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The first installment may be found here:

Part 1 - Introduction and the Argument From Ignorance

1 posted on 12/20/2003 4:42:14 AM PST by general_re
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To: longshadow; PatrickHenry; Woahhs; P.O.E.; No More Gore Anymore; jennyp
Part 2. If you want on or off the ping list, let me know.

Tomorrow's installment is everyone's favorite - the argument ad hominem.

2 posted on 12/20/2003 4:44:02 AM PST by general_re ("You shouldn't treat people like objects. They aren't that valuable." - P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: general_re
False, displaced expertise is the main support of socialism; one thinks of Albert Einstein's infatuation with it for example.

Fundamentally, the conservative critique of socialism is that few indeed are virtuous enough to be trusted with the power socialism implies--and it is essentially impossible for anyone with that much virtue to get that much power (since the virtuous do not crave power for its own sake), and even then the moral virtue of the person(s) given the power will not give them the supreme knowledge and understanding of practical affairs needed to make that centralized decisionmaking superior to the decisions derived from the many, each in their own realm of expertise however humble or significant.

And the attraction of socialism for the celebrity is precisely its claim of the existence within its counsels of glories of virtue and intellectual capacity. The celebrity, as I use the term, is famous for virtues irrelevant to the issue of whether socialism has practical benefits for our posterity or, as conservatives are confident, disasterous practical effects in the short and the long run.

The celebrity, famous perhaps for a winning smile or physical dexterity, is offered the chance to join the counsels of the putatively virtuous and polymath intelligence by the simple expedient of yielding to pride. And many do.

7 posted on 12/20/2003 7:55:45 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Belief in your own objectivity is the essence of subjectivity.)
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To: general_re; Fzob; P.O.E.; PeterPrinciple; reflecting; DannyTN; FourtySeven; x; dyed_in_the_wool; ...

(If you want on or off this list please freepmail me.)

Ad verecundiam fallacy - (to authority or veneration). The appeal to authority rather than logical argument and verifiable evidence to support an idea. Authorities include: experts, teachers, leaders, customs, traditions, institutions (religions or ideologies), individuals holding respected positions in government, business, or other organizations, or any individuals or groups whose opinions are regarded as authoritative.

Using authority in argument or reason is not itself a fallacy, it is when authority is used instead of reason, or when the supposed authority is not a valid one, that a fallacy is committed.

The most common version of this fallacy is the appeal to "vague authority." Unspecified experts, masters, sages, adepts, studies, research, or documents are cited as though they were generally known and universally accepted. Always implicit in this version of the fallacy is the idea that anyone who does not know and accept the cited authority is stupid, ignorant, or "out of touch". Of course, if the authority is so well known, the arguer should have no trouble identifying it.


"Scientists say that drilling for oil in Alaska will be an environmental disaster." What scientists, in what field, and did they say it as scientists or as socialists?

"Psychologist's studies show that home schooling for children whose parents are never home may not be successful." This example only seems ludicrous to those who are not familiar with recent pyschologist's studies. Evidence from such "expert studies" are routinely used to repudiate facts. In this case, it would take the form, "Psychologist's studies show that home schooling for children ... may not be successful." Look for this headline in any liberal newspaper or magazine.


16 posted on 12/22/2003 5:35:54 AM PST by Hank Kerchief
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