Ad Hominem means”against the person.”
Ad Hominem attacks are an attempt to reject an argument, or in this case facts, by using irrelevant/untrue statements against the person making the argument or presenting the facts. Here’s how it works:
Some of the problems with Ad Hominem attacks include:
- An attempt to call character into question has no bearing on the argument or facts presented.
- Ad Hominem attacks only work when people aren’t capable of critical thinking.
- Critical thinkers are not fooled and will question the motives of the person making the Ad Hominem attack
Motivation for making Ad Hominem attacks might include:
- fear of lost income if public learns the truth
- jealousy due to belief that good is limited therefore one person’s success will take success from another
Here are some common forms of Ad Hominem attacks:
- personality, traits, or identity:
- “Are you going to agree with what that racist pig is saying?”
- “Of course she’s in favor of affirmative action. What do you expect from a black woman?”
- affiliation, profession, or situation:
- “What’s the point of asking students whether they support raising tuition? They’re always against any increase.”
- “Oh yeah, prison reform sounds great–until you realize that the man proposing it is himself an ex-con.”
- inconsistent actions, statements, or beliefs:
- “How can you follow a doctor’s advice if she doesn’t follow it herself?”
- “Sure, he says that today, but yesterday he said just the opposite.”
- source or association for ideas or support:
- “Don’t vote for that new initiative–it was written by the insurance lobby!”
- “You can’t possibly accept the findings of that study on smoking–it was paid for by the tobacco industry.”
Edit: I decided to allow the comments that were held in moderation. Like the comments made by this same person on Texas Kaos, much is revealed with each keystroke.