Argument from False Authority

The person making the claim presents himself as an expert who should be trusted on the basis of his expertise even though his experience is not in the area being discussed. Being an expert in one area does not give one the authority to claim general expertise on other topics. Sometimes the claimant has bogus credentials or makes only a tangential connection to the topic when presenting his experience as an expert. In some cases, the expertise may be just for show - "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV."

Reference: http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#expert

Example:

I'm Pauley Perrette, and I play forensics specialist Abby Sciuto on NCIS. In my role on the show, I am surrounded by the most modern laboratory technology. If your company is looking for a reliable LC-MS system, I recommend the Psi-Phi Liquid Chromatograph with integrated Mass Spectrometer. Psi-Phi Labs set the standard for accurate chemical analysis equipment for forensic science laboratories. Take my word for it – you can trust Psi-Phi !

NB: Even though she does have a Master's Degree in Criminology in real life, Pauley's acting role as a forensic scientist does not qualify her as an expert on laboratory technology. While she may have had some experience with such equipment during her education and during the show, reliable product endorsements need to be based upon more extensive experience and field testing many different samples of such equipment - something that should be left to real experts. If she were endorsing cinematography makeup, clothes designers, or boots, she would be right in her element.

Contemporary Media Examples
 
Return to the Fallacy List