The bandwagon fallacy, also known as the appeal to popularity or argumentum ad populum, is a logical fallacy that argues something is right, good, or desirable because it’s popular or many people believe in or do it.
The fallacy plays on the human desire to belong and to conform. Just because a belief or action is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct or beneficial. This fallacy overlooks the possibility that many people may be ill-informed, biased, or have ulterior motives. It fails to address the merit of the claim or action on its own terms.
Consider the following argument: “The majority of people in our town believe that climate change is a hoax. Therefore, climate change must not be real.”
In this example, the argument is asserting that because the majority of people in a specific area hold a particular belief (climate change is a hoax), that belief must be true. It ignores the extensive scientific evidence supporting climate change and doesn’t offer any counter-evidence. Instead, it relies solely on the popularity of a belief to establish its validity, which is a clear example of the bandwagon fallacy.