I was having a discussion with a friend after one too many Gin and Tonics about UK drugs policy.
I recently read "Drugs - Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs" by Professor David Nutt, who was famously sacked by the UK government after claiming that horse riding is more dangerous than taking ecstasy.
Anyway, I was paraphrasing from what I'd read in this book and our conversation went something like this:
Me: "UK drugs policy is not evidence based and according to the evidence we should do X rather than Y."
Him: "What evidence?"
Me: "The evidence about the harms of drugs."
Him: "Yes what evidence is that?"
This carried on for a while until I finally said:
Me: "Well, I don't know the original papers and haven't read them but the guy who wrote the book knows the evidence and these are his recommendations."
His final response was, "Well then", implying that because I didn't know the original research literature my argument was invalid.
What logical fallacy has he committed here? I understand I am almost committing the appeal to authority fallacy but at some point a scientific consensus builds based on the available evidence and those of us who are non-experts need to trust someone to synthesise and present that evidence accurately, which is what I've done. I've taken a look at the following image and similar sites but nothing seems to fit the bill.