Ad Hominem reasoning is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by not confronting the claim itself but by pointing out a perceived or realistic negative characteristic in the person making the assertion in order to negate or dismiss their claim. In other words, Ad Hominem reasoning occurs when you attack your opponent’s personality and character rather than engaging in the argument at hand. Ad Hominem reasoning says, “You are not loving, therefore, what you are saying is simply not true.”
Here is how Ad Hominem reasoning works! With the heated Chick-fil-A debate it seems that when a traditional-marriage person offers up an insight or opinion there is a quick response by some to label him or her a, “hater.” Personally I believe the term, “hater,” is an overused word that allows for individuals to avoid rich and civil conversation in light of well-structured reasoning, facts and insights. Jumping to label someone a, “hater,” is an easy way to slap a label on someone in order to avoid healthy debate and proper understanding. Keep in mind that understanding must always precede criticism.
For example, let’s say that John is in the midst of a civil debate with Susan on the issue of marriage. During the conversation John offers an important factually grounded statement that Susan has not considered. After making the statement Susan fires back, “Why on earth am I dealing or talking to you. People like you are narrow-minded and I simply refuse to be the target of your hate, condemnation and false hurtful reasoning!” John has just received Ad Hominem reasoning.
Ad Hominem reasoning is most painful and detrimental for both parties because:
- It moves the discussion away from a specific subject to personal attacks.
- Typically, once the “Ad Hominem” shift has happened the other person in the conversation retaliates back with a personal attack, thus increasing hostility in the discussion.
- It avoids addressing the issue at hand, it is a tactic to dodge the real issue.
- Often times personal characteristic that have no relationship towards a particular subject are used as basis to validate assertions as true or false.
- It can be used as a justification why a person is believed to be wrong.
Now keep in mind that there are times when a person is truly a jerk yet their argument and position are true. There are also times when a person is a perfect sweet angel and their argument is dead wrong. In other words, one does not have to be nice to be right and one does not have to be mean to be wrong.
So keep in mind that just because a person is very loving, it doesn’t mean that they are right. Furthermore, just because a person is a jerk or may be a hater, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong.
So, do you like Chicken? If you do, don’t worry, that does not make you a hater.