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? asked in Science & MathematicsMedicine · 2 months ago

Why if I ask a doctor why we have to wear masks he uses the "argument from authority" ?

The argument from authority is when you say "an important person said so, so it's true", which is the same argument that sometimes religious people use "God said so, so it's true".

I would expect much more than a naive argument from authority from someone who claims its "truths" are backed by scientific demonstrations. 

I would expect an argument from authority from a pastor or a priest, not from a doctor. 

Also calling "conspiracy theorists" who doesn't think wearing mask is useful, is an argument against the person, that doesn't explain anything but just discredits the person who is labeled so. 

"You are a crazy conspiracy theorist so your argument is not even to take into consideration". 

But where are the scientific proofs that wearing masks is useful? 

I warn you that if you will use an argument from authority or an argument against the person you will be blocked, and if you insult you will be reported. 

8 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    The argumentum ad verecundiam fallacy is more specifically an appeal to insufficient authority, for instance if one argued that we don't need to wear masks because Donald Trump said so. Trump has no expertise on science and medicine, so appealing to his authority on medical matters is fallacious reasoning. However, appealing to the body of scientific research and studies is not fallacious because it is based on an authority that has credibility on the topic.

    The reasoning behind wearing masks is simple enough though. We wear masks in order to protect other people from any diseases we have that may be spread by respiratory droplets. It is the same reason surgeons wear masks so that they do not infect their patients. And the reason masks are so important for CoViD is that it has a significant occurrence of asymptomatic cases, which means people who aren't even sick can have it and spread it without ever knowing it. So we wear masks in order to not spread CoViD (and other respiratory diseases) to other people, and in turn expect that they will return the courtesy and wear a mask so that they do not infect us.

    The common misconception is that people assume they are wearing the mask to protect themselves, thus why you get people saying things like "I don't care if I get it, I'll survive." Unless you have an N95 mask it isn't being used to protect you from contracting the diseases, the standard paper surgical masks and cloth masks all the stores carry are only meant to help reduce the spread of your own respiratory droplets in order to limit your ability to spread any potential diseases you may have so that you aren't infecting other people.

  • 1 month ago

    Because he doesn't have time to answer stupid questions over and over again, and expects you to know at least some basic facts. When he gives you an "argument from authority", these "authorities" are not like some supernatural being who can't be questioned because he doesn't exist in this universe. He's giving you the names of real-life experts who you can research and lookup on your own. Maybe they have something written in an article or website, which answers your questions directly.

  • 2 months ago

    Do you demand a detailed explanation of every treatment or medication that he prescribes for an ailment or injury ?

    Doctors are there to treat patients, not waste their time trying to convince them that it is for their own good.  If you do not want the treatment you are perfectly entitled to reject it.  If you don't like it, their is plenty of information publicly available to do your own research.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    The "authority" is the medical community.  If you don't think its true, then do your own research or don't wear a mask.

    "I would expect much more than a naive argument from authority from someone who claims its "truths" are backed by scientific demonstrations." - so all the scientific tests and observations that were done for the past year don't count because you were not present?

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  • Dixon
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    You should try something called "Google" it is way of finding things on the internet when you don't know where they are. For example, if you go to and type in "scientific papers mask wearing", you get all sorts of hypertext links to peer reviewed journals such as Nature and The Lancet.

    There is nothing wrong with argument from authority, especially when that authority is on the basis of expert knowledge. The point is tho, it isn't a logical argument. And typically when  you go to a doctor you want an opinion based on their knowledge, judgement and experience because you can't logically prove anything in medicine, you can only judge the evidence. So your best best is to trust their authority.

  • 2 months ago

    I am not sure what you arguing about considering that medical professionals have a lower incidence than the population at large in actual viral exposure to the virus. The personal protective equipment (PPE) works under medical conditions. 

    That is evidence based as all medical recommendation are rather than simply having them be experience based. 

    As to the recommendations for the general public the CDC issued the bases for their recommendations on the use of the public face masks.

    The recommendations are not authoritative (expert) based. They are evidence based and they cite the evidence on that link which is the strongest proof to base recommendations on.

    You might not agree with the evidence or the recommendation but you don't the right to create your own facts invalidating the recommendations based on your own authority. You are substituting evidence base recommendations to your own authority argument because you don't agree with it. You aren't an expert so don't give me any authority argument against wearing masks. 

  • Jim
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
  • 2 months ago

    so your question is: where are the scientific proofs that wearing masks is useful?

    to name a few, look at New Zealand, South Korea, where cases are numbered in the dozens, because mask wearing and social distancing is widely practiced. As opposed to the US where cases are in the tens of  millions.

    There have also been many test measuring the travel of droplets carrying the virus through various masks. And others measuring how far the droplets travel thru the air.

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