Re: Argumentum ad populum
- Hello Etznab,
Apparently our Country's founding fathers
didn't ascribe to this form of logic while
creating our Constitution where individual
rights are as important as those of the majority.
Unfortunately, there are always those who
have hidden agendas. These are the scammers
who "appeal to the [weak minded] people"
and attempt to undermine the social progress
Look at how many people once (even still)
thought that the earth was flat or that the
sun circled the earth and that the earth was
the center of the universe. Just because the
majority of idiots said it was so didn't make
In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin: "appeal to the people") is a
fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all
people believe it; it alleges: "If many believe so, it is so."
This type of argument is known by several names,including appeal to the
masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, appeal to the people, argument
by consensus, authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin by the
names argumentum ad populum ("appeal to the people"), argumentum ad numerum
("appeal to the number"), and consensus gentium ("agreement of the clans"). It
is also the basis of a number of social phenomena, including communal
reinforcement and the bandwagon effect, the spreading of various religious
beliefs, and of the Chinese proverb "three men make a tiger".
The argumentum ad populum is a red herring and genetic fallacy. It appeals on
probabilistic terms; given that 75% of a population answer A to a question where
the answer is unknown, the argument states that it is reasonable to assume that
the answer is indeed A. In cases where the answer can be known but is not known
by a questioned entity, the appeal to majority provides a possible answer with a
relatively high probability of correctness.
This fallacy is similar in structure to certain other fallacies that involve a
confusion between the justification of a belief and its widespread acceptance by
a given group of people. When an argument uses the appeal to the beliefs of a
group of supposed experts,
it takes on the form of an appeal to authority; if the appeal is to the beliefs
of a group of respected elders or the members of one's community over a long
period of time, then it takes on the form of an appeal to tradition.
One who commits this fallacy may assume that individuals commonly analyze and
edit their beliefs and behaviors. This is often not the case (see conformity).
To con-form or not to con-form? That is the question, IMO. To the beliefs of
others. Including the "church".