Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

Discussion in 'Think Tank' started by Tom Socrates, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Tom Socrates Member

    Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    Ad Hominem is Latin for "to the person". The ad hominem fallacy is when you attack the arguer, not the argument. Scientologists love to employ the ad hominem fallacy, ignoring legitimate criticisms in favor of attacking the critics who make them, generally calling them criminals, child molesters, etc.

    Other examples of ad hominems can be found pretty much everywhere on the web. They usually take the form of "You believe X. Unfavorable person or group also believed X. Therefore, you're like said unfavorable person or group."

    Another form of ad hominem is the ad hominem tu quoque. Tu quogue refers to the fallacy that a person's argument is invalid, if the arguer doesn't practice what he preaches. A great example of this is when it became known that, despite what he said in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore uses an inordinate amount of electric power. While this may be true, it doesn't mean he's wrong about global warming.

    Yet another ad hominem is guilt by association. Fundamentalist preachers use this one a lot, attempting to put folks like Charles Darwin in the same boat as the likes of and Adolph Hitler because there may be a tenuous thread connecting them in some way. Even if Hitler was influenced by Darwin, if doesn't make anything Darwin said any less accurate.

    A close cousin of the ad hominem attack is Godwin's Law. Godwin's Law states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

    Read any serious discussion online to find this.

    When all is said and done, the ad hominem is a red herring fallacy. Its purpose is to distract the opponent from the relevant facts and put him on the defensive to hide that the arguer really can't refute anything his opponent says.
  2. Anonymite Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    scientology already invoked godwins law with their first response, which by default makes us the winrars. now we just have to make scientologists realize they've lost (which if what i hear about us being an alien invasion fleet are true, means that we have!)
  3. Consensus Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    A fallacy makes an argument invalid; it does not make a person a 'winner' or 'loser.' When considering if you've won an argument, there's many different criteria. 1) have you persuaded any third-parties watching the debate? 2) would have have persuaded hypothetical third-parties had they watched the debate? 3) are you satisfied with the argument you presented? 4) have you persuaded your opponent in the argument.

    To me, the strongest win is #4. If the opponent concedes the argument themself, most people watching the argument will be persuaded (this is why some charletons stage a scene with a fake skeptic, who is 'persuaded' by them). Furthermore, we don't want to preach to the choir. In my mind, the goal of Anonymous is many-fold, two of which are 1) prevent Scientology from recruiting new members (that is, persuade third-parties to our side), and 2) get members of Scientology to leave the church (that is, persuade our opponents to concede the argument).

    Aim for #4. Shouting 'Godwin' and leaving doesn't achieve that.
  4. Anonymite Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    No, it doesn't cause a win, but it sure as hell pisses 'em off.

    Anyways, if the inside stories we've been hearing are right, people are going to be scrambling out of the church faster than the trickle that evades our information and get brought in. So in a way, we're achieving #4 quite handily. We just need to keep the pressure up. By May, i'm thinking the entire operation behind Scientology will either be under federal investigation or implode.
  5. Tom Socrates Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    Invoking Godwin is also not necessarily fallacious. There are times when a clear parallel can be drawn between a person and Hitler, and such a comparison is appropriate.
  6. Consensus Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    I agree that we're making great progress, and I agree that it pisses them off. I'm arguing, however, that knowing logical fallacies, pointing them out when Scientologists use them, being able to explain why they are fallacious, and avoiding them ourselves can only be advantageous to us, accelerating our ongoing victory. As much as pissing them off can be fun, it doesn't necessarily accelerate things.

    Besides, proving someone wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt, to the point that they have no reply available to them, gets people far more pissed off than dismissing them ever could. At least, unless they concede the point and join your side.
  7. Anonymite Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    So, besides realizing that the entire basis of their religion is a logical fallacy (a founder who wrote crappy scifi novels, creates a religion that SOUNDS like a crappy scifi novel, and its supposed to be the truth all the sudden?) we need to identify the logical fallacies within their arguements, and be ready to point them out and exploit them? Sounds easy enough.

    The hard part is getting them out of their orgs to have conversations with us. If you remember, their orders were to hide and try to stare us down while peering through their curtains. The only ones who came out were either trying to get the police to shoo us away or were getting pictures of the entire protest, and trust me, they weren't in a very talkative mood, besides asking us to take our masks off.
  8. Consensus Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    You're right, it's been very difficult to find any willing to engage us in debate. Nonetheless, they will do so if they feel confident they can win. Mastering the subject matter and the rules of debate will ensure they never gain that confidence.

    If they never interract with the outside world, we win - they're under siege until they dry up. If they begin to engage us, they merely accelerate their failure.

    But if we lapse in our intellectual power, if we have less-than-convincing arguments, they can beat us. If, head-to-head, they can be more convincing than us, they will beat us. I'm working to ensure that can't happen. We've already won. We're not developing our winning strategy here; we're reinforcing the walls that we've surrounded them with.
  9. Anonymite Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    Reinforcing the walls we've surrounded them with, eh? See, when you put it like THAT, I can see where you're coming from.

    Well, looks like our best option then would be to 1) become fluent in Thetan-speak, and 2) figure out a way to coax the scientologists out into conversations. The ones that film us are probably just private investigators, and thus we can't really have any effect on them. We also probably can't do a lot to their management, seeing as how they're most likely in it for the money they get off of commisions (either that, or they're getting hammered by upper management with punishments, and probably want to get out anyways). So, we gotta figure out how to get the lower ranking guys into debates with us. Not all of them are going to stand outside with signs saying "TALK TO ME!" like Billy Sheehan did for Magoo and WBM.

    My best bet would be to have one or two more mature Anon standing away from the protests but still within line of sight to the org's windows with signs saying "I just want to talk to you." If the scilons aren't lured out by that, well... maybe the delicious cake we have prepared for the 15th will do the trick? A bit of incentive to come out?
  10. lermanet_com Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    All scientologists like "The Data Series" which is sort of a 8 point , abbreviated Logical Fallacy guide, with, like all classic CONfidence scammers,the most important data omitted.. like ad-hominem. Scientologists already know that they can find the WHO with these..8 steps.. the person who is causing trouble.. eg the person who is waking up from Hubbard's trance..

    Tell a scientologist that there are 100 or more of these things and that the use of Fallacious Argument is how they were conned by hubbard into believing him in the first place. Tell them that if instead of using just 8 of them they used all of them, as described on various Logical Fallacy pages, they can find the real WHO..

    Which, of course, was HUBBARD

    I did.

  11. Tom Socrates Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    I think a good tactic would be to compile a list of fallacious statements used by the CoS and point out which fallacies apply.

    One such example would be the what are your crimes attack. This is a clear example of the ad hom, as it ignores the argument in favor of labeling the arguer a criminal.

    I'll try to put more examples in future Daily Fallacies.
  12. musketeerwang Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    I think it's worth noting that ad hominem applies to argument. If you wish to simply call David Miscavige, Tom Cruise, or even Hubbard himself a true bunch of cunts, you're not making an argumentum ad hominem.

    More a statement of fact. :D
  13. lermanet_com Member

    Re: Daily Fallacy: Ad Hominem

    yes VERY good distinction, when the technique is used to deflect during argument, it is Ad Hominem
  14. Thank you. A sort of reverse ad hominem tends to take place now; If one makes any mention of fascism or Nazi practices, one's argument is invalidated. It is necessary to learn from history and be vigilant and not allow dangerous fascist ideas to spread in the name of expediency, morality, or nationalism. No one should be calling another commenter Hilter on a message board, but bringing up worrying similarities between fascism of the past and present ideology is necessary to maintain liberty, not reason for dismissal.
  15. Anonymous Member

    • Like Like x 2
  16. I don't get this.
  17. Ersatz Global Moderator

    Welcome! Sometimes humor here doesn't always resonate with everyone. Look around, read more, you'll get the hang of it.
  18. Ogsonofgroo Member

    Welcome! Takes some getting use to. Read.


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