apply. For example, having sufficient expertise to make a reliable claim about how to tie a shoe lace only requires the ability to tie the shoe lace and impart that information to others. It should be noted that being an expert does not always require having a university degree. Many people have high degrees of expertise in sophisticated subjects without having ever attended a university. Further, it should not be simply assumed that a person with a degree is an expert.
Of course, what is required to be an expert is often a matter of great debate. For example, some people have (and do) claim expertise in certain (even all) areas because of a divine inspiration or a special gift. The followers of such people accept such credentials as establishing the person's expertise while others often see these self-proclaimed experts as deluded or even as charlatans. In other situations, people debate over what sort of education and experience is needed to be an expert. Thus, what one person may take to be a fallacious appeal another person might take to be a well supported line of reasoning. Fortunately, many cases do not involve such debate.
- The claim being made by the person is within her area(s) of expertise.
If a person makes a claim about some subject outside of his area(s) of expertise, then the person is not an expert in that context. Hence, the claim in question is not backed by the required degree of expertise and is not reliable.
It is very important to remember that because of the vast scope of human knowledge and skill it is simply not possible for one person to be an expert on everything. Hence, experts will only be true experts in respect to certain subject areas. In most other areas they will have little or no expertise. Thus, it is important to determine what subject area a claim falls under.
It is also very important to note that expertise in one area does not automatically confer expertise in another. For example, being an expert physicist does not automatically make a person an expert on morality or politics. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked or intentionally ignored. In fact, a great deal of advertising rests on a violation of this condition. As anyone who watches television knows, it is extremely common to get famous actors and sports heroes to endorse products that they are not qualified to assess. For example, a person may be a great actor, but that does not automatically make him an expert on cars or shaving or underwear or diets or politics.
"Not every appeal to authority commits this fallacy, but every appeal to an authority with respect to matters outside his special province commits the fallacy. 'These pills must be safe and effective for reducing. They have been endorsed by Miss X, star of stage, screen, and television.'"Philosophy lander.edu
(W.L. Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion. Humanities Press, 1980)
Abstract: The argument from irrelevant appeal to authority is characterized and shown to be sometimes persuasive but normally fallacious.
|I. Argumentum ad Verecundiam: (authority) the fallacy of appealing to the testimony of an authority outside his special field. Anyone can give opinions or advice; the fallacy only occurs when the reason for assenting to the conclusion is based on following the improper authority.|
|A. Occasionally, this argument is called the "argument from prestige" and is based on the belief that prestigious people cannot be wrong. In these cases, the fallacy is best termed the "snob appeal" variety of the ad populum.|
|B. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the ad verecundiam and the ad populum (q.v., ad populum) when the authority cited is a group with status.|
|Consider this example from an popular logic text: "Those who say that astrology is not reliable are mistaken. The wisest men of history have all been interested in astrology, and kings and queens of all ages have guided the affairs of nations by it."|
|C. The informal structure generally has the basic pattern:|
|Authority on subject x, L says accept statement p. |
p is outside the scope of subject x.
p is true.
|D. Many advertising campaigns are built on this fallacy. Popular sports figures, musicians, or actors endorse products and, in proper context, this fact is offered as a reason we should use those products.|
Athiests re re-writing the rules:
here's how blog Advocatus Atheist changes the rule:
The appeal to authority may be the most widely relied upon informal fallacy there is. Of course the reason for this is most likely biological and psychological. From infancy we have no choice but to rely on the protection and safety of higher powers. These powers are usually represented by our parents and guardians, elders, leaders, and governments. It is also why many people, once fully actualized adults, still seek authority figures in their lives. Without a King, or President, or a functioning government--most people wouldn't have the structure they need in their lives--a structure which reflects their entire upbringing since the day they were born.He sites Plantinga talking about the modal argument as the fallacy. Plantinga is probably one of the top experts on the modal arguemnt in the world today. Of course it's not a fallacy to use his expert opinion. But atheist hate this because he believes in God and he supports the Modal argument. So they change the rules to wipe out God supporters, but do they continue using Dawkins as an authority?
Indeed, society as a whole is largely structured with authority in mind. It is why armies need dictators, militaries rely on governments, the pious rely on the priests, and so on and so forth. It is no wonder then that we innately appeal to authority when we are trying to justify our desires, needs, as well as actions.
What I am concerned with here, however, is a specific form of authority used in academia. It is the argument from authority. Now, the appeal to authority is one means in gaining support to justify an argument, idea, or belief. Basically any position we take must be validated before it can become formally accepted. If you write a book on the history of George Washington, it helps to cite historians, and better yet, historians whose expertise is centered on the time and place of your topic. Another important factor is whether there is a consensus on the relevant information. Do the experts agree?
another example About.com
He just leaves out the bit about the unnecessary stuff. This gives the impression that quotes experts is a fallacy, then contradicts itself by tossing in "this can be legitimate" but not saying how or when.
Also known as argumentum ad verecundiam, an appeal to authority is an informal fallacy which involves arguing that we should accept a claim simply because of some personal feature of the individual who makes the claim.Sometimes, such an appeal can be legitimate - but usually it is illegitimate. The appeal to authority is a mirror image of the ad hominem argumen