Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam) is a logical fallacy wherein a statement or conclusion is regarded as truthful simply because it originates or comes from a recognized authority figure (or “expert”).
Regularly, the recognized “learned” individuals, like Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Mechanics and such are regarded as experts simply because systems have been established recognizing them as such (like degrees, or titles, or certifications and such).
Scholasticism was a medieval school of philosophy that employed a method of philosophical analysis based upon a Latin Catholic theistic curriculum which dominated teaching in the medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700.
Scholasticism was not so much a philosophy or a theology as a method of teaching and training.
As a program, scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers, to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy.
The terms “scholastic” and “scholasticism” derive from the Latin word scholasticus, the Latinized form of the Greek σχολαστικός (scholastikos), an adjective derived from σχολή (scholē), “school”. Scholasticus means “of or pertaining to schools”. The “scholastics” were, roughly, “schoolmen”.
As such, Scholasticism was not so much an education on the development and uses of higher-order cognitive skills as it was merely a way of training people how to think (i.e. training people to engage in systematic methods designed to lead them to predetermined conclusions, not in learning to question those predetermined conclusions by relying on evidence, or logic, or reasoning skills to validly refute them. For example, rather than teaching people how to use logic & reason to determine what ethics are, training them instead to justify certain actions as ethical, even when true ethics are absent from those actions).
It’s a system of training in merely how to conduct inquiry, not to question that conduct.
It forces people to think and act in certain ways, via certain systematic procedures, despite those systematic procedures perhaps being erroneous at their cores.
It is, as the saying goes, placing the cart before the horse (an analogy for doing things in the wrong order).
A horse usually pulls a cart, rather than a cart pulling a horse.
Scholasticism was the procedure of forming a conclusion first, then developing an argument that solely fits that conclusive narrative.
Rather than objectively seeking information and evidence to come to a logical conclusion.
The Scholastic period is often viewed as the origins of the degree and certification based systems of recognition of knowledge and expertise.
The University of Salerno, offered a degree in medicine by 1050.
The University of Bologna was the first to offer a degree in Roman law.
The University of Paris was the first to offer all four degrees – arts, theology, medicine, and law.
These first universities offered a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts, and Doctorate degrees. To get a BA, students had to complete four years of trivuum: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. The MA required studies in the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. The MA degree allowed one to teach. Doctorate degrees were available only in theology, medicine, and law.
It can be witnessed, for example, in the evolution of the U.S. legal system.
Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys, rather than seeking absolute truths & facts to come to conclusions regarding the guilt or innocence of an individual, each merely craft cases that suit their predetermined conclusions (either guilty or innocent), ignoring those facts that refute those predetermined conclusions.
I have worked amongst a wide variety of individuals in various occupations, in a wide variety of industries and disciplines.
I have seen, for example, professionally-certified Mechanics that lacked the comprehensive troubleshooting skills to accurately diagnose mechanical problems and/or failures.
I have seen, for example, Doctors and other healthcare “professionals” that lack the biochemical, nutritional, microbiotic (and other forms of related knowledge) to properly diagnose illness and/or treat disease.
I have seen, for example, Prosecutors, Judges and Lawyers that fail to properly analyze relevant evidence to make more factual determinations (often resorting to biases & emotions, rather than empirical, evidence-based facts).
I have seen, for example, Politicians that rely on highly-skewed data provided by Lobbyists, rather than more broad and/or objective data.
The “covid”/”cornoavirus” narrative is one case in point that immediately comes to mind.
I’ve seen way too much conflicting “expert” opinions coming from people largely reliant on bias and/or insufficient evidence.
This is coming from both “covid” believers and “covid” deniers alike.
In fact, of all the info & data I’ve read on the topic (from hundreds of sources), only one or two of those sources have presented truly objective data.
Most all the “experts” have preformed conclusions, and are then gathering, using & relying solely on the info & data that supports those preformed conclusions.
Again, the truth is the real casualty in this ongoing narrative and dispute.
People are being recognized as “experts” simply because they engage in those systematic processes of training (often schools), and posses a degree and/or certification from the institutions that engage in that training.
If a person simply tests well, without actually accumulating true & comprehensive knowledge, they are determined and officially recognized as an “expert”.
Often, simply because a person can memorize and recite words, ideas, concepts and such that they’ve been told, they are considered “learned”, often despite their inabilities to more deeply & thorough analyze those words, ideas, concepts and such.
A Mechanic, rather than properly troubleshooting a specific failing mechanical part in a system, can simply replace all the parts in that system.
They think they are “experts” because the trouble has likely disappeared, but they’ve failed to truly identify the specific source of the cause of the failures.
Example 1 – a faulty tire that is causing irregular wear in the tread pattern may be causing shimmy problems in an automobile, and a poor Mechanic may, in not recognizing that faulty tire, replace the entire front-end suspension of that auto, including the tires, consider it a job well-done if that shimmy problem goes away. Yet that Mechanic has failed to identify the true source of the cause of that problem, that faulty tire.
Example 2 – A Doctor may prescribe pharmaceuticals to block the symptoms of a health problem (like a Diuretics for high blood pressure – that remove excess water and sodium from a body, so there’s less fluid flowing through veins and arteries. This reduces pressure on the walls of blood vessels), but likely fail to understand the specific causes of that excess water and/or sodium (which can result from numerous causes).
The Doctor relieves symptoms, but fails to relieve the underlying causes.
There are numerous studies showing how the human microbiome affects everything from the mental psychology to physiological health of living things.
The microorganisms interact & react in ways that affect chemical balances, hormones, and other functions and factors.
And yet neither the medical nor scientific communities have begun to understand the microbiome, nor the effects it has on behaviors, thoughts, health, illnesses and such.
But they still largely consider themselves experts on the functions of the human body, and on their diagnoses, treatments and prescriptions.
They are experts in presumption only.
At best they maintain only a very mall fragment of knowledge.
But most people tend to take their words and opinions as gospel.
Example 3 – An organic Farmer may simply apply animal manures in place of synthetic fertilizers on their fields, but fail to recognize the microbiotic activity necessary for truly healthy soils & crops, and/or fail to posses knowledge of the allelochemicals and secondary-metabolites necessary for the natural sustainability of the soil biota, and greater production of vitamins, flavonoids, minerals, natural antibiotics, and such.
They are often told that natural amendments are better than synthetic amendments, but often likely don’t know why (and subsequently often engage in similarly damaging practices, without being aware of the damage they’re causing).
In each case/example these are people doing simply as they’ve been told to do, without gaining deeper knowledge, nor true expertise in their respective fields.
So why would they be considered experts?
Going back to the first part of this essay, as a program, scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers, to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy.
Thus that medieval Scholasticism was more about aligning views, about leading students and scholars to accepting a certain conclusion.
Rather than teaching thought, it taught conformity.
I charge the same is widely occurring today, in what I see as the Neo-Scholastic movement.
Schools and institutions are more about teaching tradition that in teaching cognitive abilities.
Schooling is a preparation for the working world of the “learned”.
With the massive consolidation of corporations (the number of publicly-held companies has decreased by more than half since just the mid-1980’s), and the massive concentrations of wealth we’re seeing in contemporary times, students are mainly being prepped to conform with the standards set forth by those mega-corporations, which are largely owned by the same Cartel of Elite.
Again, this can be seen with the recent events of the “covid”/”coronavirus” narrative.
There are reports that many Doctors and healthcare workers that are refusing to buy into the “covid”/”coronavirus” narrative are being fired.
Thus experts are only still “experts” when they promulgate official conventional narratives.
There is a definite system of quid pro quo in this world of scholasticism.
Participants (those educated in degree-based, professional or certified fields) adhere to officially promulgated systems, and they are rewarded for that adherence, not just with titles, but with prestige, power (often Supervisory roles), and money.
In other words, they help the establishment system, and that establishment system in turn helps them.
It’s rare, for example, for a Doctor to rail against the medical industry.
Similarly, it rare for Attorneys to rail against the legal industry.
These supposed “experts” are also given systematic bolstering and constant recognition of that supposed expertise, by both the industries, their peer groups, and often other professional groups.
I have worked in PR and Consulting for decades.
One of my primary functions has been in working to establish that public image for those professionals.
Constantly promoting and presenting them as “experts”, often by highlighting their titles, and ensuring positive public images.
Working in Broadcasting, for example, Journalists, Reporters, Anchors, Writers and such are constantly given promos highlighting their supposed skills and expertise as presenters of facts.
They are built-up to increase public perception of their roles.
Similarly, in medical journals, scientific research articles, etc., Authors of those pieces often rely on these professional, including their titles, as evidence to support certain positions.
Which not only serves to lend credibility to their positions, but similarly serves to lend credibility to the professionals they are sourcing, via that press, recognition & notoriety.
This is a self-serving and self-perpetuating system.
Professionals are presented as “experts” thus they are widely viewed as “experts”, which then continues to present them as “experts”.
It also often instills a false-sense of self-recognition as “experts”.
These professionals are so frequently told they are experts that they naturally believe that designation.
The more a person is presented as an expert, they more both they, the public at-large, and their colleagues begin to believe it.
In my work in PR and Consulting, I’ve worked with many professionals, whom are frequently looked up to, often by underlings, and that stature forces them to assume a growing sense of self-recognition.
For instance, a CEO is expected to have answers, and thus will answer as if they know more than they truly know about a topic or subject, as they have gained over-confidence in their titles and roles.
A basis of the Dunning Kruger effect is in the statement “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”.