Friday, May 22, 2009

An Appeal To Authority

My daughters were having a debate. Olivia insisted that yummy chocolaty goodness with crunchy peanuts is much superior to Emma's white chocolate creaminess with crunchy cookies mixed in. I, of course, always having an opinion in all matters of chocolate, sided with Olivia. This led Olivia to rejoice at her good fortune that she is right because she is in the majority, not knowing of course that this statement is a logical fallacy, known as argumentum ad numerum. Emma then argued that simply because more people may agree on the matter, it does not make it true. Olivia blurts out, "And I've got a Mama!"...Ah, the appeal to authority, argumentum ad verecundium.


  1. I'll have to side with Olivia on this one. White chocolate is not my cup of tea.

  2. If the one child could demonstrate you were an actual authority the argument could be stregthened.

    If an actual authority were conferred on you by another with unquestionable authority and with it the ability to infallably decide the quality of choclate and that decision be binding then the question could have been truly settled.

    As the situation seems now from your post you have assumed this authority upon yourself making your opinion merely useful to one child and the truth of the matter no more decided than had you arbitrarily chosen white choclate instead.

    Maybe religion is like a box of choclates completely subjective and we are all our own authorities with no earthly willy wonkas to guide us into what is best.

  3. As I reread I see you had not assumed any authority on matters of choclate for yourself only an appeal of your maternal authority was evoked. Emma has a very strong appeal that can be made in protest of this incorrect use of argumentum ad verecundium.

    Although her case is ultimately doomed as choclate and cookies just dont work for me.

  4. Yes, I realize if I were a real expert in chocolate, that Olivia would have a case, but as it is, I only really like it and thus she committed a second logical fallacy with the use of argumentum ad verecundium.

    As far as religion goes many great logical arguments can be made to support the truth of Christianity, so, not really like a box of chocolates. Besides, I bet a master chocolatier would disagree that the flavor and quality of chocolates are subjective.

  5. that choclatier exists and they invented the butterfinger. mmmmm buttery nuget and choclate.

  6. I prefer white chocolate over milk chocolate but I'll run like a mad woman to dark chocolate any day. Love the stuff. :)