Fallacious Arguments Series – Appeal to Authority

Common logical fallacies and how to counter them.

Appeal to Authority


The Appeal to Authority rests on the fallacy that a voice with a large platform or reach is automatically correct, regardless whether that voice is an expert on the topic at hand. Example:

Gloria: Funding for housing in remote Indigenous Communities is a priority.

Albert: They need to sort out the drugs, booze, and sexual violence in their communities first.

Gloria: Safe, habitable housing is a basic human right.

Albert: Crime and abuse are rampant! Until they sort that out, they don’t deserve any more of our money! Just ask Lorne Gunter!

The Appeal to Authority. Lorne Gunter is a well-known Canadian columnist, with his own lived experience. What he is not, is an expert in housing, poverty, or criminology.

Gloria: Lorne Gunter doesn’t speak for his entire community.

Albert: You don’t care about sexual assault!

Albert thinks he’s onto a winner.