"I've read about _________ for 10 years."

"I've [informally] studied _________ for the past 15 years."

I hear these statements from certain people (e.g., zealots and bigots). What is a name for them if not supported? They may know certain argot. Although, they usually have a superficial understanding merely to support their ideology.


2 Answers 2


Thank you Conifold for mentioning this in the comments.

Appeal to self-authority (self-expertise)


Self-superiority bias


Here's the backstory. Occasionally, I've heard people try to appeal to a great many books they've read on the matter at an argument. For instance, this anti-evolution zealot professed this. When I examined which books, they unveiled a list of texts (mostly without credible authors) which only fit their preconceived beliefs.

Recently, there has been a different but exceptionally irritating person. It was clear they didn't know what they were talking about related to ethics. But I try to keep and open mind, give them the benefit of the doubt. At first glance they seem to fit, 'Jack of all trades, master of none' with areas of knowledge.

So when the voice chat room subject changed to biology or evolutionary biology, they also professed to be well self-educated on that matter too. I do not know about this subject. However, they fit a pattern; they use very slimy methods to appear knowledgeable on whatever topic comes up:

  1. "I've studied this for the past 15 years." (I.e., Google.)

This would be fine with me. Although, I've noticed they use this statement to try to weasel their way into a position of credibility for any subject that comes up. When someone entered the room who actually had a wide breath of knowledge related to evolution, they simply shut their nonsense down.

  1. Describes very specific subject matter with technical language, even though it doesn't relate to the topic at hand.

For this is simple: non sequitur.


A fallacy is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning, or "wrong moves" in the construction of an argument. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy

In order for a fallacy to have occurred the assertion must depend on this faulty reasoning. Simply feigning more expertise than one has is not itself any kind of fallacy.

Within deductive inference
When an argument rests upon any appeal to an authority this is an error, even when the appeal is made to a qualified expert. In this case whether or not they feign more expertise than they have is totally moot. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Appeal-to-Authority

Within inductive inference
One is allowed to appeal to the authority of a qualified expert. When one's argument rests upon an appeal to an unqualified expert (one's own feigned expertise?) this is an error. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/logicalfallacies/Appeal-to-False-Authority

It is only when the argument depends upon this feigned expertise that an error has been made.

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