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Therefore you should take lots of Vitamin C for your cold. Here is an amusing appeal to authority: A fellow wanted to take advantage of an advertised special at a fast food place--a hamburger, fries and large drink for .50.But instead of a large drink he decided to get a small drink.He reproved me afterwards, and said that I was lazy. Every time he came into the room after that, I began to lecture to the pupils, and he thought I was a good teacher: Personally I do not think I was teaching so successfully [Middle Works (Southern Illinois Press, 1983), 8f].Clearly, the principal equates lecturing and teaching, thus failing to notice other forms of instruction.Like denying the antecedent, affirming the consequent is a formal fallacy. It has the following pattern: if p then q, q, therefore p.Any argument that fits this pattern is invalid, that is, even if the premises are true, the conclusion that follows from these premises may not be true.For instance, in "What the Doctor Ordered" the nurse could have accepted the explanation that the doctor was "weaning" the patient from the respirator but, based on her knowledge of medical procedures, she figured out that the prescribed procedure would result in the patient's death.
The philosopher John Dewey once passed on this story that he had heard from a teacher about a principal's failure to make this distinction: As a high school teacher in algebra I had what I thought was an unusually successful recitation, because the pupils were doing all the work. The principal came in and did not see me doing anything.So he did, noticing, to his dismay, that the counterman dropped the small drink in the trash before giving him a large one.When he returned to the cashier he commented that this made no sense. She just pointed to the computerized cash register and said, "So how come that's what it says here?The relevant rule that it violates is: One may rely, to a greater or lesser extent, on the information or advice provided by someone who is truthful and knowledgeable about the issue in question.Linus Pauling, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in chemistry, advocated the use of megadoses of Vitamin C for controlling the common cold. Even experts in a particular field do not ask us to accept a claim on their authority alone; they cite studies that show causation.
The relevant rule that it violates is: Claims should be based on evidence and reasoning.