Now there is a term you do not hear often…of course not because people capable of using it are attacked using the very tactic that they try to explain….how’s that?
I wrote about this about 6 years ago to an audience that did not want to acknowledge such a thing existed……if you like read it for yourself and I will expand after reading…..
But that was a bit difficult to follow so I will try to clear up any confusion……
Ad hominem (Latin) means “against the man”. As the name suggests, it is a literary term that involves commenting on or against an opponent to undermine him instead of his arguments.
To put it simply, the considerations regarding the use of ad hominem can explain certain arguments and the motives behind them better. Nevertheless, such considerations are not enough on their own to evaluate an individual’s opinion and are certainly not sufficient to disregard them as false or invalid. The fact is that ad hominem is a kind of fallacy that leaves a great impression on the audience’s mind. It is an argumentative flaw that is hard to spot in our daily life. Although, the personal attack that has been made on the opponent might not even have a speck of truth in it, it somehow makes the audience biased. Ironically, despite being flawed, ad hominem has an amazing power of persuasion.
The worst thing about using ad hominem purposely is that an opponent insults you publicly. Whenever this happens to you, you must recover from the humiliation and then point out the false connection in the argument, which was used a trap for the audience. Moreover, the dilemma with ad hominem is that once it has been used against you it smears your reputation. Once somebody makes such a judgmental argument about you, the audience instead of evaluating it on logical grounds take it to be true.
What made me think about a post from the past of IST was something I read over the holidays……
This article was originally published by Scientific American.
Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data
Creationists, for example, dispute the evidence for evolution in fossils and DNA because they are concerned about secular forces encroaching on religious faith. Anti-vaxxers distrust big pharma and think that money corrupts medicine, which leads them to believe that vaccines cause autism despite the inconvenient truth that the one and only study claiming such a link was retracted and its lead author accused of fraud. The 9/11 truthers focus on minutiae like the melting point of steel in the World Trade Center buildings that caused their collapse because they think the government lies and conducts “false flag” operations to create a New World Order. Climate deniers study tree rings, ice cores and the ppm of greenhouse gases because they are passionate about freedom, especially that of markets and industries to operate unencumbered by restrictive government regulations. Obama birthers desperately dissected the president’s long-form birth certificate in search of fraud because they believe that the nation’s first African-American president is a socialist bent on destroying the country.
All too familiar these days of vile and disgusting assaults on others….when one is a dolt (yep that was an attack….see NO one is immune) then attack the person when one has NO argument….