Logical  Fallacy: a error in reasoning
  (adj)     (noun)

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Statement #97 Discussion

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Below is the statement as it appears with the fallacy marked as correct. You can see the totals of most frequent responses to this statement. And after reading the any discussion going on below, you can select your choice(s) for the correct answer. For now, whoever posts each statement can update corrections.
Cat: Who will you vote for president of the United States in the next election? Dog: I can't decide between the Republican or the Democrat because I don't like either of them. Cat: Then why not vote for a third party candidate? Dog: I wouldn't do that, they don't have any chance of winning.
Appeal to Popularity
Ad Populum

Category: Fallacies of Relevance (Red Herrings)

The Appeal to Popularity has the following form:

  1. Most people approve of X (have favorable emotions towards X).
  2. Therefore X is true.
The basic idea is that a claim is accepted as being true simply because most people are favorably inclined towards the claim. More formally, the fact that most people have favorable emotions associated with the claim is substituted in place of actual evidence for the claim. A person falls prey to this fallacy if he accepts a claim as being true simply because most other people approve of the claim.

It is clearly fallacious to accept the approval of the majority as evidence for a claim. For example, suppose that a skilled speaker managed to get most people to absolutely love the claim that 1+1=3. It would still not be rational to accept this claim simply because most people approved of it. After all, mere approval is no substitute for a mathematical proof. At one time people approved of claims such as "the world is flat", "humans cannot survive at speeds greater than 25 miles per hour", "the sun revolves around the earth" but all these claims turned out to be false.

This sort of "reasoning" is quite common and can be quite an effective persuasive device. Since most humans tend to conform with the views of the majority, convincing a person that the majority approves of a claim is often an effective way to get him to accept it. Advertisers often use this tactic when they attempt to sell products by claiming that everyone uses and loves their products. In such cases they hope that people will accept the (purported) approval of others as a good reason to buy the product.

This fallacy is vaguely similar to such fallacies as Appeal to Belief and Appeal to Common Practice. However, in the case of an Ad Populum the appeal is to the fact that most people approve of a claim. In the case of an Appeal to Belief, the appeal is to the fact that most people believe a claim. In the case of an Appeal to Common Practice, the appeal is to the fact that many people take the action in question.

This fallacy is closely related to the Appeal to Emotion fallacy, as discussed in the entry for that fallacy.

Click For Fallacy Description

 1,003 Total Answer Attempts   44%
 442 Correctly Popped Fallacies
 561 Incorrectly Un/Popped
posted by Bamacat     
( Random Image )

Most Common Responses

442 - Appeal to Popularity
38 - Appeal to Common Practice
38 - Appeal to the Consequences of a Belief
37 - False Dilemma
31 - Middle Ground
26 - Gambler's Fallacy
26 - Biased Generalization
26 - Fallacy of Division
24 - Appeal to Belief
22 - Confusing Cause and Effect
21 - Relativist Fallacy
20 - Appeal to Tradition
19 - Fallacy of Composition
18 - Red Herring
17 - Circumstantial Ad Hominem
16 - Ignoring a Common Cause
15 - Poisoning the Well
15 - Hasty Generalization
14 - Genetic Fallacy
14 - Burden of Proof
13 - Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
12 - Begging the Question
12 - Peer Pressure
11 - Misleading Vividness
10 - Ad Hominem
9 - Special Pleading
9 - Slippery Slope
7 - Appeal to Fear
7 - Appeal to Emotion
6 - Post Hoc
5 - Appeal to Ridicule
5 - Appeal to Spite
4 - Appeal to Novelty
4 - Guilt by Association
4 - Appeal to Authority
3 - Personal Attack
2 - Appeal to Pity
1 - Appeal to Flattery

Likes for Correct Answers

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