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  • False Conversion
  • False Dilemma
  • False Effect
  • Far-Fetched Hypothesis
  • Faulty Comparison
  • Gambler’s Fallacy
  • Genetic Fallacy
  • Hasty Generalization
  • Having Your Cake
  • Hedging
  • Historian’s Fallacy
  • Homunculus Fallacy
  • Hypnotic Bait and Switch
  • Hypothesis Contrary to Fact
  • The Fallacies: If–Mu
  • If-By-Whiskey
  • Illicit Contraposition
  • Illicit Major
  • Illicit Minor
  • Illicit Substitution of Identicals
  • Inconsistency
  • Inflation of Conflict
  • Jumping to Conclusions
  • Just Because Fallacy*
  • Just In Case Fallacy
  • Least Plausible Hypothesis
  • Limited Depth
  • Limited Scope
  • Logic Chopping
  • Ludic Fallacy
  • Lying with Statistics
  • Magical Thinking
  • Meaningless Question
  • Misleading Vividness
  • Missing Data Fallacy*
  • Modal (Scope) Fallacy
  • Moralistic Fallacy
  • Moving the Goalposts
  • Multiple Comparisons Fallacy
  • The Fallacies: Na–Ri
  • Naturalistic Fallacy
  • Negating Antecedent and Consequent
  • Negative Conclusion from Affirmative Premises
  • Nirvana Fallacy
  • No True Scotsman
  • Non Sequitur
  • Notable Effort
  • Overwhelming Exception
  • Package-Deal Fallacy
  • Poisoning the Well
  • Political Correctness Fallacy
  • Post-Designation
  • Prejudicial Language
  • Proof by Intimidation
  • Proving Non-Existence
  • Quantifier-Shift Fallacy
  • Quantum Physics Fallacy*
  • Questionable Cause
  • Rationalization
  • Red Herring
  • Reductio ad Absurdum
  • Reductio ad Hitlerum
  • Regression Fallacy
  • Reification
  • Relative Privation
  • Retrogressive Causation
  • Rights To Ought Fallacy*
  • The Fallacies: Sc–Wi
  • Scapegoating
  • Selective Attention
  • Self-Sealing Argument
  • Shoehorning
  • Slippery Slope
  • Special Pleading
  • Spiritual Fallacy*
  • Spotlight Fallacy
  • Statement of Conversion
  • Stereotyping
  • Stolen Concept Fallacy
  • Strawman Fallacy
  • Style Over Substance
  • Subjectivist Fallacy
  • Subverted Support
  • Sunk-Cost Fallacy
  • Suppressed Correlative
  • Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy
  • Tokenism
  • Two Wrongs Make a Right
  • Unfalsifiability
  • Unwarranted Contrast
  • Use-Mention Error
  • Weak Analogy
  • Willed Ignorance
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Ad Hominem (Abusive)

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    argumentum ad hominem

    (also known as:  personal abuse, personal attacks, abusive fallacy, damning the source, name calling, needling [form of], refutation by character)

    Description: Attacking the person making the argument, rather than the argument itself, when the attack on the person is completely irrelevant to the argument the person is making.

    Logical Form:

    Person 1 is claiming Y.

    Person 1 is a moron.

    Therefore, Y is not true.

    Example #1:

    My opponent suggests that lowering taxes will be a good idea -- this is coming from a woman who eats a pint of Ben and Jerry’s each night!

    Explanation: The fact that the woman loves her ice cream, has nothing to do with the lowering of taxes, and therefore, is irrelevant to the argument.  Ad hominem attacks are usually made out of desperation when one cannot find a decent counter argument.

    Example #2:

    Tony wants us to believe that the origin of life was an “accident”.  Tony is a godless SOB who has spent more time in jail than in church, so the only information we should consider from him is the best way to make license plates.

    Explanation: Tony may be a godless SOB.  Perhaps he did spend more time in the joint than in church, but all this is irrelevant to his argument or truth of his claim as to the origin of life.

    Exception: When the attack on the person is relevant to the argument, it is not a fallacy.  In our first example, if the issue being debated was the elimination of taxes only on Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, then pointing out her eating habits would be strong evidence of a conflict of interest.

    Tip: When others verbally attack you, take it as a compliment to the quality of your argument.  It is usually a sign of desperation on their part.

    Variation: Needling is attempting to make the other person angry, taking attention off of the argument and perhaps even making the other person look foolish.





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