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Thread: Appeal to authority fallacy

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    RNG
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    Appeal to authority fallacy

    First, I was torn as to which subforum to put this in. I consider the lounge to be for more lighthearted discussions and I am quite serious about this. So even though considering this to be philosophy is a bit grandiose, I put it here.

    If anyone wants to change it, I won't at all be upset or surprised.

    But to my point: I do not understand why so many people declare a claim to be false because an authority was quoted asserting the claim. I think often they can't refute a claim any other way and think it sounds impressive.

    Is it because some short definitions one sees in a quick Google search often omit the part that it is only illogical if the authority used doesn't have real expertise in that field? I suspect so.

    Thus when you were making a claim about chemical bonds you could justifiably use a quote from Linus Pauling to substantiate it. But quoting him as support for the claim that vitamin C cures colds is fallacious since although he was a great chemist, he didn't know squat about vitamins or physiology.
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    Moderator libertariat720's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNG View Post
    First, I was torn as to which subforum to put this in. I consider the lounge to be for more lighthearted discussions and I am quite serious about this. So even though considering this to be philosophy is a bit grandiose, I put it here.

    If anyone wants to change it, I won't at all be upset or surprised.

    But to my point: I do not understand why so many people declare a claim to be false because an authority was quoted asserting the claim. I think often they can't refute a claim any other way and think it sounds impressive.

    Is it because some short definitions one sees in a quick Google search often omit the part that it is only illogical if the authority used doesn't have real expertise in that field? I suspect so.

    Thus when you were making a claim about chemical bonds you could justifiably use a quote from Linus Pauling to substantiate it. But quoting him as support for the claim that vitamin C cures colds is fallacious since although he was a great chemist, he didn't know squat about vitamins or physiology.
    And there could be contradicting claims from other chemists about chemical bonds too.

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    RNG
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    Quote Originally Posted by libertariat720 View Post
    And there could be contradicting claims from other chemists about chemical bonds too.
    Which is what makes science grow and improve. But referencing Al Gore on climate change is as bad as referencing Anthony Watts. While referencing work out of NASA or the IPCC has merit.
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    Veteran Member Dr Sampson Simpson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNG View Post
    First, I was torn as to which subforum to put this in. I consider the lounge to be for more lighthearted discussions and I am quite serious about this. So even though considering this to be philosophy is a bit grandiose, I put it here.

    If anyone wants to change it, I won't at all be upset or surprised.

    But to my point: I do not understand why so many people declare a claim to be false because an authority was quoted asserting the claim. I think often they can't refute a claim any other way and think it sounds impressive.

    Is it because some short definitions one sees in a quick Google search often omit the part that it is only illogical if the authority used doesn't have real expertise in that field? I suspect so.

    Thus when you were making a claim about chemical bonds you could justifiably use a quote from Linus Pauling to substantiate it. But quoting him as support for the claim that vitamin C cures colds is fallacious since although he was a great chemist, he didn't know squat about vitamins or physiology.
    It's the same trick that anybody does who does not have facts on their side. They either deflect, or make these fallacies. When you see that it is an instant sign the person is wrong and has nothing to back up their argument. They want something to be true so much.

    I wouldn't be surprised if that behavior in humans didn't also come from the seemingly genetic predisposition in most humans to believe and religion and other things, and completely throw away facts, logic and reasoning

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    Council Member Djinn's Avatar
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    The "appeal to authority fallacy" is only a fallacy when the authority lacks sufficient expertise.

    For example, if a licensed, certified oncologists tell you that you have cancer, you should probably take them at their word. However, if Dr. Phil tells you that you have cancer, you would be wise to get a second opinion from someone more qualified.
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    RNG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djinn View Post
    The "appeal to authority fallacy" is only a fallacy when the authority lacks sufficient expertise.

    For example, if a licensed, certified oncologists tell you that you have cancer, you should probably take them at their word. However, if Dr. Phil tells you that you have cancer, you would be wise to get a second opinion from someone more qualified.
    Exactly.

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    Junior Member Claudius the God's Avatar
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    My favorite abuse of this logical fallacy is when religious people start quoting Aquinas or Newton in defense of the supernatural. Why, they even quote unknown authors of every book in the Bible as authorities on any number of subjects. Think about that for a second. Not a single author of any book in the OT or NT is known for certain. Not one of these authors has left any history of themselves or been corroborated by third parties. Yet here we sit being dominated by believers who use unknown and unverified sources.
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    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNG View Post
    First, I was torn as to which subforum to put this in. I consider the lounge to be for more lighthearted discussions and I am quite serious about this. So even though considering this to be philosophy is a bit grandiose, I put it here.

    If anyone wants to change it, I won't at all be upset or surprised.

    But to my point: I do not understand why so many people declare a claim to be false because an authority was quoted asserting the claim. I think often they can't refute a claim any other way and think it sounds impressive.

    Is it because some short definitions one sees in a quick Google search often omit the part that it is only illogical if the authority used doesn't have real expertise in that field? I suspect so.

    Thus when you were making a claim about chemical bonds you could justifiably use a quote from Linus Pauling to substantiate it. But quoting him as support for the claim that vitamin C cures colds is fallacious since although he was a great chemist, he didn't know squat about vitamins or physiology.
    First off it BELONGS HERE. We have Trump. He personally does not exhibit all of these characteristics but exhibits several not to mention that many he has surrounded himself appear to have ALL of them. (Think Bannon). Among his team, every character trait has been exhibited within the circle of influence. Rubberstamping what Trump already 'feels' or 'thinks' and likely getting levels of paranoia, contempt, and 'crazy' he hadn't even come up with.

    This is very simple! A portion of America is deferential to authority--in "conservative", Republican speak RWA, Right Wing Authoritarian personalities. At their core, they work from FEAR. They have contempt for 'out groups'. Are punitive. Have a very traditional acceptance or grasp of cultural norms and are unable or loathed to change no matter how or what evidence is put in front of them--think climate science, reproductive science, medicine, the age of earth and man, etc. New discoveries that prove old theories to be outdated are dismissed, ridiculed or 'conspiratorial'.

    Now, I'm stating here unequivocally that the original studies came out of post WW2 studies of NAZI GERMANY. The initial studies were conducted by social scientists to find out how in the hell, Nazis carried out their level of cruelty and death. How they systematically went to work each day to 'exterminate' 6 million people ("Jews" mainly) and went home to their nice little homes with their own families after they sent millions to their deaths over the course of 4 years. (Don't like the Nazi data, tough shit, the studies were conceived, carried out, and well documented).

    Many contemporary refinements have been made to the studies over the decades. The 3 or 4 basic criterion of the personality construct remains pretty much, in general terms, refined and updated. These are explained below.

    Here are the basics...(There are some sections, "Assessmen" here are about the measurements and process. I'm leaving those in).

    Right-wing authoritarianism
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Psychology
    The Greek letter 'psi', a symbol for psychology

    Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) is a personality and ideological variable studied in political, social, and personality psychology. Right-wing authoritarians are people who have a high degree of willingness to submit to authorities they perceive as established and legitimate, who adhere to societal conventions and norms, and who are hostile and punitive in their attitudes towards people who don't adhere to them. They value uniformity and are in favour of using group authority, including coercion,[clarification needed] to achie

    History
    The concept of right-wing authoritarianism was introduced in 1981 by Canadian-American psychologist Bob Altemeyer,[2] as a refinement of the authoritarian personality theory originally pioneered by University of California at Berkeley researchers Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford.[3] After extensive questionnaire research and statistical analysis, Altemeyer found that only three of the original nine hypothesized components of the model correlated together: authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism. Researchers have traditionally assumed that there was just one kind of authoritarian personality, who could be either a follower or a leader. The discovery that followers and leaders are usually different types of authoritarians is based on research done by Sam McFarland.[4]

    Assessment
    [edit]
    Right-wing authoritarianism is measured by the RWA scale, which uses a Likert scale response. The first scored item on the scale states, "Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us." People who strongly agree with this are showing a tendency toward authoritarian submission (Our country desperately needs a mighty leader), authoritarian aggression (who will do what has to be done to destroy), and conventionalism (the radical new ways and sinfulness that are ruining us).[5]

    Psychometrically, the RWA scale was a significant improvement over the F-scale, which was the original measure of the authoritarian personality. The F-scale was worded so that agreement always indicated an authoritarian response, thus leaving it susceptible to the acquiescence response bias. The RWA scale is balanced to have an equal number of pro and anti authoritarian statements. The RWA scale also has excellent internal reliability, with coefficient alpha typically measuring between 0.85 and 0.94.[6]

    The RWA scale has been modified over the years, as many of the items lost their social significance as society changed. The current version is 22 items long.[7]

    Although Altemeyer has continually updated the scale, researchers in different domains have tended to lock-in on particular versions. For example, in the social psychology of religion, the 1992 version of the scale is still commonly used.[8] In addition, the length of the earlier versions (30 items) led many researchers to develop shorter versions of the scale. Some of those are published [9][10] but many researchers simply select a subset of items to use in their research; a practice that Altemeyer strongly criticizes.[11]

    The uni-dimensionality of the scale has also been challenged recently. Funke,[12] for example, showed that it is possible to extract the three underlying dimensions of RWA if the double- and triple-barreled nature of the items is removed. Given the possibility of underlying dimensions emerging from the scale, it is then the case that the scale is no longer balanced, since all the items primarily capturing authoritarian aggression are pro-trait worded (higher scores mean more authoritarianism) and all the items primarily measuring conventionalism are con-trait worded (higher scores mean less authoritarianism).[12] Work by Mavor, Louis and Sibley [13] recently demonstrated that the existence of 2 or 3 factors in the RWA scale reflects real differences in these dimensions rather than acquiescence response bias.[citation needed]

    Attitudes[edit]
    Right-wing authoritarians want society and social interactions structured in ways that increase uniformity and minimize diversity. In order to achieve that, they tend to be in favour of social control, coercion, and the use of group authority to place constraints on the behaviours of people such as political dissidents and ethnic minorities. These constraints might include restrictions on immigration, limits on free speech and association and laws regulating moral behaviour. It is the willingness to support or take action that leads to increased social uniformity that makes right-wing authoritarianism more than just a personal distaste for difference. Right-wing authoritarianism is characterized by obedience to authority, moral absolutism, racial and ethnic prejudice, and intolerance and punitiveness towards dissidents and deviants. In parenting, right-wing authoritarians value children's obedience, neatness, and good manners.[1]

    Right-wing authoritarianism is defined by three attitudinal and behavioral clusters which correlate together:
    [14][15]

    Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.

    Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.

    Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one's society should also be required to adhere to these norms.[16]

    The terminology of authoritarianism, right-wing authoritarianism, and authoritarian personality tend to be used interchangeably by psychologists, though inclusion of the term "personality" may indicate a psychodynamic interpretation consistent with the original formulation of the theory.[citation needed]
    Last edited by cpicturetaker12; 8th May 2017 at 11:09 AM.
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    Veteran Member Spookycolt's Avatar
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    It seems the OP was solved within five posts.

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    Moderate Extremist Blues63's Avatar
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    Conversely, I had one member try to tell me that certain scientific papers were invalid because the authors had not completed their doctorates. Never mind that the content was accurate-that was immaterial.
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