...and all this is to whom?

email: encyclical at gmail.com

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Is what someone says invalidated by either who they are/were or what they erroneously said about another area?

I wouldn't think so as the logic or truth of an argument on it's own should be able to be supported by the very logic or truth of the actual subject, which is the argument, not the person. Yet, when discussing facts, ideas, "truths" with someone of a different mindset they try and attack the person rather than the idea. Either because the issue is too hard to tackle or just that it is their habit to do so. It's a fairly petty tactic but it does have its draw too. One could argue that the idea itself only could have taken form in the mind along with the other wrong assumptions they made or mistakes they committed. The problem is getting drawn into that sort of argumentation in the first place. If I hold what some historical figure said to be of value, and someone attacks that persons life or ideas in another area I have to make a choice. I could start to irrationally defend the person to preserve my initial point or laugh at that sort of logic. Ignore what the person said and just say this: If I said that I spoke a certain idea, or that a friend had whom the "attacker" did not know, then they would only be able to discuss with me what was brought up. They would not be able to bring up other, round-about arguments that deflect attention from what was being discussed. In other words I am discussing an "ad-hominim" argument.

I could have simply written a post that read: "I hate when someone uses an ad-hominim argument!" But that wouldn't have been enough for some reason. ;)


  • At 28 October, 2006 13:31, Blogger diogo said…

    I do believe that defacing a person's character should not be a valid argument for debunking any and all points one may have.

    That said, should a comment be validated by who said it? Without taking credit, why is it common place to quote someone with credentials that had or has the same option as yourself?(comment on society, no one specifically).

    Removing science and math from the conversation, or any absolute proven truth, not that there are many, why can't a statement be analyzed by its own merit if it’s a personal opinion or social commentary. Without stating "and in the words of", for we all know if one expert says one thing you can easily find another that says the opposite.

  • At 28 October, 2006 17:10, Blogger Sj said…

    Right, like the Federal Conservative party dropping the Canadian GST by 1%. They had their economists (etc) talking about how it is the greatest thing to do, and then the Liberal party had THEIR experts say why it isn't. Most of these people went to school together..so it's all a matter of interpretation of social law or what people will do when they hear they have this or that % drop etc. Not what the true effect will be because frankly you can't really know.

    Merci Diogo

  • At 31 October, 2006 10:21, Blogger Suzy said…

    The reason the "ad-hominim" works and is used in many circumstances is because we let it affect us. How many people are willing to do anything someone in a uniform or a white coat tells them to do no matter how illogical it seems? Its a totally different topic but people's authoririy does affect us even WHEN its not their field!!!

  • At 31 October, 2006 22:50, Anonymous Tina said…

    I just realized I how rarely I comment on Steve's blog. I could just have said Hi, but as Steve says, "that wouldn't have been enough for some reason. ;)"

  • At 01 November, 2006 08:45, Blogger Sj said…

    You know Tina, at first I was going to berate you for not commenting on the subject of the post at hand but..then I saw that in your way you did, didn't you?



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