Gary Johnston (not my real name) says, “People have been dying mysteriously ever since the vaccine rollout.”
“Nonsense!” says Dr. Establishment. Gary Johnston is a conspiracy theorist.”
Dr. Establishment does not present any facts to prove Gary Johnston is talking nonsense. Dr. Establishment calls Gary Johnston a conspiracy theorist. In other words, “What Gary Johnston said is not true because he is a conspiracy theorist.”
Ad hominem is Latin for to the person. It is a fallacious way of arguing. People have no facts to prove someone wrong, so they attack the person’s character or beliefs.
So what if Gary Johnston is a conspiracy theorist? Can you prove that what he says is false?
When I hear anyone using the ad hominem argument, I think of spaghetti and meatballs.
“What this person says is false because he or she does not like spaghetti and meatballs.”
Not liking spaghetti and meatballs is like being called a conspiracy theorist, anti-vaxxer, Nazi, communist, nose-picking-bed-wetter, etc.
Never mind attacking the person. Produce facts proving that what he or she says is wrong.
Alarms sound in my head when I hear Dr. Establishment accuse someone of not liking spaghetti and meatballs. It means that what the person is saying is likely true. Dr. Establishment has no facts to prove otherwise.