Ad Hominem - why do people do it?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Quantum Quack, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    lol @ yogurt

    If he/she comes across in a rude/arrogant way (a few times, not just a one off situation)...and it's not just with me, but with others as well, I tend to skim (skip?) over their posts. How the message is delivered is as important (to me) as the message, itself. There are plenty of others I can learn from who won't ''post down'' to me/others, and I'll focus on their answers to my questions, instead.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  3. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    As is your prerogative. You're not hurting them; you're just protecting yourself.
    In that case, the intellectual value of the content is lost through poor presentation.
    If they want to be read, it's up to them not drive potential readers away with an abrasive style.
    Quantum Quack and wegs like this.
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  5. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Am more or less the same... first sign of repetitive abuse and skimming is all i do.
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It is not an ad hominem. I have addressed the points you made on their merits.
    Yes, you were insulted. That is not an argumentum ad hominem, as people here have been trying to explain to you.
    You quoted his comment and then referred him to a thread asking why people post ad hominems. Are you able to join the dots?
    It has little to do with that poster’s state of mind and everything to do with the reasonable implication of what you posted. As indicated before, if you don’t own what you clearly implied - such that any reasonable person would infer it - you are left looking ridiculous in your efforts to avoid it.
    How much easier would it have been to simply say that you now realise that you were wrong, and leave it at that?
    How does that have any relevance to whether his insult was an argumentum ad hominem?
    I look forward to you raising it as an example for discussion there, whereupon your error will be confirmed.
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Which makes it an argumentum ad hominem: the person is trying to devalue the worth of the points, or ignore them entirely, through an attack on the character of the person.
    The argument is not sound, for one because the premise of bad faith is false. Secondly, ad hominem arguments are nothing to do with validity of arguments. The fallacy of the ad hominem argument is an informal fallacy. Being sound is about whether both the argument is valid and the premises true. That in itself doesn’t stop something being an ad hominem argument.
    Whether it is a critical matter or not does not alter the fact that it is an argumentum ad hominem. Not all ad hominems are fallacious, and here you clearly think the ad hominem is a reasonable consideration. I certainly disagree on that point, as it is clear that the intention was simply to avoid those points, not actual discussion in general. But either way, raising an argument against the person, for reasonable reasons or not, so as to avoid, rebut, denigrate, taint, the points the person made is an ad hominem.
    Care to put this into an actual sentence, with relevance to the point I raised?
    Just as it is a valid argument to make when assessing the likely truthfulness of a witness statement, it doesn’t stop it being an argumentum ad hominem. Your issue seems to be in differentiating between fallacious and non-fallacious examples. But both are still argumentum ad hominems.
    Personally I think his was fallacious... a clear attempt not to stop engaging with the poster (see subsequent exchanges) but simply to avoid dealing with those points raised. There was no bullshit, his reasoning may have been valid (e.g. People who engage in bad faith are not worth discussing with; Sarkus is engaging in bad faith; ergo Sarkus is not worth discussing with) but was certainly not sound, and being an argument raised to avoid discussing points, and to do so in a manner that looked to taint those points through an attack on the person’s character, makes it an ad hominem. End of story.
    So again your issue is whether the argumentum ad hominem is fallacious or non-fallacious. Okay, we can certainly disagree on that in this case, but that doesn’t stop it being an ad hominem.
    Yes, it is an argument raised to avoid addressing points raised by the poster, not through addressing those points but by raising an attack against the character of the person. The ad hominem can be either a direct rebuttal of the points raised, or simply avoidance of the points, via an argument raised against the person rather than those points.
    The “argument” in the argumentum ad hominem does not refer to the argument in which the initial points were made, but the argument that the person seeking to avoid discussing them makes, and that includes examples such as “I am not going to discuss with you because [insert character attack]”.
    The [character attack] is the argument for not discussing, or for rebutting, etc. And an argument that seeks to avoid discussion about points raised is indirectly about those points.
    No, it is an informal fallacy. Nothing to do with being valid or invalid (although in deductive arguments it is likely to result in an invalid argument).
    Most arguments used are not deductive syllogisms but are instead simply “because of X, I do/believe/claim Y”. Ad hominems are not limited to deductive arguments, but apply anywhere an attack on the person is used in an attempt to diminish the strength of their point. And in casting aspersions on whether someone is arguing in good faith to avoid discussing those points, which also serves to possibly taint the strength of those points for others, is an ad hominem. Whether you think it fallacious or not we can keep discussing, if you really want, but it is an argumentum ad hominem.
  9. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    You are mixing up the posts you are referring and make no sense in the process... please try again...this time use quotes and not simply assume readers know what you are referring to.
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Your post that is being responded to is clearly detailed in my post, QQ. You know, where it has your words in a light-yellow box, with a little arrow next to your name at the top of the first such box, that you can click on to go to that actual post. If you can’t fathom how it works after all these years....
  11. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    No it is not clearly detailed in your post... I have really no idea what exact posts you are referring to nor the words you are referring to, so please provide quotes as you should have done in the first instance so that you can nail your allegations properly.
    For example: which post are you referring to in the above quote
  12. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    You fail to include the most fundamental aspect of what an AAH is...
    It has to be an argument...
    Even the poster that labeled me a retard knew that...

    "I think your points are worthless" an AAH?
    Also I was concerned about what I believed was your lacking of good will, not the worth of your points.
    There is no point me arguing your points if you are, as I believed to be the case, not acting in good will or good faith. The value of your point's remain indeterminate.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    If you had no idea then how did you respond with: “True... I never stated it was an AHA. The poster only incorrectly assumed I believed it was because I invited him/her to participate in this thread.” earlier in the chain of discussion.
    Followed by you saying: “I presented a valid and solid example for why people need to take responsibility for their ignorance and get labeled a retard for doing so...
    I invited the poster to this thread, the inferences drawn were that of the poster not mine.
    ” Again, how could you post these words if you didn’t know what posts and discussion were being referred to?
    Now you suddenly claim to not know which posts are being referred to, even though it is a continuation of the same discussion. Really, QQ? That’s the game you want to play?

    Simple answer: you did know, you do know, and you’re simply now trolling your way toward avoiding the issues.
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I know. The person calling you a retard didn’t make an ad hominem, as I have stated. It was an insult direct at you, nothing more.
    Nope, but that’s not what you said. You posted an argument. To wit: “because of X I think your points are worthless” is an argument: specifically you are providing X as an argument in support of you thinking the points are worthless. Is that clear enough for you?
    So you can’t dismiss what you wrote in response to me as not being an ad hominem argument on the grounds that it wasn’t an argument. It was an argument.
    Exactly, and you used that concern to avoid and try to taint the worth of the points, rather than address the points on their merit, hence it being an ad hominem.
    Then simply stop responding to me, not just responding to specific arguments but to anything and everything I say. Put me on ignore if that will help. But to use your belief as an argument/justification to avoid specific points raised, and in a manner that potentially taints the worth of those points to others, through the personal attack, is an ad hominem argument made by you.
  15. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

    Typically simply because they have no argument against the content.
    Sometimes it is possible. But ad hominem is not necessarily directed against the opponent in the discussion. So, iceaura's typical "that is Rep propaganda" is not, only if it is combined with "you are unable to recognize this" it gains some direction against me. IMHO this is a typical case of having no arguments against the content. And it nicely illustrates that one can always use it (to claim that some argument is made by Rep propaganda too is nothing I could falsify).
  16. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I called you a retard, yet what I wanted to say was more unflattering. You were pissing on science to a physics student. You say scientists should take responsibility for their ignorance. How, seance the ghost of Newton and burn him at the stake for crimes against humanity? I thought your argument was so abhorrently stupid that in no way you were sincere so you must of had ulterior motives.


    Or, you were, in actuality, retarded enough to make such a brainless argument against i.e. science.
  17. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    it was my argument for my self...
    Explaining my reasons for not responding to your posts, to wit, "I believed that you were not acting ....."
    My argument was not directed at your arguments (points) my argument was directed at my belief.
    You may consider this a trivial distinction but it is essential if you seek to nail this issue beyond superficial reasoning.
    Avoidance is not the same as an argument. Simply stating that I refuse to argue with a bad faith actor is not an AAH.
    You actually need to demonstrate that an argument was made against your points using your character as an argument. You have not done this. I have made no argument against your points. You have drawn insult instead which you are entitled to do. It is your right to be as insulted as you want to be...

    Being insulted or not, by what was posted doesn't change the fact that I believed you were acting with out good will, there for any argument against your points would achieve nothing.
    I can't change these facts no matter how hard I try. I could stay quiet but the fact stay the same. It is not an AHH.

    So please demonstrate how I argued against your points by attacking your reputation.
    Show which points exactly have been argued against etc...
    Use quotes and be specific. It is important as this is obviously a significant issue for you.

    Admit that you can not and perhaps we can move the actual topic of this thread.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  18. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    which leads to the abuse of the good will or "social contract" entered into.
    An intellectual fraud that is often transparent and an admission of defeat.
    A parting shot of a bad loser... perhaps...
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No, your argument in support of your belief was directed at my character, in an effort to avoid the points raised, and to taint their worth.
    It’s an irrelevant distinction. But at least you now recognise your comment as an argument. So we’re getting somewhere.
    Of course it isn’t. Avoidance is the destination, the argument is a path to getting there.
    Yes it is, when the personal attack is intended to avoid specific points raised, and to diminish the worth of those points in the eyes of others. You attacked the value of those points through your attack on the character. It’s really no more difficult than that.
    As already shown, you did. Not as direct rebuttal, but as effort to deflect, evade etc, and to diminish their worth, all via an attack on character rather the arguments themselves.

    Thats your argument, but it is still an ad hominem.
    You can stay as quiet as you like or as loud as you like, you’d still be wrong.
    You conducted an argumentative strategy aimed at avoiding genuine discussion by attacking the motive and character of the one who posted.
    To wit:
    given your lack of good will...” - note the argument, the reasoning for the action. Note the attack on the character, not the points within the post. Note that what is attacked has nothing whatsoever to do with the strength or otherwise of the points raised. Note that it cast aspersions on the value of the points raised.
    “... I will refrain from discussing the rest of your post...” - note the action is an explicit avoidance of genuine discussion of the points raised.

    However justified you think it is, put the two together and you get an argumentum ad hominem.
    No need to admit that I can not as I can, and have. Care to move on now, or do you just want to continue to trash your own thread through ridiculous efforts at trying to save face?
  20. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    oh well... given that we appear to be going around in circles getting no where, each of us repeating our same points over and over again I believe the best course of action is to:
    Agree to disagree....

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    or alternatively disagree with out agreement to disagree... either way...suits me fine...

    Is that an AHH?
    Am I devaluing your points and attacking your character?
    Am I avoiding something?

    See Armistice for some relevance.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  21. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Curious question, asking for a friend

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    Do you guys debate the same way offline as you do online? Like long, drawn out rebuttals...and ad homs? That would be hilarious.

    I ignore people offline just like I do online, when they start hurting my precious, I'm the same way offline and online. lol
  22. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    you raise some interesting points....hmmm
    In the real as I call it, good will and good faith are highly valued. People rely upon on the convention to afford trust and placate their anxieties. In online situations those values are open to abuse by those who feel they can gain advantage by manipulating that reliance.
    Normally people do not lie in the real, because of the cost associated with lying to their own self worth and the constant need to support the lie. Online though, lying is cheap. ( check your spam folder for an example)
    No eye to eye contact, less likely hood of discovery etc...presumed anonymity, and a "so what"attitude can prevail.
    In answer to your question. No I don't have these issues in the real because in the real I rarely need to argue. Respectful discussion is all that is necessary. IMO

    Also to extend a little:
    One could argue that the only reason people aren't constantly tearing themselves apart is because an "Armistice" is always in place until breached. The status quo being constant hostility and distrust with the "agreement to disagree" being a very strong part of the social contract.
    Close relationships could be said to be formed when that Armistice is no longer required and people surrender to each other ( non abusive relationships premised on equality) or only one person surrenders to another ( abusive relationships -premised on inequality)
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
    wegs likes this.
  23. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    You bring up a very good point, QQ. When face to face in a disagreement/discussion, we can easily hear tone, sarcasm, meaning...even intent. It seems easier to jump to wrong conclusions in forum discussions online, than say sitting across from someone at a restaurant. The atmosphere around us plays a small part, too. There might be music playing, and the conversation gets interrupted as you strain to hear the song. Or you laugh off quips or even the occasional rude jab, because you ''know the person'' who you're talking to, and you know that they don't ''mean it.'' Sarcasm is often lost online, and so it makes it more difficult to decipher when someone is being crass or they're joking around.
    Quantum Quack likes this.

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