Argumentum ad baculum

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Argumentum ad baculum ("argument from force") is the fallacy committed when one appeals to force or the threat of force to bring about the acceptance of a claim.


  • "Give me all your money or I'll kill you."
  • "If you don't believe in God, you'll go to hell when you die."
  • "If you stop believing in Islam, Sharia law says you must be killed."


This is an emotional argument, not a logical one. The person making the threat is making no argument for the truth of their claim. This fallacy is related to the argument from adverse consequences (the adverse consequence in question being punishment).

Since this technique is an attempt to intimidate or frighten the target of the argument, it is a variety of the appeal to emotion.

Today, many people feel uncomfortable making such direct threats as the ones listed in the examples. However, believers still often make veiled threats, such as "don't you ever worry about what'll happen to you when you die?"

See also

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