Ad Hominem Humbug

Whether it be politics, sports or philosophy I expect there to be a certain amount of disagreement in the world. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and beliefs and that is the way of the world. What I have difficulty understanding is why we have to devaluate, insult and make cutting remarks about friends, strangers, politicians and celebrities to prove our points?

 Have you ever heard of the term Ad hominem? It seems I live my life in this argument and especially so since I appeared on an Episode of Hoarders Buried Alive. An example of ad hominem is, “Anyone who believes in Moriah as medium is stupid and must be very uneducated.” When you attack a person rather than dealing with the argument itself is an Ad hominem.

Poisoning the well is how some people like to tear down another by pointing out their beliefs are evil, completely wrong or immoral. Think back to how many times you have heard George W. Bush or Barack Obama compared to Adolph Hitler by the opposition. The term “poisoning the well” came from the medieval era where Jews were blamed for putting poison in town wells said to cause the bubonic plague, which by the way made a convenient excuse to persecute them.

When someone poisons the well they hope to seduce you into an ad hominem fallacy. It sounds sexy doesn’t it? “Only idiots believe in what Moriah has to say. All mediums are fakes and con artists.” It’s a boobytrap. You may start to think in your mind that indeed some mediums are fakes and con artists, and you don’t want to be an idiot or a victim so the statement must be true.

Moriah: "I believe that communication with people who have died is real."
Beulah: "Of course you would say that, you're a medium."
Moriah: "What about the arguments I have to support my beliefs?"
Beulah: "As I said you’re a medium. None of that matters. You are a fake and a con artist so nothing you say to me is the truth, it’s all trickery and you’re a freak.”

Online blogger and writer Tara Ariano wrote about my appearance on TLC, “And oh my god, the cold-reading con job Moriah pulls on these poor, grieving people. Like, I don't think you need to have psychic powers to come to a hoarded house and declare that you feel "the pain of the children."

Cold readings are where mediums use a line of questioning and use vague statements to get results. I don’t speak in vague statements, I don’t fill in information that isn’t pertinent and anyone who has ever had a session with me knows that I do not ask questions or use cold reading techniques. I submit proof of this on my website and employ people to watch the last two shows I did in January. The shows were live and open to the general public. The term cold reading implies and infers that I am a professional con artist and master manipulator. I refute Ariano’s argument and offer the videos as evidence that I do not use cold reading techniques.

On the discussion boards on Facebook’s Hoarders Buried Alive page a woman made an attack against my weight by stating that, “She looked more like an extra-large than a medium.” That comment is an example of an abusive ad hominem. She attacked my bodily appearance as evidence that I was a fraud. If I was speaking to her in person most likely her comments would have distracted from pointing out my arguments because I would have felt like I had to defend myself which by the way would be a red herring.  

Red Herring:
Mediumship is under discussion.
Moriah being overweight is brought up as being important to being a medium when actually it wasn’t.
Discussion of mediumship is abandoned.

Poisoning the well I think is the most damaging thing you can do whether posting on Facebook, chatting at coffee or spewing at a political convention.  You don’t have to produce any evidence of your beliefs and create an impression that your beliefs are true and virtuous while your opposition is evil, corrupt or morally bankrupt. Think about the current gun debate in the US and tell me how much poisoning of the well and abuses of ad hominem you see in the media and social networking.

I am always open to the idea of being skeptical and applaud it. One of my all-time favorite quotes is by the Buddha, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Being skeptical means you doubt the truth of something. Being cynical means that you believe people are distrustful and have no integrity.  

Nobody sums it up better than Stephen Colbert, “Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”  

Don’t poison your own well with cynicism. Don’t always have your mind so full of one idea that nothing new can get in. The world is not short of critics, comedians, sensational journalists or political action committees.  Do your part to be mindful of other people’s wisdom and life experience.

You don’t have to degrade, humiliate or embarrass people because you don’t believe in what they know to be true. “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche.

I bow to my teacher Joseph Magno PhD  and offer gratitude for this lesson!

22 comments on “Ad Hominem Humbug

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Nicole Wernke on April 3, 2013 5:08 pm

I loved reading this! The only thing that I can see is extra large is that heart of yours! Thanks for helping me, friends, family, and strangers.

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Moriah on April 25, 2013 4:36 pm

XOXOX Nikki!

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Jill on April 6, 2013 8:49 am

I really like the S. Colbert quote! The extreme comments people make are mind-blowing. I live in WI and many people have compared Hitler to a politician here. Whether you agree with him or not, comparing someone like a politician to Hitler is inexcusable. Yes, that is my opinion.

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Moriah on April 25, 2013 4:35 pm

Thanks Jill!

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amelia on April 8, 2013 7:34 am

well said. as always!

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Moriah on April 25, 2013 4:35 pm

Thanks Amelia!

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Leann Reed on April 13, 2013 9:49 am

Thank you! I love and learn from your comments! Leann

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Moriah on April 25, 2013 4:34 pm

Thanks Leann!! Hugs!

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Sue Bass on April 15, 2013 6:01 pm

BRAVO …. you are assisting spirit in miracles, this world needs to know hope again, there is life and that life/energy doesn’t end when we pass over.

Thank you…. !

Sue / Poulsbo WA.

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Moriah on April 25, 2013 4:32 pm

Thank you for your kind words.

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Kirsten Loe on July 1, 2013 4:44 pm

Thank you for your post! I teach argumentation to 11th graders, & I teach my kids all these fallacies. As a society, people have difficulty with communication because the bulk of what we see and hear aren’t cogent arguments. They are ad hominem, red herring, poisoning the well–certainly. However it’s also important to include straw man, questionable premise, & suppressed evidence. Election years are great to see all these in action!

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Moriah on October 5, 2014 4:43 pm

Love your comment!

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Linda Murphey on July 26, 2013 9:57 pm

Moriah I had a reading with you on Monday July 1 2013 and I can’t begin to tell you how right you were. Unbeknownst to me, when I came home I found out my daughter-in-law was pregnant, she found out the same day I met with you. You have said it was a boy and that my husband has the name for him. There are SO many things that you told me about that day that have come true you have NO idea. After your talking with the spirits from the past, I can’t wait to come back. You are phenomenal! I have read the book by Weiss, Many Live, Many Master and find it life changing! Linda Murphey, Tampa, Fl

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Nancy DeMuth on August 21, 2013 12:55 pm

Moriah, my mother just died and already having 2 readings by you ( a long time ago in your house!) I know my mother is still with me and has eased my pain, thank you for your post and for your healing words.

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Jill Millhouse, Galena, IL on November 9, 2013 4:04 pm

Amen, Moriah. I have never heard you speak except honestly and with a loving heart.

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Jill Millhouse, Galena, IL on November 9, 2013 4:20 pm

What kind of moderation?…Jill

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Harry Alsman on October 10, 2014 10:16 am

Moriah, there will always be hurtful, cynical and skeptical people out there. They win If we accept their challenge and lower ourselves to their level.

You are the real deal Moriah. My teacher and my friend. The only doubt I had about your auntheticity was before we had talked on the phone the first time. I have never doubted you since.

Love you my friend, Harry

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ROBERTO on October 4, 2015 7:21 pm

I saw the Hoarders episode, and thought that was you. Loved the program. TLC was lucky to get you on the air. Hope that their is a series in the works. Please republish your book. Thank you for the insights.

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Jenn on April 18, 2016 9:41 pm

I just saw an episode of hoarders buried alive and you were on it. Not sure if this episode is what you mention here. I hadn’t caught the year of the episode when I was watching it. Stupid that someone would focus on your weight, instead of the peace you brought those three siblings. When I saw you, I saw a confident woman, with a strong grasp on her gift. Glad you could help those three!

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Karl on December 25, 2016 7:05 pm

You recently gave a reading with abundant evidence to relatives of mine and also a message to me from a beloved cousin. I have studied medium-ship for more than 30 years and you are genuine. Thank you for your message.

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rosemary on January 12, 2017 12:44 pm

I like your article on poisoning the well,I see a lot of that going on in our society today.I am a believer
that spirts live among us.Be confident in your abilitys to help people.

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Mary Clark on April 21, 2017 8:27 am

My father was very skeptical when he had his reading…He was able to communicate with his father during the reading and the accuracy was astonishing. The best part was finding out about service medals he had never received…one being a bronze star. We contacted veteran affairs and we now have all of my grandfathers service medals displayed with his flag! Needless to say you made a believer out of him!

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