A million flies can’t be wrong
An argumentum ad populum, or populist sophism, is a fallacy that replies with an argument relating to people’s opinion instead of rebating the argument itself.
They tend to be used in more or less populist discourses, and in daily arguments too. It is also used in politics and by the media, even though it is not as powerful as the argumentum ad hominem. It gets stronger when it comes with a survey backing the false claim. In spite of everything it is quite subtle, and for ears untrained in reasoning it could go unnoticed.
“It is not just me who says that: everybody does”
“Why would you do that? Because everybody did”
“Most people think as I do”
“Everybody knows this is like that”
To refute it
The very well known sentence about the flies is, without question, quite convincing. Besides, it points the way: it insists on the fact that the popularity of an idea doesn’t necessarily relate to its veracity.
Whenever the source is not referenced, both definitions and examples have been extracted from a translation of Jaime Wilson [email protected] based on Stephen’s Guide to the Logical Fallacies. Copyright 1995-1998 Stephen Downes. Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
These texts have been modified by Miguel A. Lerma and now by us to adapt them -and those taken from Wikipedia- to our format.