Appeal to authority:

Definition Example
When a claim is deemed true because of the position, authority or esteem of the person asserting it. My sociology professor says globalization has had a net negative effect on humanity, so it is obviously true.
Also known as: ad verecundiam
If an authority gained their status or position due to a track record of success, then we have more warrant to consider their arguments. However, it is their actual arguments that must ultimately be considered. Taking credible authorities at their word is a useful heuristic, but it is a weaker form of evidence that is no real substitute for the actual arguments those authorities make.

[I]t is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.
Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (Book-of-the-Month Club, 1995), p. 527.

Case Study One

If the mayor of your town is in favor of legalizing marijuana, that is, in itself, not an argument in favor of legalizing marijuana.

Case Study Two

If your hitherto reliable doctor recommends a certain type of cold medicine, you are warranted in accepting his recommendation. This does not, however, substitute for doing your own research if you have the time.

Case Study Three

If an excellent actor offers an opinion on medicine or economics, that excellent actor should not be considered any more credible in these domains than any other non-doctor or non-economist.

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

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