I keep seeing people invoking “ad hominem” as if it is some sort of magic word that totally invalidates any argument.
Like… “ABRACADABRA! You’re wrong now!”
Often they don’t even understand what it means. They aren’t great at understanding when to use it. And they don’t realize that challenging their personal beliefs is not the same as randomly insulting them.
This goes for all of the “debate etiquette” rules. Every time I hear “logical fallacy” I just roll my eyes now. It can be a useful term, but lately when I see it, people are usually using it in bad faith.
Not everyone is going to make a perfect argument that follows some made up code of conduct. If the only way you can dismantle what someone says is to point out disqualifications as if they are in some sort of high school debate competition… then maybe you don’t have confidence in your own ideas and beliefs.
Honest debate can be messy and emotional and it might not always be rooted in perfect Vulcan logic. I do think it is important to try and have accurate facts to back up what you say and to consider other viewpoints before taking a solid position. But trying to discount someone’s point of view on a technicality is super dumb and people who do it are total idiots.
BOOM! AD HOMINEM’D!
Froggy why are you hanging out in Fl@t Earth subreddits. Nothing good ever comes from there.