Logical Fallacy > Informal Fallacy > Ignoratio Elenchi > Argumentum Ad Populum

Argumentum ad populum (appeal to the people, appeal to popularity) is an argument which concludes that a position must be true because many people believe it is true.

Other Names for Argumentum Ad Populum Fallacy

  • Argumentum Ad Numerum (appeal to the numbers)
  • Consensus Gentium (agreement of the clans)
  • Argument by Consensus
  • Appeal to Popularity
  • Appeal to the Masses
  • Appeal to the Majority
  • Authority of the Many
  • Bandwagon Fallacy

Form of Argumentum Ad Populum Fallacy

Idea X is popular.
Therefore, X is correct.

Argumentum Ad Populum Fallacy Examples

Yesterday I watched this video. It was such an incredible example of argumentum ad populum used in a public policy debate that it prompted me to finally get this long-planned series going.

As I listened to the first fallacious installment from Dr. Richard Denniss, I was banging my head on the monitor, yelling, “Ad populum! Ad populum! Is that all he's got?” (Yes, I do scream latin phrases at my computer when sufficiently frustrated.)

Indeed it was. He addressed global warming itself only in passing, choosing instead to focus on listing all sorts of (mostly unnamed) masses who supposedly agree with him. I admit I felt quite smug when Lord Christopher Monckton concurred.

Date yourself! Remember this commercial? Trident must be good for your teeth because so many (surveyed) dentists say it is!

What examples of argumentum ad populum have you heard?