Wining Discussions – The Bandwagon Fallacy (Effective Pirating)
Logical fallacies are techniques that people use to make an argument appear convincing even when it is wrong. Learning how to identify and refute logical fallacies is one of the best ways to win in a discussion. Catching an opponent committing a fallacy will force him to retract his error or he will appear foolish or manipulative to his audience. There is a dark side to this. Once you learn to identify logical fallacies you will also be able to use it. Do not deliberately use them against fellow Pirates; it is extreme bad manners and you will most probably be caught out.
The Logical Fallacy – Jumping on the bandwagon
This fallacy is arguing that something is true because it is both popular and fashionable. This is usually applicable to new ideas that suddenly appear and go viral. The fallacy has many names and some of you might recognize it as:
- Appeal to Popularity
- Argument by Consensus
- Argumentum ad Populum
- Authority of the Many
Pirates are strong advocates of democracy and it is easy to fall into the trap that the opinion of the majority must be right. This is not always the case. To avoid this fallacy it is wise to test policies and decisions against the Core Pirate Values as well as Human Rights whilst keeping a sceptical mindset.
Most people missunderstand the principle of the “wisdom of the crowd.” It has been shown that many people, acting independently, can often acurately estimate something like the number of beans in a glass jar. This is erroneously applied to groups that are in communication with each other such as the stock-market or a liquid feedback community. The fact that individuals in these groups communicate with each other means they are prone to the bandwagon fallacy.
You can read more about the bandwagon logical fallacy in a wikipedia post and logical fallacies in general in this wikipedia article.
Remember that just because someone commits a logical fallacy it does not mean their argument is necessarily incorrect. If you have the time and resources then use the principles of scepticism to test their reasoning objectively.
This article is a part of a series called Effective Pirating:
Winning Discussions: The Fallacy Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 09/01/15
Winning Discussions: The Gambler’s Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 28/12/14
Winning Discussions: argumentum ad ignorantiam (Effective Pirating) 21/11/14
Winning Discussions: post hoc, ergo propter hoc (Effective Pirating) 13/11/14
Winning Discussions: Ad Hominem (Effective Pirating) 23/10/14
Winning Discussions: Appeal to Fear (Effective Pirating) 21/10/14
Winning Discussions: Begging the Question (Effective Pirating) 17/8/14
Winning Discussions – The Bandwagon Fallacy (Effective Pirating) 11/8/14
Effective Pirating: Winning Discussions – Tu Quoque 24/7/14
Effective Pirating: Winning Discussions – The Straw Man 17/7/14
Effective Pirating: Choose your Opponents Carefully 7/7/14
Featured image: CC BY-NC Matt Hamm