Appeal to popularity
An appeal to popularity is very similar to an appeal to emotion in that it targets emotions; The difference being that it does not focus on the listener's emotions, and instead focuses on what the majority of people think or the popular position to take with regards to the claim. The arguer then uses this to try and persuade the listener to change their mind and/or conform.
A second idea comes from the fact that popularity is often equated with quality. Popularity ratings are given for everything from electronics to restaurants to hotels. The idea is that people have tested out a product or service and we can look to them to give an accurate description of what it is like. If, for example, one hotel is more popular than another, we often assume we would have a better stay at the higher rated/more popular hotel. The arguer of appeal to popularity tries to push the same assumptions in regards to religious belief, where the most popular belief must be the best.
- Classic example: Somebody tries to convince their friend to try smoking by asserting that all the cool kids do it.
- Advertisements that make the claim that: Everybody's doing/using/eating [insert product name here].
- "2.1 Billion Christians can't be wrong."
When it comes to the example that someone says "2.1 billion Christians cannot be wrong" it is easy to point out that more people believe Christianity is wrong than believe it is correct. Citing that two-thirds of the world's population is not Christian would, by their logic, suggest that Christianity is incorrect. In other words, "4.7 non-Christians can't be wrong."