Re: Glenn's ad hominems FAQ (was half-evolved feather pt 2)

Ed Brayton (
Tue, 19 May 1998 14:20:17 -0400

Stephen Jones wrote:
> Glenn
> On Wed, 13 May 1998 17:51:50 -0500, Glenn R. Morton wrote:
> [...]
> >GM>There are lots of skeletal differences. Some dinosaurs may have had
> >>>feathers.
> >SJ>Then why would they not be called birds?
> GM>Sigh. This is why I am giving up on you Stephen.
> I regard this as an ad hominem. When you get stuck for an answer you
> often assume a lofty tone prefaced by "Sigh", and blame the questioner.

Then you regard incorrectly. Do you not know what an ad hominem IS? Ad
hominem means dismissing an argument based on irrelevant characteristics
of the person making the argument - attacking the person instead of the
argument. An example of an ad hominem would be, "Mediate Creation is
nonsense because you are Australian and everyone knows Australians are
stupid." Or, "Evolution is bunk because evolutionists beat their wives".
Affecting what you perceive as a "lofty tone" is NOT an ad hominem
attack. Furthermore, Glenn is, in my view, correct in giving up on
trying to hold a conversation with you. I have rarely had an exchange
with a person who matches your presumptuousness. I gave up on trying to
hold a conversation with you (I am responding to this only to challenge
your claim that Glenn engages in ad hominem attacks, not because I
expect anything useful to come of it on your end of it) because you
jumped to the conclusion that I was "attempting to evade" your question
when, in fact, I was answering the question as you had written it
("Which theory do you advocate" is a very different question than
"Explain what you mean by evolution"; you asked the first). I even gave
you the opportunity to back away from that jumped-to conclusion and say,
"Perhaps I didn't word that the way I meant it. I meant to ask you to
explain your own conception of evolutionary theory", but you refused,
repeatedly. That you thereafter have the sheer nerve to accuse anyone
else of a "lofty tone" is staggering.

> Ed has challenged me to give examples of your ad hominems:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sun, 10 May 1998 23:00:59 -0400, Ed Brayton wrote:
> EB>Very well said, Glenn. If I were you, I would also demand that Stephen
> >post examples of the "constant stream of ad hominem attacks" that he
> >accused you of on Saturday. I have never seen such an example, and I
> >doubt that Stephen can find any in your e-mail messages.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> so from now on I will add them to a new thread called "Glenn's ad hominems
> FAQ", classified in alphabetical order. Here is the first:

Great idea. Perhaps I will start a new thread called "Stephen's rudeness
and misconceptions of the nature of logical fallacies FAQ", classified
in alphabetical order. Here are the first two examples:


1. "You answered the question that I wrote, but you didn't answer the
question I intended to write, so I will accuse you of "attempting to
evade" the question I intended to write and then refuse to back down
from this stance even when it is pointed out to me that the person was
simply answering the question as written"


1. "If I perceive it to be a 'lofty tone', I have been the victim of an
ad hominem attack. Don't ask me to define that, it's just a phrase that
strikes the proper mock outrage; I don't really have the foggiest idea
what it means."

This should be fun!