Why the ad hominem?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Dale-c, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. Dale-c

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    Why is it that there seems to be more ad hominem in this area of the BB (and this version/translations debate in general) than on any other Christian topic?

    I have my opinions on why this is but I would like to hear other opinions first.


    I should add that ad hominem occurs in every topic but it is just way overboard here more than any other topic, except for maybe politics but I don't even think so there.
    It seems the version/translation debate so often centers on the people doing the translation or the people who used the particular translation rather than on the translation itself.
     
    #1 Dale-c, Aug 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2009
  2. robycop3

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    Why? Because folx on BOTH SIDES of the KJVO issue are often at a loss to reply to the statements or questions of those from the other side. Therefore, insteada simply remaining silent, they launch an attack against the other side's messenger(s).

    I myself have been guilty of this.

    But please note from WHICH SIDE 3/4 of the ad-hominem comes from!
     
  3. sag38

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    Is this thread itself not "ad hominem?"
     
  4. Lux et veritas

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    You obviously must not be reading the threads between Calvinists / Arminians. There's a bit of ad hominem there too.
     
  5. Dale-c

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    I did think of that as well actually. I did spend a lot of time in those threads at one time.
    In fact I have started many threads on that in the past.

    There is ad hominem there of course but there is also legitimate discussion.

    Also, I am talking of the issues in general and not just on the BB.
    Books on Calvinism/Arminianism may use lousy exegesis and strawmen but typical KJVO books like NABV are almost entirely based on ad hominem.

    I believe the reason for this is that it is a totally extra biblical argument.

    The main way other translations are vilified by certain people is by degrading the translators.
    Even those who believe that the NASB is a good translation of a bad manuscript rely on the idea that cultists corrupted the alexandrian family of texts.

    Often time though, as Roby has said, such wild assertions are made that should be so easy to refute but rather we resort to showing how silly someone is for taking such an absurd position.

    I too am guilty of that.
     
  6. Dale-c

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    Can you show how it is?
    I am not attacking the character of a specific person, in fact I am not actually attacking any specific person at all. I am merely pointing out that these debates often degrade to personal attacks and I am trying to find out why.
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    This is a great reply. Just talking about this topic isn't a violation of the logical fallacy. To suggest otherwise misunderstands what an ad hominem.

    It is true that I've never seen people assail others like they do around here. Honestly I'm part of some secular boards that are more pleasant than this place. What bothers the most is that it seems to blatant that some points of view are excoriated over others, and that those who libel and blast others are ignored when the same isn't true vice versa. Just bothersome I guess.:thumbsup:
     
  8. Baptist4life

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    :thumbs: I thought I was the only one who noticed that! The mods apparently do not.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    It is not "ad hominem" to want to understand where a poster is coming from, his education, experience, church, etc. That just helps us put in context why he espouses a position/belief.

    Now if we attack him SOLELY on that basis and do not deal with the issue or question at hand, we have shifted to the ad hominem.

    Example: As you all know I think KJVonly is a divisive, schismatic sect (we cannot use the c*lt word by rule on the BB). I know certain schools that promote that position, attacking the precious doctrine of inspiration.

    So John Doe comes on and says "I am from xyz school" and we do not listen to his position but just attack him and his school, we do a disservice. He may have completely different positions now and we just link him (guilt by association) and tear down anything he said.

    BTW, I do this regularly. I know men and here their position over and over and have no time to listen to them. They are always wrong! And so I dismiss their words out-of-hand. I'm the one saying "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" ;)
     
  10. Dale-c

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    no it isn't! if you had half a brain you would know too!

    just kidding, but that is a rather basic form of ad hominem. There are more subtle ways of course that are more common
     
  11. Brian Bosse

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    Gentlemen,

    I was accused of an ad hominem attacks in another thread when I referred to someone's response to me as ungracious. I think this shows a misunderstanding of the ad hominem fallacy. To point out the ungraciousness of someone's response does not in itself commit this fallacy. Technically, the ad hominem fallacy occurs when you attempt to undermine an opponent's argument by attacking them personally instead of attacking their arguments. For example, "What Brian said is clearly wrong because Brian is overweight." This would be the ad hominem fallacy. But, to simply point out that I am overwight is not in itself a fallacy. (By the way, it is true that I am overweight. :()

    When I referred to the person mentioned above as being ungracious it was not done as a technique to undermine his argument by attacking him personally. I was simply trying to get this person to stop attributing negative intentions to me. So, my point here is that the ad hominem fallacy does not simply occur when someone points out something negative in someone else. It occurs when you are confronted with an argument from someone, and instead of attacking the argument you attack the person in an attempt to undermine the argument.

    Brian
     
  12. preachinjesus

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    From my interactions around here most people are unfamiliar with most logical fallacies in argumentation.

    Not being critical...just saying...:)
     
  13. robycop3

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    The definition of "ad-hominem" often depends upon how "touchy" one is, how open to criticism, etc.
     
  14. Thinkingstuff

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    I think its because the bible is the single source of authority for our beliefs. Therefore the our beliefs must be substantiated by the bible. And if I believe a certain thing then the translation must hold it to be true. If the translation questions an aspect of that belief then the believe must be re-visited or there is a problem with the translation. I believe if you take this view to a far extreme you have like the JW re-translate John 1 to saying " in the begining was the word and the word was with God and the Word was a God". To a lesser extent we get KJO which maintains (ole time r'ligion) type of thinking to be more correct than many current views. The fact is I think the Anglican Translators of the KJB would have been very surprised by the minority KJO baptist use of it.
     
  15. Dale-c

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    This is certainly true.

    Just one example though of ad hominem was when I was discussing a matter (not the KJVO issue) with someone and I sent him an article on the topic by a greek scholar.

    THe reply was not to show how this man's argument was wrong, but to state that this man also wrote "attacking the KJB" which was not really true either but it was a clear example of ad hominem.
    He did not try to deal with the arguments but rather attacked the man instead.
     
  16. Lux et veritas

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    First: Not all ad hominem arguments/responses are necessarily bad (for purposes of argumentation) or even evil.

    It depends on what kind of ad hominem is being employed. Is it:
    1. ad hominem abusive (technically called argumentum ad personam)
    2. ad hominem circumstantiae (circumstantial)
    3. ad hominem tu quoque (you too!)
    4. and then there's the "guilt by association" form of ad hominem.

    As I said, sometimes it is just viewed as ad hominem when it is a part of an argument. Not always. But sometimes.

    Interestingly the following was posted on another site (non-christian) about this matter. Worth reading...
    One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is "ad hominem". It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory.
     
  17. Benjamin

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    The philosophy of an argument begins with a subject, premise and conclusion. First we begin with a claim and an issue while having an argument upon giving reason for thinking a claim is true.

    What an argument isn’t is two simply people having a feud or fussing about something, as far as philosophical critical thinking goes.

    So in a structured argument or debate begins when a person has made claim and given reason for it to be true and the opposed party gives reason that it is not true.

    Premises on the subject of the claim are presented and may be disputed as to their validity. This is done by giving logical reasoning (the science of philosophy which draws out the truth) that the premise(s) for the claim are true or not. (valid)

    Often rhetorical devices are used which are not necessarily meant to draw out the truth but rather an attempt to persuade somebody of something, for example by using persuasive language.

    But in philosophy an argument is *NOT AN ATTEMPT TO BE PERSUASIVE*…it is an attempt to prove or support a conclusion.

    The Ad Hominem is something that deviates from the subject of the claim and is persuasive language meant to discredit the opposition by means of a personal attack on their character which does not prove either way the validity their claim; there is also the flip side of this that is less used called “positive ad hominem” which attempts to credit a claim based on the persons character.

    For the purposes of logical debate, and using the philosophical definition of an argument, you may attack a person’s conclusion based on flaws in the premises. You might say, your premises are jacked because of A, B and C. Further, it may even get perceived as a bit personal if you say, by attempting to distort your premises you are trying to prove validity using persuasive language and fallacy in your argument as far as logic goes….but that is not “ad hominem.

    If the person responds by simply saying, what you just said is an insult to me and you are being rude, uncharitable, and unjust for saying it, then the subject of the argument has gone to nothing more than an attempt to discredit the other’s argument through an attack of their character, it does not address the claims which have been made as per their truth or not, it is simply a personal attack by means of persuasive language…this represents an ad hominem. This type of defense is not a valid argument as far as logic is concerned.

    So anyway, when debating what is ad hominem it has to do with not only what one perceives as a personal attack but the subject and type of argument being presented meaning is it simply persuasive language to discredit or is it addressing the argument logically.
     
  18. Benjamin

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    Another way to look at this is that you presented a "positive ad hominem" by using the the "Greek scholar" to support your claim and the person with the oposing view questioned the "credibility" of the the "scholar" by showing the source to be either an interested party or not by his previous writings which you used to support your claim, which again, goes toward the burden of proof as to rather or not the source is credible. If you put the burden of proof on the opposition while presenting this source then he has a legitimate argument regarding credibility.
     

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