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Philosopher: Ad hominem arguments okay – if against ID theorists

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Evolution News and Views

In “Anti-ID Philosopher: “Ad Hominem” Arguments “Justified” When Attacking Intelligent Design Proponents” (Evolution News & Views, June 4, 2012), Casey Luskin reports,

In 2008, philosopher Jeffrey Koperski published a fine article in the religion and science journal Zygon in which he argued that ad hominem attacks are a “bad way” to critique proponents of intelligent design. Why? Largely, he wrote, because they entail a logical fallacy — the genetic fallacy. That is, they address the origin of an argument rather than the argument itself. Now, Christopher A. Pynes, an associate professor of philosophy at Western Illinois University, has written a reply to Koperski. According to Pynes, contrary to the normal rules of respectable scholarly discourse, it is permissible to engage in ad hominem attacks — provided that you are attacking proponents of intelligent design.

The reason for this exception to the standard rule against logical fallacies, Pynes argues, is on account of the motives of ID’s proponents.

More. Luskin offers considerable evidence of the atheist sympathies of the current evolution establishment, 78% of whom are pure materialist atheists.

In any event: Ad hominem argument is always a bad way of making a decision because the relevance of information may be unrelated to how you come to hear it. But it is always related to how well it accounts for the evidence.

8 Replies to “Philosopher: Ad hominem arguments okay – if against ID theorists

  1. 1
    Deuce says:

    Of course, avoiding ad hominem argument isn’t merely a matter of professional courtesy. It’s a matter of arguing in a logically valid manner. So what we have here is yet another materialist telling us that the rules of logic are optional.

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    Just curious, but does anyone think that ad hominem arguments are effective?

    I think they actually hurt the evolutionist’s cause more than help.

    Most people who are objective are probably able to see through them I would think.

    Perhaps some people are influenced by them – influenced to avoid the points of view that invite the wrath and ridicule of scientists.

  3. 3
    Barb says:

    If they wish to use logically invalid ad hominem arguments, they may do so.

    I reserve the right to think that they are stupid for doing so and thus refuse to take anything they say seriously.

  4. 4
    MaxAug says:

    In my opinion, he makes it very clear the point is to bash Christians.

    But anyway, he could bash logically, or maybe he thinks they dont have much left other than insults.

  5. 5
    Chance Ratcliff says:

    @Barb, Lol!!!

  6. 6
    mike1962 says:

    Pynes position is essentially “ad hominem attacks are OK because ad hominem attacks are OK.”

  7. 7
    Blue_Savannah says:

    They can’t refute the challenges to their darwinian myth, so they attack those who make them…yep, that proves darwinism is a “scientific fact.”

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    Any story i ever read , non fiction or fiction, the bad guys always attack the nice guys with malice and establishments back them up contrary to usual standards.
    then the bad guys lose.
    I say bring on AD HOM’s.

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