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Thread: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

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    Default "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    I know. I know. It's fashionable. All the "cool" people are doing it. It's happened to me. I've seen it happen to others.

    But please don't indulge in the uninformed, kneejerk response of "ad hominem" as a reaction to someone else's critique of your opinions, thoughts, and explanations. That is not what "ad hominem" means. Using "ad hominem" in this way is intellectually lazy, it's boring, and it short-circuits actual discussion by refusing to address the merits of the argument being presented.

    Misusing "ad hominem" drags down the level of discourse in the Bilge (as if that were necessary!) and is, in effect, simply a dodge for those unable or unwilling to respond with a refutation and clear explanation, which could actually advance the discussion and help everyone learn.

    So, please:

    If someone tells you that you are incorrect, they are NOT engaging in an "ad hominem" attack.

    Even if they tell you that you are wrong quite bluntly, or energetically, or even passionately--nope. Still not "ad hominem."

    Even if they tell you REPEATEDLY that you are wrong--nope. STILL not "ad hominem."

    Even if they tell you that your thinking is "idiotic" or "moronic" or that you are "making sh!t up" or that you don't know what you are talking about--nope. STILL not "ad hominem."

    Even if you think they are repeatedly wrong, and unable or unwilling to assess their own beliefs, and they keep telling you (incorrectly, as you believe) that you are wrong--nope. STILL still not "ad hominem."

    So, what DOES "ad hominem" look like? Like this:

    You post: "There is a direct correlation between your political affiliation and the likelihood of you contracting COVID-19; Republicans get sick more often than Democrats."

    I post: "You're ugly, and your mother dresses you funny."

    THAT is "ad hominem." Did you note the distinguishing feature? Based on the rampant misuse of "ad hominem" in the Bilge, I bet some of you missed it the first time around. Here it is:

    It is "ad hominem" because it attacks the PERSON and ignores the ARGUMENT.

    A post that attacks the argument and the quality of thinking is NOT an "ad hominem" attack, no matter HOW insulting or offensive it is to you.

    Thank you. That is all. Next week we'll take on the popular "straw man" defense, which is misused nearly as often as "ad hominem." Until then, fair winds and following seas, everyone!

    Last edited by WI-Tom; 01-01-2021 at 09:50 AM.
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Is this a postmodern spinoff thread?

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Only because you say so.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    it's not ad hominem if it's true

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Is this a postmodern spinoff thread?
    While that may be the dominant meta-narrative at this moment, any good postmodernist would tell you that other narratives are equally deserving of consideration.

    Tom
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    but i like hominy
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    The world's biggest fool can tell you it's raining - but that don't make it dry outside

    RAH
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    now do an essay on the strawman fallacy

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    now do an essay on the strawman fallacy
    Ahem...

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Thank you. That is all. Next week we'll take on the popular "straw man" defense, which is misused nearly as often as "ad hominem." Until then, fair winds and following seas, everyone!

    Tom
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    I confess this thread confuses me. When is a response not 'ad hominem' and who gets to draw the line?
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    who gets to draw the line?
    Authority, of course.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I confess this thread confuses me. When is a response not 'ad hominem' and who gets to draw the line?
    I have failed...

    Tom
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    The lines are drawn, your duty is to toe it.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    but i like hominy
    This message is hidden because pefjr is on your ignore list.

    !

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I confess this thread confuses me. When is a response not 'ad hominem' and who gets to draw the line?
    Please reread Tom's original post - he lays it out clearly.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Please reread Tom's original post - he lays it out clearly.
    Sorry, but it seems a good bit subjective, does it not?

    Seems to me it is when the messenger, rather than the message is attacked. https://literarydevices.net/ad-hominem/

    Maybe I missed that; wouldn't be the first time.

    To say, "You are wrong." could be construed as an attack on the messenger, no? As opposed to "That is wrong.", which would be an attack on the message.

    Perhaps that's an overly thin line?
    Last edited by John Smith; 01-01-2021 at 10:16 AM.
    "Banning books in spite of the 1st amendment, but refusing to regulate guns in spite of "well regulated militia' being in the 2nd amendment makes no sense. Can't think of anyone ever shot by a book

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Please reread Tom's original post - he lays it out clearly.
    i agree, except instead lf "clearly" i would insert "with hilarious lack of self-awareness".

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    Sorry, but it seems a good bit subjective, does it not?

    Seems to me it is when the messenger, rather than the message is attacked. https://literarydevices.net/ad-hominem/
    Yup - that's it.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    .
    Tom is spot on.

    But my understanding is that bobbys' "Ad Hominy" has a different definition entirely.
    "They have a lot of stupid people that vote in their primaries. They really do. I'm not really supposed to say that but it's an obvious fact. But when stupid people vote, you know who they nominate? Other stupid people." -- James Carville on the plethora of low-quality GQP candidates in the mid-term election.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith
    To say, "You are wrong." could be construed as an attack on the messenger, no? As opposed to "That is wrong.", which would be an attack on the message.

    Perhaps that's an overly thin line?
    Yes it is.

    "You are wrong" is not an ad hominum reply.

    "Your remark is evidence that all you right-winguts are morons." is an ad hominum reply.
    "They have a lot of stupid people that vote in their primaries. They really do. I'm not really supposed to say that but it's an obvious fact. But when stupid people vote, you know who they nominate? Other stupid people." -- James Carville on the plethora of low-quality GQP candidates in the mid-term election.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    .
    Tom is spot on.

    But my understanding is that bobbys' "Ad Hominy" has a different definition entirely.
    bobbys stole that from peffy.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    i agree, except instead lf "clearly" i would insert "with hilarious lack of self-awareness".
    You are going to LOVE next week's "straw man" thread!

    Tom
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    This op is exactly what a lazy person would type.

    Did I do it right? Iím trying to ad ham and them.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    This op is exactly what a lazy person would type.

    Did I do it right? I’m trying to ad ham and them.
    & ended up with egg on your face? Hey - it's breakfast-time...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    & ended up with egg on your face? Hey - it's breakfast-time...
    See? More egg discrimination! First, we got a guy putting savory eggs in a pie shell, and now weíre being told eggs are for breakfast?!

    Hominimenims!

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Isnít Hominen that rapper from Detroit?

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Isn’t Hominen that rapper from Detroit?
    No - it's M&M from CandyLand
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    No - it's M&M from CandyLand
    To be fair, for a dude named Marshall Mathers, Eminem is a brilliant name. Clever.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    but i like hominy
    it lacks spice.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    On the other hand, if someone tells you that you are wrong without explanation, then it's just an arrogant and condescending remark. So at least explain your thoughts when you do it.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    On the other hand, if someone tells you that you are wrong without explanation, then it's just an arrogant and condescending remark. So at least explain your thoughts when you do it.
    You're wrong.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    You're wrong.
    And, if you donít know why, well... Iím sure I couldnít explain it to you.

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Good points, Tom, although I'd say you're laying it on a little too thick.. A possibly useful distinction:

    An insult is a deliberately derogatory claim about someone. May be true, may be not, may be nasty, may be humorous, may even occasionally be friendly.

    An ad hominem fallacy is the claim that because of some characteristic of the person making an argument, the argument itself is invalid.

    Sometimes an insult is just an insult. Sometimes what looks like an ad hominem fallacy isn't, because the characteristic mentioned is relevant to judging the expertise of the person and hence the argument ('Don't listen to Keith, he's never read Derrida in all his life.' (true) 'Waldo doesn't understand statistics at all.' ) But while it's rarely as clear-cut as in lists of logical fallacies, things like 'He's a Republican, of course that's what he'd say' get pretty close. The point is that the characteristics referenced are irrelevant to the truth of the argument.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    See? More egg discrimination! First, we got a guy putting savory eggs in a pie shell, and now we’re being told eggs are for breakfast?!

    Hominimenims!
    Houyhnhnms?


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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Good points, Tom, although I'd say you're laying it on a little too thick.. A possibly useful distinction:

    An insult is a deliberately derogatory claim about someone. May be true, may be not, may be nasty, may be humorous, may even occasionally be friendly.

    An ad hominem fallacy is the claim that because of some characteristic of the person making an argument, the argument itself is invalid.

    Sometimes an insult is just an insult. Sometimes what looks like an ad hominem fallacy isn't, because the characteristic mentioned is relevant to judging the expertise of the person and hence the argument ('Don't listen to Keith, he's never read Derrida in all his life.' (true) 'Waldo doesn't understand statistics at all.' ) But while it's rarely as clear-cut as in lists of logical fallacies, things like 'He's a Republican, of course that's what he'd say' get pretty close. The point is that the characteristics referenced are irrelevant to the truth of the argument.
    'Insult' is closer to 'assault' than it is to 'slander'.

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