An appeal to authority is a logical fallacy in which one attempts to win an argument by citing an expert’s opinion. This argument is cited on the status of the person instead of their ideas, While it can be tempting to question authority to support your position.
By using an appeal to authority, you can create a fallacious argument. This is because experts can sometimes be wrong, and even when they are right, their opinions are not necessarily more valid than those of non-experts.
In addition, appealing to authority can create a false sense of consensus, giving the impression that everyone agrees with you when that is not the case. When making an argument, it is always best to back up your claims with evidence and reasoning rather than relying on the authority of others.
Appeal To Authority Examples
Here are two examples of appeal to authority that we have cited to help you;
- Politicians might argue that a certain policy is best because it was developed by experts. However, just because someone is an expert does not mean they are always right.
It is important to critically evaluate arguments, even when they are made by experts. Otherwise, we might end up accepting false information as true. In some cases, an appeal to authority can be valid if the person making the argument is an expert authority figure.
- When we say Isaac Newton was a great scientist and an Alchemist, we should trust his saying seriously. This is when we are appealing to authority.
- Parents may use their authority to convince their children to do something, or teachers may use their position of authority to get students to listen to them
Appeal To Authority Examples In our Daily Life
Look at these examples to understand how we use the appeal to Authority fallacy in our daily life;
- God does not exist because Stephen Hawking said so
- There is a creator because Francis and Pope said
- These supplements are best to use for bone health because doctor Smith said
- Big Bang Theory is true because Stephen Hawking said
- The boy said not to play in the rain because his mother said playing in the rain causes your sick
- Global changes are affecting the earth because scientists who study climate change have said so
- Global warming is not happening because climate scientists believe
- Dr. Smith says this new drug is safe, so you should take it.
- My sister is the teacher, and she said this is not the best school to enroll your kids.
- This is the best institute to learn because the applicants said so
- The Theory Of Relativity is true because Albert Einstein presented it
- World War 2 is known as the bloodiest war because historians said
- My parents say that I should go to college, so I must go.
- My teacher said that evolution is just a theory, so it can’t be proven.
Examples In Politics
- The President of the United States is often considered an authority figure. In politics, presidents may use their authority to appeal to voters.
For example, a president may give a speech in which he or she talks about the importance of a particular issue. The president uses his or her authority to convince people to support a certain policy.
- If a politician is trying to convince people to support a new environmental policy, he or she may bring in a scientist who can talk about the dangers of climate change. By using an expert as a source of information, the politician is trying to show that there is evidence to support his or her position.
- The President said that we should go to war with Iraq, so it must be the right thing to do
- The Prime Minister said the new tax plan would benefit the economy, so it must be true.
- According to the latest poll, 60% of Americans support my position on gun control.
Appeal To Authority Examples on Social Media
- People post pictures of themselves with a celebrity, implying that the celebrity is endorsing them or their product.
- A celebrity endorsement is when a famous person recommends a product or service to their fans. This appeal to authority is often used in advertising, as celebrities greatly influence their fans.
- This place is the best to visit because I visited it.
- This restaurant presents the worst food because my friend went and had her lunch there.
- This is a beautiful view to take pictures of because the travel expert says
Appeal To Authority Examples In Media
- Beyonce knows this new diet is effective, so you should try it too.
- The government says this new law is necessary, so you should support it.
- The news said this candidate is ahead in the polls, so he must be winning.
- A medical doctor appears on a TV show to discuss a new medication’s benefits. This is an example of an appeal to authority in his field.
Examples in Advertising
- This cereal is best to start for kids because it is recommended by the best child doctors.
- This toothpaste brand is best to use because dentists prefer this to use for their teeth sensitivity.
- I’m not a doctor, but I use this product, and it works for me.
- This product has been featured on Oprah/Dr. Oz/etc
- The FDA has approved this product, so it must be authentic to use
- As seen on TV
- This toothpaste is recommended by the American Dental Association
Examples in Movies
Here are a few examples of Appeal To Authority Fallacy taken from Movies;
- In the movie The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg tries to convince his girlfriend, Erica Albright, to stay with him. He tells her that he is going to be a billionaire and that she should stay with him because he is going to be very successful.
- In the movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko tries to convince Bud Fox to invest in his company. Gekko tells Fox he is the best in the business and has made much money for other people.
- In The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone tries to convince Sonny to take over the family business. Vito tells Sonny that he is the smartest and most capable person in the family and will be a great leader.
- In The Shawshank Redemption, Red tries to convince Andy Dufresne to escape prison. Red tells Andy that he has been in prison for a long time and knows what he is doing.
- In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest tries to convince Jenny Curran to date him. Forrest tells Jenny that he is a good person and that she should give him a chance.
- Batman tries to convince Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight to join him. Batman tells Dent they can make a difference and need each other.
- In the movie The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen tries to convince Peeta Mellark to help her win the Hunger Games. Katniss tells Peeta that she trusts him and believes in him.
- In the movie Juno, Juno MacGuff tries to convince Paulie Bleeker to go out with her. Juno tells Paulie she likes him and thinks they would be good together.
- In the movie Legally Blonde, Elle Woods tries to convince Professor Callahan to give her a chance in his class. Elle tells Callahan that she is smart and hardworking and will not let him down.
So, here we have presented some examples of the appeal to authority fallacy that we use daily. Although we use most of the examples in our daily life without knowing the fact taht we are creating an appeal to authority without citing credible sources.
Frequently Asked Questions
H3 -What Is Appeal To False Authority?
Appeal to false authority is a logical fallacy in which someone uses the credentials of a supposed expert to support their argument, even though the expert is not qualified to speak on the topic.
It’s important to remember that just because someone has a lot of letters after their name, or seems to know a lot about one topic, doesn’t mean they are an authority on everything.
Before accepting someone’s opinion as fact, it’s important to research and see if they are qualified to speak on the subject.
How To Avoid Appeal To Authority Fallacy?
To avoid the appeal to authority fallacy, listening to what experts say is important. It’s also important not to blindly accept their opinions without critically examining them first. After all, anyone can call themselves an expert, and not all authorities are created equal. So always ask yourself these two questions when assessing an authority’s argument:
1) Is this person qualified to speak on this topic?
2) Does this person have a vested interest in promoting this particular viewpoint?
What Are The Types Of Appeal To Authority?
The types of appeal to authority are as follow;
- Legitimate appeal to authority
- Appeal To unqualified authority
- Appeal to anonymous authority
- Appeal to numbers
- Appeal to tradition
An experienced author and writing instructor. Has been teaching composition and creative writing at the college level since 2015.