A common tactic to squash dissent.
Originally posted on Abagond:
The ad hominem argument is where you seek to discredit someone’s argument by drawing attention to their motive, character, authority, education, age, state of mind, etc., rather than showing what is wrong with the argument itself. It is one of the most common logical fallacies and ways to derail an argument.
For example, if a senator argues for a pay raise you might say:
Of course he would say that. He’s a senator.
It is a logical fallacy, a fault in reasoning, because it fails to point out what is wrong with the senator’s argument. Arguments stand or fall on their own merits, not on who made them and why.
That applies even to arguments made by authorities and experts. Good ideas often come from outsiders. If the argument is wrong there will be a mistake in it somewhere – no matter who made it.
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