The truth of a claim is established only on the basis of its popularity and familiarity. This is the fallacy committed by many commercials. Surely you have heard of commercials implying that we should buy a certain product because it has made to the top of a sales rank, or because the brand is the city’s “favorite”.
Statistics can commit this fallacy if a survey asks people what they think of a certain subject and they have no good knowledge for giving a valid opinion. Say we give a survey to try and prove who is a better candidate for president, but we only ask California (Joke don’t get offended) who they think is the better candidate for president and they only this survey use this as their evidence. Then obviously that would be appeal to popularity.
This would be a fallacy that commits intellectual suicide and intellectual laziness. You don’t even think for yourself and just go with what other people say. If everyone was believing the Earth was flat because of popular vote, then you would be illogical to believe that because we have the evidence against the Earth being flat. Again you would be committing the appeal to popularity fallacy.
Consent of a group doesn’t determine the truth of a certain claim at all. Now a group of people that is trained in the study of that claim consent would help make a claim more plausibly true. Now, if they are just arguing just based on their degrees or reasons irreverent to the claim then they would be using appeal to authority and a bunch of red herrings. What determines truth of a claim is evidence and facts backing it up the claim.
Atheists and theists commit this fallacy a lot, but usually every layman commits this fallacy. Theists would probably use this by saying: “Everyone else believes in God so why don’t you?” Atheists would commit this by saying you only believe in God because everyone else in your
environment believes in God. They would also be committing the genetic fallacy along with
appeal to popularity. These are two common examples that theists and atheists use the appeal to popularity fallacy.
There are four common types of appeal to popularity:
Bandwagon Argument: Everyone is doing this, so you should. Counter example: If everyone was jumping off a bridge would you.
Appeal to Vanity: Argument links love, admiration, or approval of the crowd with some famous figure who is loved, admired, or approved of.
Appeal to Snobbery: Argument appeals to smaller group that is supposed to be superior in some way- more wealthy, more powerful, more culturally refined, more intelligent, and so on.
Appeal to Tradition: Argument appeals to the fact of something has become a tradition as grounds for conclusion.
Now, this fallacy is used in common debate among layman, but usually will not be found among professional philosophers. I encourage you to get familiar with these argument forms because you will encounter them in many of your conversations. Finally, study fallacies so you will be able spot fallacious arguments.
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