Appeal to ridicule (also called appeal to mockery, ad absurdo, or the horse laugh[1]) is an informal fallacy which presents an opponent's argument as absurd, ridiculous, or humorous, and therefore not worthy of serious 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 oversimplified way. The person using the tactic often utilizes sarcasm in their argument.[2]

An example of an appeal to ridicule:

Person A: At one time in prehistory, the continents were fused together into a single supercontinent, which we call Pangaea.
Person B: Yes, I definitely believe that hundreds of millions of years ago, some laser cut through the Earth and broke apart a giant landmass into many different pieces.

See also


  1. ^ Brooke Noel Moore and Richard Parker, Critical Thinking, McGraw-Hill, 2000, p. 526.ISBN 978-0078119149
  2. ^ "Appeal To Ridicule - Definition & Examples | LF". Retrieved 2020-10-11.