Appeal to popularity is when someone tries to validate a statement based on the number of people that support or do not support the statement.
Appeal to Popularity Examples
Appeal to Popularity Example 1
“Look at how many people people believe in God, he obviously must exist”
Just because people believe a thing to exist does not necessarily mean it does. God either exists or it does not. If it doesn’t and 99% of people believed it still wouldn’t exist. If it did exist and only 1% believed it still would exist.
Appeal to Popularity Example 2
“7 in 10 doctors say acupuncture works, therefore it must work”
It doesn’t really matter if 10 in 10 doctors say acupuncture works, if there is no evidence to support the statement we cannot simply trust a majority of opinions. If a lot of doctors say acupuncture works all that really is worthy of our time is further investigation to try and find real evidence. There is not reason to blindly believe.
Appeal to Popularity Example 3
Many people once thought the earth was flat, this certainly didn’t make it so.
Logic Structure of Appeal to Popularity
Premise: Most people believe A
Conclusion: Therefore A must be true
Premise: Most people disagree with B
Conclusion: Therefore B is false
Appeal to Popularity For Religious People
I would like to convince religious people not to use arguments of popularity. I will use variable religions in my next examples to show why religious people would not want to adopt fallacy of the majority structures into their belief systems.
- When Moses (if he existed) first taught Torah no one else was Jewish
- When Yeshua (if he existed) first taught gospel no one was Christian
- When Muhammad (if he existed) taught Islam no one was Muslim
Using the above examples, these religions would have automatically been false if arguments of popularity were in fact valid structures by which to support claims. If you are religious you have to dispense all notions of popularity or belief founded on sheer number of adherents. This also means that forever and into your future you should never take into account if your friends and family are of a certain religion, for this is reasoning by an appeal to popularity fallacy.