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

  1. #36
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    You're wrong.
    Dude, don't start the year off like that...

  2. #37
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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.
    Well, it did keep me busy while my wife put a load of laundry in.

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  3. #38
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Well, it did keep me busy while my wife put a load of laundry in.

    Tom
    Sorry, Bro. I just really needed to laugh and make jokes today, and I figured everyone kinda understands that about me, by now. I hope.

    I will try my best to ad no hominems this year.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Sorry, Bro. I just really needed to laugh and make jokes today, and I figured everyone kinda understands that about me, by now. I hope.

    I will try my best to ad no hominems this year.
    No worries--it got a chuckle out of me. I think "wisdom" is really the art of being lazy about the right things. I try to err on the side of caution, which makes me lazy about most things. Does it make me wise?

    Well, that's one possible narrative...

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  5. #40
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    'Insult' is closer to 'assault' than it is to 'slander'.
    I wouldn't say so; there are mild insults, almost friendly ('You sure are an ornery bugger, aintcha?') and more severe ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I think "wisdom" is really the art of being lazy about the right things.
    You're in good form today.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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  6. #41
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    I wouldn't say so; there are mild insults, almost friendly ('You sure are an ornery bugger, aintcha?') and more severe ones.
    Etymologically-speaking.

    2 entries found for insult.
    To select an entry, click on it.
    Main Entry: 1in·sult
    Pronunciation: in-slt
    Function: verb
    Etymology: from early French insulter "to insult," from Latin insultare "to insult, attack," literally "to leap upon," derived from in- "on, upon" and salire "to leap, spring" --related to ASSAULT, RESILIENT
    : to treat or speak to with disrespect or scorn
    - in·sult·er noun
    Word History The phrase "to jump on" is used informally today to mean "to criticize or insult severely." The origin of the word insult also suggests the idea of jumping. Insult comes from the Latin verb insultare, literally meaning "to leap upon." It is made up of the prefix in-, meaning "on, upon," and a form of the verb salire "to leap." One of the first meanings of insult in English was "to make a military attack." That sense became obsolete, and insult now means to attack or "jump on" someone only with words of scorn or disrespect rather than with weapons.

  7. #42
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I think "wisdom" is really the art of being lazy about the right things.
    Tom
    So is barbecue!

  8. #43
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Wi-Tom View Post
    I think "wisdom" is really the art of being lazy about the right things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    You're in good form today.
    Thanks--I'm having fun, anyway. There's not enough snow for skiing, too much for iceboating, my wife is working on her new 4D London puzzle, and my cats are boringly asnooze, so I have to amuse myself somehow.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    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!

    You're ALMOST there. Not quite enough focus on the tactic (scurrilous) of attempting to diss the argument by dissing your correspondent. I think Keith clears it up nicely below...

    Or -- to put it another way --

    Ad hominem is a logical fallacy that involves a personal attack: an argument based on the perceived failings of an adversary rather than on the merits of the case. In short, it's when your rebuttal to an opponent's position is an irrelevant attack on the opponent personally rather than the subject at hand, to discredit the position by discrediting its supporter. It translates as "against the man."

    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.
    Last edited by David G; 01-01-2021 at 01:41 PM.
    David G
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    WI-Tom makes some useful point, though when I was taught rhetoric we took it that there were both ad hominem fallacies, pretty much as stated in the OP, and ad hominem truths, pretty much like what WI-Tom identifies as not ad hominem. So long as we see the differences between relevant, truth advancing, discussion and divisive insult to cover up a lack of coherent content, we at least are discussing rather than dominating.

  11. #46
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    While I have been subjected to ad luponem attacks, I shrug off anything short of bullets.


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

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Dude, don't start the year off like that...
    Would a smiley have helped? I just couldn't pass that one up. Happy New Year, btw.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #48
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Garret - I for one appreciate your taking up the baton with facility. Saved me from adding yet another PIA Black Mark to my record <G>
    David G
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Garret - I for one appreciate your taking up the baton with facility. Saved me from adding yet another PIA Black Mark to my record <G>
    It's a dirty job...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  15. #50
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    from Latin insultare "to insult, attack," literally "to leap upon," derived from in- "on, upon" and salire
    Of course! I should have recognized that; Spanish saltar (to jump), same root as assault, jump on 'em. Thanks, that was helpful. But of course meanings drift over time, sometimes a very long way from their origins.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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  16. #51
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Of course! I should have recognized that; Spanish saltar (to jump), same root as assault, jump on 'em. Thanks, that was helpful. But of course meanings drift over time, sometimes a very long way from their origins.
    I'm a geek.

    !

    Happy New Year, Mr. Keith!

  17. #52
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    And a happy new year to you too!
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  18. #53
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    So is barbecue!
    oohhh bbq!

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

    It's all very simple:

    "You are wrong and you are an idiot" - insult

    "You are wrong because you are an idiot" - ad hominem fallacy

  20. #55
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Montgomery View Post
    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.
    I would think "You are wrong" sans a reasonable reason would fit the definition. But let's not quibble.
    "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

  21. #56
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    It's all very simple:

    "You are wrong and you are an idiot" - insult

    "You are wrong because you are an idiot" - ad hominem fallacy
    And a third possibility:

    You are wrong, the reason(s) you are wrong have been explained to you, you have failed to produce any evidence refuting that explanation, and yet you cling desperately to your discredited beliefs. That makes you both wrong, and an idiot (though I'd prefer to say "ignorant").

    In other words, it is possible to conclude that someone is ignorant BECAUSE of a stubborn commitment to faulty thinking--that would NOT be an ad hominem attack.

    Assuming someone's argument is invalid because they are __________ (fill in the blank with your favorite insult) would be an ad hominem attack, and a logical fallacy.

    Tom
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  22. #57
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    WI-Tom makes some useful point, though when I was taught rhetoric we took it that there were both ad hominem fallacies, pretty much as stated in the OP, and ad hominem truths, pretty much like what WI-Tom identifies as not ad hominem. So long as we see the differences between relevant, truth advancing, discussion and divisive insult to cover up a lack of coherent content, we at least are discussing rather than dominating.
    I agree--a useful distinction. Attacking the person rather than critiquing the argument is counterproductive, even when it doesn't involve a logical fallacy. Yet it's a very human tendency that can be hard to resist, especially in the frustration of long-running discussions in which disagreements between contributors run deep.

    In the same way, it can be difficult to accept someone's critique of your own views without perceiving it as a personal attack.

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

    If someone starts arguing with you in a bar and they're really drunk, have horrible breath, spit when they talk, and keep waving their greasy hands in your face, it's hard to consider their arguments with an open mind.
    Last edited by Chip-skiff; 01-01-2021 at 06:24 PM.

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

    So when is Ad Hominem a Red Herring?

    Always, unless you're a small fish. Then there's no point in arguing because everyone wants to eat you regardless of being red.

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

    So, Ad Hominem is NOT an early biped?

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

    This is an in salt:

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

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    So, Ad Hominem is NOT an early biped?
    I believe you may be thinking of Add Hominem​ the tribe archaeologists posit was the first to use mathematics...
    David G
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    Default Re: "Ad Hominem"--the Intellectually Lazy Person's Dodge

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    This is an in salt:

    That poor sap thinks those are mashed potatoes and that means something...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I believe you may be thinking of Add Hominem​ the tribe archaeologists posit was the first to use mathematics...
    I believe you mean Subtractilocus Afractionsis. Clever lot, they were.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    That poor sap thinks those are mashed potatoes and that means something...
    I saw that movie too. Great minds and all that.......

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

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    I believe you mean Subtractilocus Afractionsis. Clever lot, they were.
    Clever? Maybe. But too divisive for my taste.

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

    You've alread had you quotient of bad puns - and though that one is derivative they are integral to the thread.

    Go and sin no more
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default

    And, do not forget the ad homonym. It is not what it sounds like.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    And, do not forget the ad homonym. It is not what it sounds like.

    Kevin


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    But it sounds just like it...
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