In which I consider the nature of ad hominem “arguments”, rather than reasoned debate, and the allegedly shifting views of a major Scottish organisation on free speech. Why did the Sun decide not to serialise the upcoming book by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain? What if anything will the Sun do about receiving “the kind of disgusting abuse that sadly infects some of Scottish football’s blogs and forums”? Finally, are the Offensive Behaviour and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act and the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act still in force, or have they been secretly repealed?
An ad hominem is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or unrelated belief of the person supporting it. There are various varieties of ad hominem argument, including the circumstantial, the tu quoque and the argument of guilt by association. Continue reading