Out of millions of people with an advanced degree, we can find someone, somewhere, who believes a crackpot proposition, including flat-Earth. Citing these very few experts to “prove” the crackpot proposition and ignoring the much larger body of experts who disagree is the fallacy of cherry-picking and appeal to authority.
The scientific consensus is determined by the collective position of the community of scientists in a specific field of study, not just by a few individuals.
Such reasoning implicitly assumes that someone must be correct just because they are scientists. However, in doing so, it also implicitly assumes that millions of other scientists are wrong even though they are also scientists. This fallacy cherry-picks people to trust based on personal biases than actual expertise.
The other issue is that science is determined by evidence, not authority. Citing an authority as a logical proof is the fallacy of appeal to authority. The correct way of thinking is to use the consensus of experts to support our position, not as proof of our position. In other words, we use information from experts inductively, not deductively. It is unrealistic to research everything ourselves, and deferring to the consensus of experts is not fallacious.
If 99.99% of millions of scientists who dedicated most of their lives researching tell us Earth is moving around the Sun, then there is a pretty good probability that Earth is, in fact, moving around the Sun. But it is wrong to say Earth is moving around the Sun just because scientists say so. It is a common argument that flat-Earthers and other cranks do to misrepresent our position and discredit us.
- Don’t cherry-pick your experts – The Logic of Science.