- Appeal To Mockery
- The Horse Laugh
- Reductio ad ridiculum
A simplistic fallacy in which it is suggested an argument is false by presenting it in a way in which it appears absurd. This often dovetails into Strawman Fallacy
or Appeal To Ignorance
"Queen Alice is using what some may call a cruel and unusual tool
to break the resistance of rebel prisoners. I bet many parents would agree! Some are being forced to listen to Barney & Friends
sing the "I Love You" song. I think after an hour of that they’ll spill the beans, don’t you?"
If you can mentally picture
being locked into a dark room, forced to listen to the "I Love You" song for even an hour (let alone 24/7), it's actually a pretty terrifying prospect. As is such, we can see that stating something in a way that makes it seem nonsensical does not necessarily mean it is
This fallacy differs from reductio ad absurdum
, a legitimate debating technique; there, it is demonstrated that an absurd conclusion naturally follows from the underlying logic of an opponent's argument, therefore showing the argument as invalid. Also, just because an argument uses ridicule does not mean it runs afoul of this trope. A person who delivers a withering, logically sound counterattack in a mocking, rude manner is being a jerk. If the argument is still sound, it stands regardless of how insulting the phrasing is.
In terms of tropes, this fallacy often coincides with Too Funny to Be Evil
, where an evil character can use this fallacy to get a laugh out of the uneducated masses while dismissing the hero.
Looks like Appeal to Ridicule—and *is*
- Any argument that the opponent's views are so ridiculous that they deserve only ridicule. Note that such a claim can be used to justify ridiculing views that are perfectly true.
Looks like Appeal to Ridicule—and *is not*
- When an argument or counterargument is presented with some ridicule thrown in for good measure. The validity of the argument is independent of how courteously (or not) it was delivered. For example, Bob says, "I could be a professional basketball player." Alice says, "You? Don't make me laugh. You're a lazy, overweight slob who doesn't exercise and has no discipline for taking care of your body. You're much too old, less than five feet tall, clumsy, and blind as a bat. You're too arrogant to listen to coaches and too lazy to practice. And I don't think you've done anything athletic in your life." If Alice is telling the truth, her arguments for why Bob could not be a professional basketball player are valid, even if she is ridiculing him.