Logical Fallacies – Appeal to Popularity

What does “appeal to popularity” (in Latin: Ad Populum) mean?

“Appeal to popularity” is when you make an argument that something is true, false, a particular way, etc. because everyone – “the majority” – thinks the same way. That is not doing real research. Instead that is letting other people do your thinking for you.

Many times, the majority is not correct. How do you know people did not give out misinformation (e.g., fake news, exaggerated scientific findings, etc.), and everyone else jumped on the “band wagon”, automatically believing what they read and repeating the same to others?

Sometimes this means you try it out yourself to verify. Other times it means going to someone you trust (e.g., going to a friend who has 30+ years working on vehicles, to verify information you read about vehicle maintenance), or you may end up using your gut feeling (common sense) to make the decision you think is best.

I have followed the majority before, and later (sometimes years later), found the majority was incorrect in what they believed. If I had done my research, I would have saved myself trouble and worry.

This applies to online comments. Up-votes and down-votes for comments are just people’s opinions on a matter. A comment with a ton of up-votes does not automatically make it correct, nor does a comment with a ton of down-votes automatically make it incorrect. I want to know if the information is factually accurate, regardless of what other people think about a particular comment.

Here is a good example of why everyone saying the same thing does not mean something is true: Cornell University – The Internet and the Spread of False Information

Summary: Facts are not made by consensus. Just because everyone agrees, does not mean it is true. You must always use common sense and verify information you receive.


Posted in General, Logical Fallacies, Society

Logical Fallacies – Straw Man

I have noticed many people on the Internet use logical fallacies in place of sound arguments.

Logical fallacies are arguments that sound good at first, but when thought through, do not really make sense. Some logical fallacies are not really arguments at all, but instead attack the person giving the information, instead of attacking the information itself (e.g., “ad hominem” arguments).

I have decided to start writing small explanations about various logical fallacies. This will help me – and others – to watch out and not make the mistake of using logical fallacies when we write or talk to others.


What exactly is a straw man argument?

Let’s first get a definition of a straw man argument.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “straw man” argument as: a weak or imaginary opposition (such as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted

This logical fallacy is when someone incorrectly states their opponent’s position. This is when someone “puts words in your mouth”. Then the person “defeats” the straw-man argument.

The problem? The person never did “defeat” his opponent to begin with, since the opponent’s position was not the same position as advertised.

For example, Sally says that she does not like working when she is tired. Then Betty tells someone else that Sally said she does not like working, but then Betty continues and says that she thinks Sally is being lazy.

Betty misrepresented Sally’s position, and then “defeated” Sally’s position even though that was not her position to begin with. Sally never said she did not like working at all, only when she was tired.

Summary: Straw-man arguments are nothing more than misrepresenting what someone said to make your argument look valid.  Technically you could consider a straw-man argument a form of lying.


Posted in General, Logical Fallacies, Society

What Exactly Does “better” Mean, and Why You Should Always Give Context

I have noticed many times on the Internet, people will ask if A is better than B. However, they do not give any context of what they consider “better” to be.

Whenever someone asks me if A is better than B, I always ask them, “What exactly do you mean?”. This is so I can help them make an informed decision. Otherwise I am just guessing, and that will not be helpful to anyone.


Here is an example of someone asking if something is better without context.

A guy named Jeremy goes to a cellphone store and asks Greg the salesman, “Which phone is better to use?”.

Jeremy has not explained to Greg what his requirements are. He could be asking “Which phone is cheaper?”, “Which phone is the fastest?”, “Which phone has the most battery life?”, etc. You get the idea. His saying “better” does not give any context to Greg.

Now Greg proceeds to correctly ask Jeremy, “What are your specific requirements?”. Jeremy then responds saying he is looking for a phone that has a large screen and is not too slow. Now Greg has context – instead of just “better” – and he now can properly show Jeremy the phones that will meet his needs.

Now Jeremy leaves the store happy, since he was able to purchase the phone he wanted.


Something to keep in mind. When someone mentions “better”, that is just their opinion. It does not mean anything until you get their context, and even then, you still would have to agree with their reasons why A is better than B.

You can also have someone who does not care either way. In this case, “better” does not factor in for him.

In addition, you may have someone give their opinion that A is better than B. However, if there is ample, reliable evidence to prove that A is instead equal to B (e.g., scientific research done by two independent universities that came to the same conclusion using valid, reliable methods to test), then there is cause to not believe what the person said. It all comes down to using common sense.

Summary: It’s good practice to always add context when asking if A is “better” than B, otherwise you will have people misunderstand what you are asking and may (unintentionally) give you an answer that is not helpful.


Posted in Computers, General, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, Security, Shopping, Society, Software

Coronavirus Guidelines for America (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Guidelines


Posted in General, Society