Appeal to ridicule
Appeal to ridicule (also called appeal to mockery, ad absurdo, or the horse laugh) is an informal fallacy which presents an opponent's argument as absurd, ridiculous, or humorous, and therefore not worthy of serious consideration.
Appeal to ridicule is often found in the form of comparing a nuanced circumstance or argument to a laughably commonplace occurrence or to some other irrelevancy on the basis of comedic timing, wordplay, or making an opponent and their argument the object of a joke. This is a rhetorical tactic that mocks an opponent's argument or standpoint, attempting to inspire an emotional reaction (making it a type of appeal to emotion) in the audience and to highlight any counter-intuitive aspects of that argument, making it appear foolish and contrary to common sense. This is typically done by making a mockery of the argument's foundation that represents it in an uncharitable and oversimplified way. The person using the tactic often utilizes sarcasm in their argument.
In 2008, US president Barack Obama answered criticism about his policies that were labelled "socialist" by saying "Next they'll be calling me a communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten".
This dialogue presents another example of appeal to ridicule:
Person A: At one time in prehistory, the continents were fused together into a single supercontinent, which we call Pangaea.
Person B: Yes, I definitely believe that hundreds of millions of years ago, some laser cut through the Earth and broke apart a giant landmass into many different pieces.
- Reductio ad absurdum
- Straw man (a similar fallacy)
- ^ Moore, Brooke Noel (2015). Critical thinking. Richard Parker, Nina Rosenstand, Anita Silvers (11 ed.). Dubuque. ISBN 978-0-07-811914-9. OCLC 855209109.
- ^ "Appeal To Ridicule - Definition & Examples". www.logicalfallacies.org. Retrieved 2020-10-11.