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

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Statement #o37 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.
My fellow Americans...there has been some talk that the government is overstepping its bounds by allowing police to enter people's homes without the warrants traditionally required by the Constitution. However, these are dangerous times and dangerous times require appropriate actions. I have in my office thousands of letters from people who let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they heartily endorse the war against terrorism in
these United States. Because of this overwhelming approval, it is evident that the police are doing the right thing.
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

 1,251 Total Answer Attempts   55%
 688 Correctly Popped Fallacies
 563 Incorrectly Un/Popped
( Random Image )

Most Common Responses

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

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* Fallacious statements are usually paired with a random image of a person who never spoke those words.
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