Ad Hominem, Poisoning the Well, Tu Quoque, Genetic Fallacy, Argument from Ancient Wisdom, and Naturalistic Fallacy

Fallacy 1

A:  Why should I believe what he says about our economy? He’s not even a citizen!

B:  You shouldn’t take her advice. She is so old!

C:  Why would you listen to him? He’s too young to have any wisdom about life.

D. “Trump’s immigration policy is sure to fail since he’s such a jerk.”

E. Hillary’s foreign policy will be a disaster since, as a woman, she’s likely to be too emotional.









Explanation of Ad hominem (against the person): When a claim is rejected or judged to be false based on an alleged character flaw of the person making the claim. Exception: denying someone’s claim by calling them a liar and they have a reputation for being one. A reverse ad hominem is when a claim is judged to be true based on the alleged source’s virtuous character. 


Fallacy 2

A. [Said to a woman]: The only reason you’re voting for Hillary is because she’s a woman too.

B. You’ve missed more than three assignments and will lose points on your final grade, so of course you think the homework policy is too strict.

C. Liz doesn’t like the taste of meat and thinks it’s gross. Of course she’s going to think eating meat is morally wrong.

D. The only reason he supports Trump’s tax plan is because he’s wealthy and stands to benefit from it.

E:  Of course Senator X thinks my administration’s tax proposals are bad for the country. After all, his political party lost the last election, and everyone knows that losers are jealous.

F:  Obviously you think prescription drugs should be available without a prescription.  You work for a pharmaceutical company and you make more money if more people buy more drugs.









Explanation of Circumstantial Ad Hominem: When someone’s conclusion or argument for the conclusion is dismissed because of that person’s motivations. In other words, we assume the person’s argument is bad or non-existent simply because their motivations align with the conclusion being true.  Just like with the regular ad hominem, there’s also a reverse circumstantial ad hominem.

Fallacy 3

A. The budget proposal was a product of the Cato Institute. Obviously, if it’s passed it will hurt the poor.

B. You can’t trust the results of these studies on drug X, they were funded by Pfizer.

C. Obama’s idea for the ACA came to him in a dream, so it must be horrible.

D. Killing is wrong because it says so in Holy Text X.

E. Green Peace has been fighting the advance of genetically engineered food for over 15 years. They are a reputable international environmental group with a proven track record. GMOs must be bad if they’re against them.

F. Most anti-vaccine groups are organized by mom’s. If mom’s are against vaccines, they’re surely bad for people.






Explanation of the Genetic Fallacy:  When a claim is supported or dismissed based on its source rather than evidence for or against the claim. Genetic fallacy is usually applied to groups and organizations. The genetic fallacy usually implies something about a group’s motivations or interests and how those influence that group’s position rather than the evidence for or against a conclusion. Just like the other above fallacies there’s also a reverse genetic fallacy: The claim/cause/conclusion is believed to be true simply because of a group’s motivations. 


Fallacy 4



B.  Tea Party Policy on Medicaid (Links to an external site.)

C.  The pastor said I shouldn’t cheat on my wife but I know he’s cheated on his wife many times.  So, why shouldn’t I cheat on mine?

D.  “You’re always telling us to do our homework and study. You didn’t do your homework regularly when you were in school.”

E.  Many Arab countries aren’t accepting refugees from Syria, so why on earth should we?




–Ironic, considering his monetary policies while running the Fed helped in a big way with that.

says the chief enabler of the last 30 years…

–Considering he was largely responsible for the architecture that allowed this, he really should simply close his mouth.

Explanation of Tu Quo Que (aka the hypocrite fallacy, latin for “you also”):  Another variety of ad hominem fallacy in which one person attempts to avoid the issue at hand by claiming the other person is a hypocrite.


Fallacy 5

A:  During the Vietnam era Monsanto made Agent Orange, and extremely toxic and evil chemical, and now we’re supposed to trust them with making our food? When they tell you GMOs are safe you should laugh in their face.

B:  Bob is a complete moron not only that but he’d steal from his own mother.  You shouldn’t believe him when he says he’ll help you with the garden.

C:  The tea party is made of irrational ideological extremists. When they present it, nobody should take their budget reform policies seriously.




Explanation of Poisoning the Well:  Pre-emptive ad hominem to discredit the source/opponent before they make their argument.

 (Links to an external site.)
Fallacy 6.

A: You should go see a chiropractor for your asthma. The spinal adjustment is all-natural and doesn’t use synthetic chemicals.

B:  This all-natural seaweed and kale juice will prevent you from getting sick.

C:  With GMOs, they take a gene from one organism and put it in another.  It ain’t natural!  GMOs must be bad for you.

Horizontal Gene Transfer (Links to an external site.)

D: (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)


Naturalistic Fallacy Type 1:  Health claims that are supported by the fact that a food or treatment is “natural”.  The fact that something is “natural” doesn’t tell us one way or another whether it is safe or efficacious.  

Fun fact: The majority of companies the FDA sent warning letters (Links to an external site.) to were selling “natural” products. See also study (Links to an external site.) and article (Links to an external site.)

Many “all-natural” products are in fact adulterated with real drugs (Links to an external site.) (so they actually work)–especially “all-natural” “male enhancement” pills (Links to an external site.).

Fallacy 7

A.  Women have smaller brain mass and are physically weaker so they shouldn’t be equal to men.

B.  Homosexuality isn’t natural, so it’s wrong.

C.  Infanticide is practiced by just about every species, therefore it’s morally right.

infanticide in animals (Links to an external site.)

Naturalistic Fallacy Type 2:  Arguing from a descriptive claim to a value or moral claim: Since something is natural for animals/people to do then it’s morally right. It can also be used for the contrary; that is, if something is unnatural then it’s morally bad.

Fallacy 8

Type 1:

A:  The ancient Chinese have used acupuncture for 1000s of years to cure all sorts of ailments–it must work.

The fruit of the Graviola Guanabana Soursop (Annona muricata L.) tree has been treasured for thousands of years by the inhabitants of the Caribbean, Central America and select tropical regions throughout the world. The warm climate and nutrient rich soil guarantee nearly perfect conditions for these trees to blossom. The White flesh of the green prickly fruit is juicy and aromatic.
Our antioxidant rich elixir offers the synergy of Graviola, Certified Organic Mangosteen, Aloe Vera and Nopal to promote healthy living*.

Nopal is regarded worldwide as a nutritional goldmine and its cactus “pad” has been used as a daily food*.
Aloe Vera is been used for centuries to promote health living*.
Mangosteen is grown in As

Soup sop juice (Links to an external site.)

C: Sea buckthorn is a known antioxidant used internally and topically for centuries. It may provide nutritive support for healthy regeneration of skin and mucous membranes, immune functions and cardiovascular health.

 Buckthorn (Links to an external site.)

Type 2:

D*:  Women have always worked in the kitchen, therefore that’s were they should stay.

E*:  The traditional definition of marriage both around the world and in Western Society is between a man a several wives (Links to an external site.).  Therefore, we should uphold this definition of marriage and not permit gay marriage.

F* The Bible says that if an unmarried woman is raped, she must marry her rapist and he must pay her father 50 shekels, therefore this is what should be done. Deuteronomy 22:28 (Links to an external site.)




Explanation of Argument from Tradition/Ancient Authority:  Arguing that since since something was done traditionally that it must work/be good.  (Also applies to moral arguments)