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Ad Hominem
Posted 9/20/10 , edited 10/8/10
I've noticed that a lot of people in ED use these tactics to prove a point, so I decided to create a thread on it.

But first, let's get into what an Ad Hominem is:

An Ad Hominem is marked by or being an attack on a person’s character rather than the actual argument at hand. Why said remarks maybe true, the fact that they still remain irrelevant to the subject being presented is what makes them objectionable.

For Example:

Person 1: In conclusion, I believe that homosexuality is a choice rather than being biological.
Person 2: Of course you would, after all, you are homophobic.
Person 1: But what dose that have to do with my previous argument?
Person 2: It doesn't matter. Like I said, you're homophobic. It's obvious you'd believe otherwise.


There are also different types of Ad Hominem:

Ad hominem circumstantial


For example:
Of course Chris would say that blacks are the most targeted group in America, after all, he happens to be black.

Ad hominem tu quoqueor

For example: A mother tells her child not to become pregnant until she's financially able to raise a child. Said child points out the fact that her mother became pregnant at an early age with very low income. This dose not change the fact that having a child without any way to support it financially is risky and since the mother has been through said experience, her words are still meaningful.

Guilt by association

For example: The majority of serial killers happen to be white. John is white, therefore John is a serial killer.

Straw Man Argument


For example:

Person 1: I believe blaming an entire group of religious individuals just because of 9/11 is absurd.
Person 2: So are you suggesting that you support terrorism?
Person 1: All I said was I do not condone the mistreatment of someone because of their beliefs.
Person 2: Then you obviously aren't American for justifying the crude acts of these people. You're probably one of them.

The problem with this argument is that Person 1 did not say anything about supporting the endangerment of American citizens, Person 2 has quoted his word's out of context and attempting to break down his statement with facilities and turn it against him, thus giving Person 2 the appearance that he has won the argument.

Furthermore, do you believe Ad Hominems are an immature way to win a debate? Or are they actually necessary?

I believe it's an immature tactic. To me it just shows that the person is unable to think of an intelligent way to win a debate, so instead they try to attack the person's character.
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Posted 9/20/10

LosingOrbit wrote:

I've noticed that a lot of people in ED use these tactics to prove a point, so I decided to create a thread on it.

But first, let's get into what an Ad Hominem is:

An Ad Hominem is marked by or being an attack on a person’s character rather than the actual argument at hand. Why said remarks maybe true, the fact that they still remain irrelevant to the subject being presented is what makes them objectionable.


I believe it's an immature tactic. To me it just shows that the person is unable to think of an intelligent way to win a debate, so instead they try to attack the person's character.


I'm in agreement with you, & tho I'm also troubled with these types of selfish arguments, I've probably been guilty of using them.

Just the other day, while looking up idiom & idiot in the dictionary to see if they share the same root word origin, I came across a phrase unfamiliar to me. I believe it also applies to some of the answers people post :

Ignoratio Elenchi
[ Logic ]
" Fallacy of supposing a point proved or disproved by an argument proving or disproving something not an issue "
(or that which is irrelevant ).
Posted 9/20/10 , edited 9/20/10
Sometimes I found that I've built too strong of an argument because I've taken account for all known possible alternatives, at which point I was honored to be labeled as a nerd by my oppositions.

What else can I say? As soon as my oppositions start the mud-slinging/Ad Hominem, I know I got them cornered. And I'm already in a good mood because of it.

I mean when a young gay mayor is making the city working fabulous, does it matter at all if he's not gonna marry your own daughter? While your own son looks like he's got something more than just admiration in his eyes, when he's sizing him up.
Posted 9/20/10
An immature motive of course. It's not real debating, just someone showing that they have a lethargic state of mind.
Posted 9/20/10
Attacking others because you are losing a debate shows inarguably how you've just lost it. What is the point of further screwing yourself when there is nothing else you can do to win?
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Posted 9/21/10 , edited 9/21/10

LosingOrbit wrote:




Duly noted

I watch for that in my own arguments. I probably won't need to pay special attention to see it in arguments directed at me.
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Posted 9/22/10 , edited 9/22/10

LosingOrbit wrote:

I believe it's an immature tactic. To me it just shows that the person is unable to think of an intelligent way to win a debate, so instead they try to attack the person's character.


I think judging someone based on their lack of knowledge is immature.
If the argument used is ad hominem, you are in a position to debunk 2 falsities in one blow instead of labeling the person immature and allowing them to continue in their blinded truths.

My post is not an attack at one's character, but imagine a kid in class being asked what 2 + 2 is and they answer 5. Calling that kid dumb isn't helping the situation, is it?
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Posted 9/22/10
I wish the question was asked a different way so it wouldn't lead people to either choose immaturity, or necessity. Nevertheless, ad hominominoms (i spelled it wrong because I like how that sounds) are necessary if you're trying to win an argument, but aren't if you're simply trying to be infallible. However, ad hominominoms do indicate a correlation between the argument and the speaker of the argument so they aren't completely useless.

Let's use a conversation to show the necessity of ad hominominoms:

An argument about children is taken place when...
Pedophile: I believe all abandoned children should be taken care by the private sector instead of the state.
Demos: Who cares about your beliefs? You're a pedophile!

Some would say the ad hominominom is necessary although it diverts from the argument at hand beacause they aren't going to take advice from a pedophile on how to take care of children. Others would just say the ad hominominom was a dirty move to refute his claim.
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Posted 9/25/10
I'm increasingly less inclined to care what constitutes good debate around here. Everyone likes to squable and jump on each other with oneliners but try and put out serious, patiently thought out and reasoned response to an honest question and all you hear is silence. or at best, smartass irrelevancies

this forum is a joke.
Posted 9/25/10

papagolfwhiskey wrote:

I'm increasingly less inclined to care what constitutes good debate around here. Everyone likes to squable and jump on each other with oneliners but try and put out serious, patiently thought out and reasoned response to an honest question and all you hear is silence. or at best, smartass irrelevancies

this forum is a joke.




Patiently thought out and reasoned response to an honest question and all you hear is silence. or at best, smartass irrelevancies.


You mean like Lemonii?

I believe he took my whole post out of context a bit. The only thing I was trying to convey was how immature it was, but hey not everyone agrees with your point of view.
Posted 9/25/10

papagolfwhiskey wrote:

I'm increasingly less inclined to care what constitutes good debate around here. Everyone likes to squable and jump on each other with oneliners but try and put out serious, patiently thought out and reasoned response to an honest question and all you hear is silence. or at best, smartass irrelevancies

this forum is a joke.


Same here. It's not as if we are in any kind of real forum. The last time I had a good debate with anyone was.... well... never.
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Posted 9/25/10

LosingOrbit wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:

I'm increasingly less inclined to care what constitutes good debate around here. Everyone likes to squable and jump on each other with oneliners but try and put out serious, patiently thought out and reasoned response to an honest question and all you hear is silence. or at best, smartass irrelevancies

this forum is a joke.




Patiently thought out and reasoned response to an honest question and all you hear is silence. or at best, smartass irrelevancies.


You mean like Lemonii?

I believe he took my whole post out of context a bit. The only thing I was trying to convey was how immature it was, but hey not everyone agrees with your point of view.


I think Lemonii's point as a curious and debatable one. Worth thinking about anyway. That sometimes what appears to be an Ad Hominem attack might justifiable.

Conversely I do agree that it's usually a cheap tactic usually a way to declare victory and go home without actually debating the issue.

My complaint is more about well... crafting a careful and admittedly long winded and serious response to a question and seeing no one take up the challenge of even asking for clarification or acknowledging the post. While in the meantime junk 'LOL' post clog the forum.

Posted 9/25/10 , edited 9/25/10

papagolfwhiskey wrote:



I think Lemonii's point as a curious and debatable one. Worth thinking about anyway. That sometimes what appears to be an Ad Hominem attack might justifiable.

Conversely I do agree that it's usually a cheap tactic usually a way to declare victory and go home without actually debating the issue.

My complaint is more about well... crafting a careful and admittedly long winded and serious response to a question and seeing no one take up the challenge of even asking for clarification or acknowledging the post. While in the meantime junk 'LOL' post clog the forum.
Same here, while another bane for me is myself upon seeing a sheer wall of text filled with ambiguities and contradictions. Personally I find irrationalities and illogical reasonings even more annoying than superficial comments, and that's only after I requested a clearer explanation and more distinct elaboration coming from the other side of the argument.
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Posted 9/26/10

DomFortress wrote:

Same here, while another bane for me is myself upon seeing a sheer wall of text filled with ambiguities and contradictions. Personally I find irrationalities and illogical reasonings even more annoying than superficial comments, and that's only after I requested a clearer explanation and more distinct elaboration coming from the other side of the argument.


Well to be fair, Tara is a special case and I'm willing cut her some slack until I figure I've properly translated her post. But you know. If there were long illogical posts I could sink my teeth into and tear apart I wouldn't mind that nearly as much as pointing out a glaring but ignored reality of our current economic paradigm and getting back "NuKe Leor weapons for the win, huh huh huh". Or going to the the effort to honestly and completely answer what I think is and is not terrorism and getting smartass oneliners about my country for my pains.

everyone loves to party when they can spout random 'witty' oneliners but when you actually try to discuss something like an adult, metaphorical tumbleweeds blow forlornly across the forum.

It really makes me wonder why I bother.

Posted 9/26/10

papagolfwhiskey wrote:


Well to be fair, Tara is a special case and I'm willing cut her some slack until I figure I've properly translated her post. But you know. If there were long illogical posts I could sink my teeth into and tear apart I wouldn't mind that nearly as much as pointing out a glaring but ignored reality of our current economic paradigm and getting back "NuKe Leor weapons for the win, huh huh huh". Or going to the the effort to honestly and completely answer what I think is and is not terrorism and getting smartass oneliners about my country for my pains.

everyone loves to party when they can spout random 'witty' oneliners but when you actually try to discuss something like an adult, metaphorical tumbleweeds blow forlornly across the forum.

It really makes me wonder why I bother.
I find great satisfaction at applying my intellect on problem-solving, but I'm also aware of the fact that my logical assumption works under the limitation of "garbage in, garbage out". And I just don't like to be fed with something that tasted like garbage, it doesn't help my problem-solving cause, especially when I can't get under the core issue if it was people related. I can deal with raw emotions far better than irrational thinking under the guise of bad logic.
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