(Fill In Celebrity Name) Believes in …, Therefore I Should As Well

I’d like to start off with an admission of guilt. I’m just as guilty of this as others. I have used this concept myself (referring to Celebrity Atheists for example) in the past, and I’m sure I’ll do it again in the future.

It’s such an easy fallacy to fall into. Somebody famous says something, believes something, or supports something, and of course it must be the correct belief.
Oprah recommends a book, millions buy it.
Bono support some cause, millions donate to it.
Sean Penn supports a political candidate, millions support them.
George Foreman sells some cheap indoor grill, millions buy them.

I would like to add one small caveat. This does not apply when the celebrity in question is speaking on an area where they have proven expertise.
If Robert DeNiro says somebody is a damn good actor, odds are that person is a damn good actor…
If Neil deGrasse Tyson says Pluto has more in common with the icey bodies in the outer solar system than it does with the planets, then it’s a safe bet that Pluto should be counted along side the icey bodies and not Earth, Jupiter, etc…
If Whitney Houston says somebody has a great singing voice, that person almost certainly has a great singing voice…
If Snoop says a bag contains some chronic weed, it’s almost certain that whoever smokes it is getting high as hell…

So what makes us flock to and listen to those who have no more insight and no better judgement than ourselves?

Why is it that people will dismiss the medical community, but listen to somebody like Jenny McCarthy about the health, and potentially the life, of their children?
Why would people listen to Kirk Cameron, but reject over 99.5% of accredited scientists?
When Joe Rogan questions the moon landings, why does some group of people listen to him over Neil fucking Armstrong who was there?

What makes some people respect the opinion of celebrities on subjects they know nothing about; and at the same time reject that consensus of opinion from experts on that subject?

And what will it take to stop us from doing this?

About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
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