Ad hominem attacks
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07-07-2015, 06:50 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2015 06:54 PM by TheInquisition.)
RE: Ad hominem attacks
(07-07-2015 02:32 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  I know this is an old thread and I'm resurrecting it because I've noticed that I'm starting to struggle this as I traverse into atheism.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...em-Attacks

I feel I run across more threads where we (and yes, I'm saying I do it also) simply attack a person and not their belief.

Example:

Christian: I believe God created the earth in six days, it says so here in the bible.
Non-believer: You are a fucking retard. That is is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life, written by nitwits who had no fucking clue how the world worked. If you still believe that shit you need your head examined or I need to hit you with a hammer to knock some sense in you. Fucking nobhead!

This approach really bothers me and from what I have seen can cause theists to burrow in their beliefs even more so because of the attacks.

Why do we so often resort to this? Is it because of frustration from dealing with the same arguments over and over again? Do we feel superior to theists because we think we've got our shit figured out?

I'm curious....

I think it's partly frustration, I personally try to stay away from ad-hominem attacks, there's a certain theist that I have an intense personal dislike for and it's very hard to maintain civility. Someone that's neck-deep in un-examined presuppositions needs to be shocked back to reality, needs to know that your deeply held beliefs engender ZERO deference or respect, quite the opposite in fact.

We get our fair share of kooks on this forum:

Greetings, atheists, I am Christ

Atheists forums seem to attract the dregs of the insane theists, each one thinks they have it all figured out, if only we could be led to the Truth by a theist that's been led by gawd to show us the light.

They can go fuck themselves! Bunch of passive-agressive pricks!

Haha! I'm a little buzzed right now. Big GrinBig Grin

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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07-07-2015, 07:07 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
I was listening to the Everyone's Agnostic podcast, and they said something along the lines of "The best way to change people's minds isn't through argument, or even logic, but through relationships."

I think that's true a lot of the time, and the most counterproductive way to change someone's mind is to start off by calling them a dumbass.

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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07-07-2015, 07:09 PM (This post was last modified: 08-07-2015 02:57 AM by Anjele.)
RE: Ad hominem attacks
(07-07-2015 05:50 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  I loved your reply Banjo.

Personally I am not struggling with atheism. I'm about 95% sure to stay. Ieave a 5% chance brand new evidence surfaces to change my mind but I doubt it will.

I just have trouble with the way some atheist treat others. You're response answers my questions of why, for you, and was exactly the discussion I was attempting to invoke with this thread.

You can replace 'atheist' with any other group.

It's not an atheist thing...it's a people thing.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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07-07-2015, 07:39 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
Quote:Christian: I believe God created the earth in six days, it says so here in the bible.
Non-believer: You are a fucking retard. That is is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life, written by nitwits who had no fucking clue how the world worked.


I think I see your problem. Had the reply ended at "retard" it would, in fact, have been an ad hominem. However, because the respondent went on to explain to the retard WHY he was a retard the ad hominem is thereby modified by the inclusion of factual information for the betterment of the retard.

Retards who never learn anything remain retards.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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07-07-2015, 07:45 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
most theists/creationists willing to debate feel pretty strong about their belief system, and have no intent to actually have an open minded intellectual discourse about anything related to their faith. Depending on my patience level that day and their approach whether I kick them in the face with sarcasm laced disdain, or gently lead them in for the slaughter. But you are correct, they just shut down and any chance of reaching them is lost if you come at them with the typical sarcastic back hands. Peter Boghossian's Manual for creating atheists is an excellent book for this topic, and makes the same point.

Boghossian, Peter. A manual for creating atheists. Durham, NC. Pitchstone Publishing. 2013. Print.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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07-07-2015, 08:07 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
Because ad hominem is a fallacy so claiming someone committed an ad hominen instead of an argument is a quick way to "win" an argument, albeit, illegitimately. That is, they confuse insult for ad hominen fallacy when the two are different. Even the extreme example you posted is not at ad hominem. A weak argument perhaps, but let's break it down:

"Non-believer: You are a fucking retard. That is is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life, written by nitwits who had no fucking clue how the world worked. If you still believe that shit you need your head examined or I need to hit you with a hammer to knock some sense in you. Fucking nobhead!"

The bolded is an argument. It's saying that it (which I'm assuming is the Bible) was written by people (presumably from context, he's implying they're errant people who didn't have divine inspiration). Yes, the claim is surrounded by insults, but insults themselves are not an argument. Granted, the argument lacks support, i.e. providing evidence for why the Bible was written by errant people who didn't have divinde inspiration, but that's an issue separate from ad hominem.

I'll go ahead and put this link here, because the examples here really drive home what an ad hominem is and isn't. Somewhat ironically, claiming an insult is an ad hominen even if there's legitimate claims surrounded by the insult is itself an ad hominem.
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07-07-2015, 08:09 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
(07-07-2015 02:45 PM)Dom Wrote:  I think it happens because people have to repress their comments a lot in real life and this is a way to vent.
Yes, I'm wondering if it is more likely to come from American atheists particularly from the Bible belt because atheist are so repressed and abused there. Perhaps forums like this become a payback time thing??
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07-07-2015, 08:41 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
(07-07-2015 05:50 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  I loved your reply Banjo.

Personally I am not struggling with atheism. I'm about 95% sure to stay. Ieave a 5% chance brand new evidence surfaces to change my mind but I doubt it will.

I just have trouble with the way some atheist treat others. You're response answers my questions of why, for you, and was exactly the discussion I was attempting to invoke with this thread.

Cheers mate.

I know I am not at my best. (Just returned from the hospital in fact, 2 minutes ago). I am certainly not the man I was. I am usually extremely patient. As an example, I am the only musician at my level I know who is willing to teach young children.

The trolls are the problem here as far as I can tell. As I already mentioned.

I get where you are coming from and I respect it and I respect that you created this thread.

Some members are very new to atheism. As can be seen in the deconverted threads. In which I do not take part. I have zero experience in that area and see myself as worthless, other than saying something like good luck.

I will gladly help anyone who is sincere. I will happily debate when I have the strength. Sadly my body is consumed by cancer and it is not as easy as it once was.

Threads totally devoted to "I'm pissed off because of a personal issue at the site..." I do not take seriously. This is the internet after all and websites are everywhere and anyone can come and go at their choosing. So I post images of a potato or something. Simply because to me, it is ludicrous. Having been on the internet battling religion since the very early days, it is often hard to take those things seriously. And life is harder than the internet and both should be separated in my view. Although here I have used my own name and made my disease public. I am not hiding anything.

If there is anything i can do or offer, I will do it. And anyone serious who wishes my email can have it. I am always willing to help.

Cheers mate. Dale.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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07-07-2015, 08:49 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
(07-07-2015 04:11 PM)Szuchow Wrote:  Example would be more realistic if believer would have started with bullshit about hell I think. Such approach is indeed countrproductive and simply rude, but I don't care if theist who hear it would cling more to his delusion.

As for why frustration could be the case, also atheist could be a jerk. However at some point such answer could be fitting as there is no point in arguing with one who is indoctrinated.

About feeling superior, don't know about the others but for me it's rather pity than something else. If I would be subjected to indoctrination then I probably would spout nonsense like this; I was not, but others weren't so lucky. So it's not superiority but pity as it's not (entirelly?) believer fault. However to be honest sometimes I can help but feel superior, but it takes extreme religious idiocy.


I enjoyed your answer, but I am always careful of pity. I agree with the below.

“Pity preserves things that are ripe for decline, it defends things that have been disowned and condemned by life, and it gives a depressive and questionable character to life itself by keeping alive an abundance of failures of every type. People have dared to call pity a virtue… people have gone even further, making it into the virtue, the foundation and source of all virtues, - but of course you always have to keep in mind that this was the perspective of a nihilistic philosophy that inscribed the negation of life on its shield. Schopenhauer was right here: pity negates life, it makes life worthy of negation, - pity is the practice of nihilism. Once more: this depressive and contagious instinct runs counter to the instincts that preserve and enhance the value of life: by multiplying misery just as much as by conserving everything miserable, pity is one of the main tools used to increase decadence - pity wins people over to nothingness! … You do not say ‘nothingness’ : instead you say ‘the beyond’; or ‘God’; or ‘the true life’; or nirvana, salvation, blessedness … This innocent rhetoric from the realm of religious-moral idiosyncrasy suddenly appears much less innocent when you see precisely which tendencies are wrapped up inside these sublime words: tendencies hostile to life.”


― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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07-07-2015, 09:22 PM
RE: Ad hominem attacks
The problem with it is that you can write out a long and well detailed response full of thoughtful examples, solid logic, evidence beyond question and have it hand waved away with "no I don't think that's right." or a "...but the Bible says..." which is just frustrating. Now have that happen a hundred times. Patience has it's limits and rightfully so.

In the modern age, with access to provable evidence, to believe what some of these people believe requires in many cases an active participation in willful self-ignorance. Willful ignorance is hideous and destructive and should be dealt with as such.

It is held that valour is the chiefest virtue and most dignifies the haver.
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