The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Most Experts Agree

From now on, whenever I hear or read "most experts believe" used rhetorically, I am going to ask "how many out of how many?" Here is why: - I do not believe the veracity such claims unless I see actual data backing them up. - I believe that such a survey of expert opinions is practically impossible due to boundaries of time, location, language, persistence of publishing, and the ephemeral nature of opinions. - I do not believe there is an equitable or sensible solution as to which votes to count and which to exclude in a survey of expert opinions. - Such statements are an [appeal to authority fallacy][] if used rhetorically. In other words, I find it unlikely that anyone can actually authoritatively say "most experts believe" anything, and I think the matter of expert opinion is irrelevant in any case. So why are such rhetorical phrases used so frequently? **Note:** This article of mine was previously published on another site.

Category: education