Re: maize in Europe and India: a twisted tale

Yuri Kuchinsky (
29 Dec 1996 07:17:49 GMT

Peter van Rossum ( wrote:

: Now while Dr. Sauer gives lots of incredibly detailed and meticulous
: analysis of maize (stuff only a few experts really understand), he does
: say this of maize as well:


: Well you can claim that those early references are to maize but the
: eminent plant geographer Jonathan Sauer clearly prefers the interpretation
: that they are of grain sorghum. And I trust Jonathan Sauer ...

Well, Peter, no sooner I corrected one error of logic on your part than,
lo and behold, another one is coming up. But never fear, we have
resources for all occasions. So here's some more help to fill in the gaps
in your education.







While sometimes it may be appropriate to cite an authority
support a point, often it is not. In particular, an
appeal to
authority is inappropriate if:
(i) the person is not qualified to have an expert
opinion on the subject,
(ii) experts in the field disagree on this issue.

[Please note the above, Peter...]

(iii) the authority was making a joke, drunk, or
otherwise not being serious

A variation of the fallacious appeal to authority is
hearsay. An
argument from hearsay is an argument which depends on
second or third hand sources.


(i) Noted psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane recommends that
you buy the EZ-Rest Hot Tub.
(ii) Economist John Kenneth Galbraith argues that a
money policy s the best cure for a recession. (Although
Galbraith is an expert, not all economists agree on
(iii) We are headed for nuclear war. Last week Ronald
Reagan remarked that we begin bombing Russia in five
minutes. (Of course, he said it as a joke during a
microphone test.)
(iv) My friend heard on the news the other day that
will declare war on Serbia. (This is a case of hearsay;
fact, the reporter said that Canada would not declare
(v) The Ottawa Citizen reported that sales were up 5.9
percent this year. (This is hearsay; we are not n a
position to
check the Citizen's sources.)


Show that either (i) the person cited is not an authority
in the
field, or that (ii) there is general disagreement among
experts in the field on this point.

[And this will be my reply to you, Peter...]


Cedarblom and Paulsen: 155, Copi and Cohen: 95, Davis: 69

=O= Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto =O=
--- a webpage like any other... ---

We should always be disposed to believe that that which
appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the
Church so decides === St. Ignatius of Loyola