Ad hominem abusive

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Ad hominem abusive or abusive ad hominem attacks are a subset of ad hominem attacks. An ad hominem attacks the person making the argument or the source of the argument rather than the argument itself. Abusive ad hominem attacks are insults directed at the source of an argument or counter-argument.

Examples

  • "Why would you believe Bob's story? Bob's such an idiot, he walks into walls!"

This statement is fallacious because while Bob may have lost a few brain cells by walking into walls, it doesn't mean he's a liar, stupid or mistaken.

  • "Nothing atheists say can be trusted because they're dirty lying scumbags."

This statement is fallacious because most atheists are usually truthful, are usually good people, and usually shower or bathe. Equating atheists with distasteful practices is a fallacy because it is usually untrue.

Incidentally Christians have at some times in history seen parasite infestation as a mark of saintliness, St Francis was a notable example.
Insects," i. e. lice, were an unfailing token of medieval sainthood. [1]

Non-examples

  • "You are utterly ignorant of evolution, so I should not take your views on biology seriously."

This is not an abusive ad hominem attack because it has serious bearing on the quality of the argument being put forward. If one has no knowledge of the current scientific theory of evolution, it follows that they likely have no knowledge of the rest of the field of biology.

  • "You're an idiot. Obviously, the God of the Bible is a complete prick, and it's demonstrated in the Old and New Testaments."

This is not an abusive ad hominem attack because although unnecessary verbal abuse was used, the argument remains valid.


v · d Logical fallacies
v · d Formal fallacies
Propositional logic   Affirming a disjunct · Affirming the consequent · Argument from fallacy · False dilemma · Denying the antecedent
Quantificational logic   Existential fallacy · Illicit conversion · Proof by example · Quantifier shift
Syllogistic   Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise · Exclusive premises · Necessity · Four-term Fallacy · Illicit major · Illicit minor · Undistributed middle
v · d Faulty generalisations
General   Begging the question · Gambler's fallacy · Slippery slope · Equivocation · argumentum verbosium
Distribution fallacies   Fallacy of composition · Fallacy of division
Data mining   Cherry picking · Accident fallacy · Spotlight fallacy · Hasty generalization · Special pleading
Causation fallacies   Post hoc ergo propter hoc · Retrospective determinism · Suppressed correlative · Wrong direction
Ontological fallacies   Fallacy of reification · Pathetic fallacy · Loki's Wager
v · d False relevance
Appeals   Appeal to authority · Appeal to consequences · Appeal to emotion · Appeal to motive · Appeal to novelty · Appeal to tradition · Appeal to pity · Appeal to popularity · Appeal to poverty · Appeal to spite · Appeal to wealth · Sentimental fallacy · Argumentum ad baculum
Ad hominem   Ad hominem abusive · Reductio ad Hitlerum · Judgmental language · Straw man · Tu quoque
Genetic Fallacies   Genetic fallacy · Chronological snobbery · Association fallacy · Appeal to tradition · Texas sharpshooter fallacy
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