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Initial post: 17 Feb 2014 11:52:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Feb 2014 11:54:15 GMT
Withnail says:
Accusations abound on this board where people claim that they are being attacked, and not their argument. For instance if a person argues one point (I understand morality as a Christian better that Atheists) but, purely as an example, has been shown to be a liar, is it not appropriate to attack the person and not the argument, as that is part of the whole picture?

Reginald Arbuthnot Withnail III

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 12:38:45 GMT
Stu says:
Hi Withnail, you can still say in your reply to the persons post that you think the post is full of lies,or something similar,without saying you are a hardnose bareface liar to the poster can you not?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 12:49:39 GMT
Norm Deplume says:

The way I understand is that argumentum ad hominem is an attack on an argument by attempting to link it to an irrelevant aspect of the person making the argument. "Your claims about unicorns are wrong because you support Inverness Caledonian Thistle" is an extreme example. On the other hand "you are as thick as pig faeces because you claim the earth is flat" is simple vulgar abuse even though it has no bearing on the original argument (it is creating a completely separate one). Many posters here do not see these as different.

I could be wrong, but that's how I see it.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 12:56:57 GMT
That's about it, Norm, but it is often used as an imputation of vulgar abuse.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 14:08:33 GMT
Yes that's about it.

It is often used by Spin or Paul D to say things like 'instead of responding to my claims you are calling me dishonest' as if this is irrelevant to believing their claims.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 14:17:21 GMT
Stu says:
Hi Tony,afraid I had to put Paul d on ignore as I just could not stand any more of his posts,they were just making me angry, and I cannot have that on what is supposed to be a friendly debating site.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 14:18:22 GMT
Spin says:
Withnail: if one find it unacceptable for political parties to attack a personality rather than focusing on the issues, (on the basis that ones personality has nothing to do with the argument under debate) why would one consider attacking the personalities of theists to be more justified than focusing on the theistic arguments? many great person un our history had faults in their personality but we focus only on their arguments and theories. Why not extend the same courtesy to everyone? If one focuses solely on personality (and how one can do so by means of an anonymous written text on a website without actually knowing the person is beyond me) then one is no more than a gossip.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 15:04:05 GMT
He is a bit exasperating stu.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 19:01:09 GMT
If it's their online persona evidenced by their posts that's being attacked, then it's not strictly speaking ad hominem, the poster who beats the loudest is the one most likely to resort t ad hominem when his posts are refuted as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 20:05:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Feb 2014 20:57:20 GMT
'Ad Hominem

Your reasoning contains this fallacy if you make an irrelevant attack on the arguer and suggest that this attack undermines the argument itself.


What she says about Johannes Kepler's astronomy of the 1600Œs must be just so much garbage. Do you realize she's only fifteen years old?

This attack may undermine the arguer's credibility as a scientific authority, but it does not undermine her reasoning itself because her age is irrelevant to quality of the reasoning. That reasoning should stand or fall on the scientific evidence, not on the arguerfs age or anything else about her personally. Reasoning that has the ad hominem form is not always fallacious, if the form is: gThe reasoner said X, but the reasoner has unacceptable trait T, so X is not acceptable.

The major difficulty with labeling a piece of reasoning of this form as an ad hominem fallacy is deciding whether the personal attack is relevant or irrelevant. For example, attacks on a person for their actually immoral sexual conduct are irrelevant to the quality of their mathematical reasoning, but they are relevant to arguments promoting the person for a leadership position in a church.'

Edit: Please note the last line.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 20:28:39 GMT
richard says:
...but they are relevant to arguments promoting the person for a leadership position in a church.'................ doesn't that depend on who knows about it and whether it's thought it can be kept secret?

Posted on 17 Feb 2014 21:26:38 GMT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 22:04:27 GMT
T. Green says:
Personally I try not to attack the person and try to address the augment.

In the case of our "friend (s?)" on the thread "A Challenge to Atheists: Your Coherent View or Vision of Reality, without Almighty God... What's It All About Then?" I addressed all his points I think, while all the time putting up with the constant abuse and ridiculous claims that atheists and myself have no coherent view, and they must be all insane, confused and amnesic.

I am an atheist and I consider this name calling a direct attack on myself and others like me, no question, especially when a post is directed or replied to me with this nonsense it in, (also unfortunately at least for myself I have a very good memory.)

When our "friend (s?)" happened to start preaching (what to me) is undoubtedly unethical concepts for his own church using book form I felt it was more than fair to address WHERE this source is from, particularly when he ignored my points on it, after all if I write a book I would reasonably expect for any criticisms of that book to be directed at myself, it would after all be where any views would originate from within any book I might write.

It would be crazy to read any book, and not to understand who the author was and what their views are, particularly when in the ballpark of ethics and morality.

What this "view" was no doubt building up to in serious waffle form of course, with no supporting evidence (still is I think), was the concept that Catholics have some divine sense of morality, so can decide for others what is good or bad.

This contradicts directly with my own viewpoint that morality is made up of individual situation ethical decisions and that we are NOT entitled in any way to decide what is right or wrong for any other individuals, its ok to try to convince someone of something, but never ok to decide for them in my humble view.

At this point I left the thread, as I don't like getting annoyed here (it takes a lot) but this kind of nonsense annoys me, and on another thread have dealt with a very similar poster (which a few may well be familiar with) who also preferred to insult and preach rather than listen, it becomes tedious and I prefer not to waste my time.

I felt that I was very reasonable (and restrained) throughout, others may hold different viewpoints but from my own perspective this is true. I also felt that this would be fair turnaround considering the author that he was clinging to for this view? And the way his author would try to restrict freedom of speech. I say this with the question mark as it's almost impossible to separate the waffle from the viewpoint of the author that he was using to "validate his augment?"

Despite the fact that I took him seriously on I think all or at least most of his points and answered him fairly he still decided to act in a clownish manner throughout, while evading pretty much all of my own questions.

Thus I show my contempt for his behaviour, and the way he would "debate" by leaving the thread.

Of course I told him that he did not understand others points of view and a few other blunt truths, but these are proven facts, and I would not dream of stating this to anyone even half reasonable, or if this were not proven true.

This was more of an attempt for me to get him to wake up to what others were posting than to insult him, I can be blunt and sometimes perhaps harsh, but I think fair.

I intend to stay off that particular thread, he clearly considers it his own and he is welcome to it, until of course it dies, or gets locked soon enough.

In the dictionary the definition for AD HOMINEM is:

Definition of AD HOMINEM
: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
: marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

I wanted to explain properly to others my reasoning and reasons for leaving this other thread, I do NOT think or consider that at any point I was "Ad Hominem" myself and to accuse others of it when it is clearly not is AD Hominem itself ironically.

I thank you for your time, im sorry to waffle on myself.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 22:17:24 GMT
Stu says:
Come back anytime T.G. and you can waffle as much as you wish.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 22:19:46 GMT
T. Green says:
Thank you Stu :-) had a busy day so hitting the sack now, but hope to catch all of you later.

Posted on 17 Feb 2014 22:20:17 GMT
Spin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2014 22:47:48 GMT
Heretic says:
Spin says: "Waffle; the source of English debate..."



In reply to an earlier post on 19 Feb 2014 15:50:16 GMT
Spin: A very good point. If one is going to use foreign words or phrases one should really use them correctly.

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 16:02:05 GMT
I would say that the best translation of the phrase ad hominem is: 'directed towards the man' (rather than the argument), therefore a logical fallacy.

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 16:07:43 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 19 Feb 2014 16:09:47 GMT]

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 16:09:20 GMT
This was on

It gives an alternative phrase as 'playing the man, not the ball'.

Posted on 19 Feb 2014 19:39:18 GMT
Spin says:
"Ad Hominem" means, in English "to the man" or "towards the man", as opposed to "ad argumentum", "Towards the proof" or, as we say, "towards the argument".
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  11
Total posts:  22
Initial post:  17 Feb 2014
Latest post:  19 Feb 2014

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