SHIELDS header banner /w logo



ad hominem


Dr. Louis Midgley
If one were to argue that X could not possibly know geology or Latin because they are Jewish or a woman, that would be an instance of the fallacy. . .

Dr. William Hamblin (in response to James White of A&O Ministries)
Ad hominem does not mean making insulting remarks, as you seem to think.  My saying you are an anti-Mormon is not an ad hominem.  If I were to say, "you are an anti-Mormon, therefore your views are wrong", that would be an ad Hominem.  Ad hominem is a logical fallacy.  It occurs when one argues as follows:

X is a Mormon
Mormons are evil
Therefore, X's argument is wrong.

It ignores the evidence and analysis that X presents for his case.  Even if X is evil, it does not mean his evidence and analysis are incorrect.  This is the ad hominem fallacy.  The classic example in the anti-Mormon world is:  "Show me a non-Mormon archaeologist who believes in the Book of Mormon."  The ad hominem is that Mormon archaeologists, *because they are Mormon* cannot present evidence and analysis on this matter.  Only non-Mormon views are permissible.  In fact, you engage in the ad hominem when you dismiss all the analysis of modern scholars *because* they are [allegedly] liberals.