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

 1,160 Total Answer Attempts   44%
 512 Correctly Popped Fallacies
 648 Incorrectly Un/Popped
posted by Bamacat     
( Random Image )

Most Common Responses

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

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