Thursday, November 12, 2009

Argumentum ad Verecundiam

Say that three times fast. I thought of this while I was posting yesterday's Blog. but forgot to bring it up. Basically argumentum ad verecundiam refers to the argument that a claim must be true because the person(s) who stated it are professionals or authorities in their field.

Using this reasoning, the diet as put forth by the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and American Cancer Society, all of whom promote a low fat/low cholesterol eating style; must be right because they are all authorities in their field. I am sure most people reading this know that the above 3 organizations are dead wrong with the diets they promote. With emphasis on the dead!

We see it all the time in medicine. I was reading this morning about the eight best foods to lose weight, and on that list were berries and oranges.


The report used the medical journal Endocrinology to bolster their claims. The reasoning goes like this; if a respected medical journal said it , then it has to be true. Take yesterday's Blog where I attacked the study about the whole carb/mood connection. Now I don't doubt the researchers didn't believe their results (double negative meant), but the problem is that since that one limited , short-term study was publicized all over the Internet and national TV; people are really, truly going to believe that they should be eating more carbs to be happy.

The bottom line is this; just because a respected member of society, a specialist, or any professional makes a comment or statement, it does not make that statement immediately true.

Always question authority---I know I do:-)

Dr Jim

A special thanks goes out to for enlightening me on the existence and meaning of argumentum ad verecundiam.


  1. Hi Dr. Jim.

    Thanks for the shout out! I came across you via Jimmy Moore's first interview, got your book, and have been very enthusiastic about your advocacy.

    I am particularly interested in your fine work because of your strong biology and metabolism background based on original textbooks. This sets you apart.

    I look forward to continuing to steer my readers to your efforts.

  2. Hi Richard!

    Thanks so much for your support! I'm glad you enjoyed my book and yes, it is rough around the edges:-) No traditional publisher wanted to touch it as I refused to change my title. As a reult, I had friends and family edit it, and, well, you know the end result of that:-)

    You're correct in surmising I have a strong biology/metabolism background. I received my formal training in nutritional biochemistry and molecular cell biology at Cornell University.I sleep with my bichemistry textbooks. The medical profession is not going to know what hit them when I'm done with them.

    This is an all out war as the victims in this tragedy are the laypersons who continue to listen and believe the medical establishment. The end result of their trust in the medical profession---their usually slow and agonizing death, while pouring money into the pharmaceutical companies so they can put more gas in their Leer jets.

    It has to stop, and it will be people like yourself who will be the motivating force. Me, well, let's just say that the medical profession should be ready for an all out war with me as the General for the people who understand the correct way to eat.

    Keep up the great work!

    Dr Jim

  3. "Basically argumentum ad verecundiam refers to the argument that a claim must be true because the person(s) who stated it are professionals or authorities in their field."

    I think I would re-phrase that:
    "A claim must be true because the person(s) who stated it are opinionated and biased, and they found a few other folks who agreed with them, so they set up an association to validate their biases and demonize everybody who doesn't agree."

    So they set up a cliquish club. Big deal!