The authority in question is not named. This is a type of
appeal to authority because when an authority is not named
it is impossible to confirm that the authority is an expert.
However the fallacy is so common it deserves special
A variation on this fallacy is the appeal to rumour. Because
the source of a rumour is typically not known, it is not
possible to determine whether to believe the rumour. Very
often false and harmful rumours are deliberately started in
order to discredit an opponent.
- A government official said today that the new gun law
will be proposed tomorrow.
- Experts agree that the best way to prevent nuclear war
is to prepare for it.
- It is held that there are more than two million needless
operations conducted every year.
- Rumour has it that the Prime Minster will declare
another holiday in October.
Argue that because we don't know the source of the
information we have no way to evaluate the reliability of the
26 May 1995 / 06 January 1996