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Argumentum ad hominem was Re: Michael Crichton dies
No. ad hominem doesn't jsut mean saying anything unpleasant about
somebody. It means dismissing an argument, without engaging it, on
the basis of who made it. For example, if someone denied the validity
of the taxon Xenoposeidon by saying "Oh, that Taylor is obsessed by
sauropod vertebrae", then _that_ would be an ad-hominen argument.
This works the other way around, too: if I say "*Xenoposeidon* just _has_ to
be valid because that Taylor is an expert on sauropod vertebrae", that, too,
is an ad hominem argument, because there, too, I'm evaluating the person who
came up with an idea rather than the idea itself.