Ad Hominem Attacks
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15-12-2014, 12:54 PM (This post was last modified: 15-12-2014 01:03 PM by Mr. Boston.)
Ad Hominem Attacks
I've been called out on lots of other forums I frequent, guitar forums, home-brewing forums, etc. for engaging in "ad hominem attacks" when religion inevitably comes up and I waste no opportunity in ripping theism to shreds.

It's my view that I can chide and attack someone's sincerely held beliefs ruthlessly and that does NOT qualify as attacking THE PERSON as an individual. Just because someone holds unsubstantiated beliefs, which (like any set of ideas) ought to be open to debate, attack, and even ridicule, does not mean I'm attacking or ridiculing the person himself. At least I don't think it does. My view is I'm not attacking their physical characteristics, their race, age, or anything else over which they have not control. I'm attacking the beliefs they choose to accept. I'm not even attacking them for making that choice necessarily, I'm just pointing out what I consider to be the illogical and ridiculous underpinnings of the ideas themselves.

My take is that if they can love the sinner and hate the sin I can respect the believer and attack the beliefs.

What's your take? Is an attack on someone's beliefs automatically an attack on the person himself or is there a distinction?
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15-12-2014, 01:16 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
People often take it that way.

If someone asserts that brewing with extract only is just as good as all grain brewing, calling it stupid or uneducated wouldn't be an ad-hom at all.

Tell them that Noah is a myth and point out why, or explain the mountain of evidence supporting a planet that's millions of years old, and they accuse you of attacking their belief.

Facepalm


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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15-12-2014, 01:22 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
Maybe someone better trained in debating and the logical fallacies can correct me if I'm wrong but to me there's a big difference between saying:

A) Your beliefs are foolish

And;

B) You are foolish for believing

The first is not an ad-hominem attack, the second is.
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15-12-2014, 01:23 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
Belief is often incorporated into a person's self identity, so attacking the belief will be taken as an attack on the person. It can't be helped - and the problem isn't the attacker's, it's the dimwit's who made a belief part of his self identity. Of course, we're all dimwits in that regard to more or lesser degree: belief is the central intellectual engine of how we cope with the world, and our intellect IS who we are.

But a particular belief doesn't have to be part of one's identity, and it leads to trouble every time it's done. So, either we refrain from attacking ideas because it will always offend some dimwit who's made that idea a component of his self-identity, or we recognize that offense is unavoidable, and that the person whose problem that is needs to mature. Most of the time, maturity comes from being upset. So upset them, and accelerate the maturation process.
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15-12-2014, 02:44 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
(15-12-2014 01:22 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  Maybe someone better trained in debating and the logical fallacies can correct me if I'm wrong but to me there's a big difference between saying:

A) Your beliefs are foolish

And;

B) You are foolish for believing

The first is not an ad-hominem attack, the second is.

Even then it's still not really an ad-hom. If you say "you are foolish for believing therefore your claim on (insert unrelated subject) is wrong" then that's an ad-hom.

Hate the belief, love the believer.
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15-12-2014, 02:51 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
(15-12-2014 02:44 PM)Elder Cunningham Wrote:  
(15-12-2014 01:22 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  Maybe someone better trained in debating and the logical fallacies can correct me if I'm wrong but to me there's a big difference between saying:

A) Your beliefs are foolish

And;

B) You are foolish for believing

The first is not an ad-hominem attack, the second is.

Even then it's still not really an ad-hom. If you say "you are foolish for believing therefore your claim on (insert unrelated subject) is wrong" then that's an ad-hom.

Got it! Right on EC.
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15-12-2014, 03:25 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
(15-12-2014 12:54 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  What's your take? Is an attack on someone's beliefs automatically an attack on the person himself or is there a distinction?

My take is this, consider the sort of theists that come on Atheists forums, and find the type that best represents how you might come off on Christian forums, in tone, and respectfullness. If the sort of theist is one you can't stand, find irritating, or annoying, and want to punch in the face, then this is likely how theists on the Christian forum would feel towards you.
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15-12-2014, 03:38 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
If you attack a theist relevant to his arguments, this is not ad hominem.
If you shift to attacking the fact that he may be promiscuous,or other not directly relevant aspect, it is.Drinking Beverage
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15-12-2014, 03:43 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
(15-12-2014 03:25 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(15-12-2014 12:54 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  What's your take? Is an attack on someone's beliefs automatically an attack on the person himself or is there a distinction?

My take is this, consider the sort of theists that come on Atheists forums, and find the type that best represents how you might come off on Christian forums, in tone, and respectfullness. If the sort of theist is one you can't stand, find irritating, or annoying, and want to punch in the face, then this is likely how theists on the Christian forum would feel towards you.

Where participant in all types of forums resort to abuse, it quite often indicates their own personal frustration and frail egos, rather than gaping holes in the arguments presented by their opponents...........
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15-12-2014, 04:00 PM
RE: Ad Hominem Attacks
Ad Hominem Attacks ...

I think they're fun.
As long as you have a point to make also ... go for it.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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