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Today’s Fallacy of Argument, II

Jul 122011
 
 By , July 12, 2011

Presented as a public service to empower the reader with defense mechanisms before the election season’s deluge of bovine fecal matter.

Argumentum ad Hominem

To attack the person with whom you disagree instead of refuting his argument.

For example: “Senator X is a Communist because he proposes single payer health care”.

or

“Mr. Turing believes that machines can think, but he is a homosexual so his proposal is the product of a diseased mind.”

Whether or not Senator X is a Communist or Alan Turing is Gay has no bearing at all on the soundness of their ideas. Both Communists and Gays are quite capable of making valuable contributions to society.

In the England the solicitor and the barrister each handle different functions of the task performed by attorneys in America. There was once a case in which the solicitor handed a file folder to the barrister just as the trial was about to begin. Inside the folder was a single piece of paper upon which was written:

No case.
Abuse the defendant’s attorney.

This is the most important fallacy of argument to learn to recognize, as it is the one most often broken. Nearly all attack ads aired during an election campaign are some form of ad Hominem attack. Rush Limbaugh spits them out like an AK-47.

Another commonly used one is mocking vegetarians who wear leather shoes. The benefits of a meat-free diet are totally unrelated to ones choice in footwear.

Be seeing you.

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The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture. Philip Posehn's main blog is at The Town Scryer.
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