Appeal to ridicule
Appeal to ridicule (also called appeal to mockery, ab absurdo, or the horse laugh), is an informal fallacy which presents an opponent's argument as absurd, ridiculous, or in any way humorous, to the specific end of a foregone conclusion that the argument lacks any substance which would merit 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 overly simplified way.
- Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker, Critical Thinking, McGraw-Hill, 2000, p. 526.
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