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 www.moriahthemedium.com 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.
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!