Appeal to accomplishment:

Definition Example
When an claim is deemed true based on the accomplishments of its sponsor. Isaac Newton had an immense impact on science, so there must have been some value in his later work in alchemy.
  Notes
Arguments are independent of the source. Intelligent people can have poor arguments, and unintelligent can produce strong arguments. Though it is human nature to over-emphasize the virtues or vices of the voice behind the argument, neither shoot nor celebrate the messenger. Worthy arguments stand on their own.

Case Study One

The use of celebrities to sell products is based on this fallacy. The public grants a spokesperson with highly-visible accomplishments high credibility, even when endorsing products and ideas unrelated to their accomplishments.


Case Study Two

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the brilliant creator of the very logical Sherlock Holmes series, promoted belief in fairies.


Case Study Three

Several movie and television stars were, not long ago, influential in persuading thousands of parents to stop vaccinating their children, leading to several measles outbreaks.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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