Human standard fallacy:

Definition Example
When a human law, categorization, definition or judgment is assumed to supersede objective fact. Because there is a law against chewing gum on Wednesdays, it is immoral to chew gum on Wednesdays.
Also known as: appeal to law
  Notes
A law against chewing gum on Wednesdays does not suddenly make the act immoral. If it was not immoral prior to a law forbidding it, why would a human law make it so? (This is assuming moral facts reside objectively in an actual moral realm, an assumption needing substantiation.)

Case Study One

Some argue that the use of recreational drugs is immoral since there exists a human-authored law forbidding their usage.


Case Study Two

Quite regularly, a coroner mistakenly declares someone dead, only to have them revive. In these cases, you’ll often have family members claiming that it was a miracle that the patient did the impossible and rose from the “dead”. As medicine advances, we can expect the current human definition of “death” pushed back to reflect the ever-lengthening period of time within which resuscitation is possible.


Case Study Three

Frequently, the dictionary definition of a term is invoked as the final authority on the way that term should be used. Clearly the writers of dictionaries assessed the conventional usage of words to formulate their entries. It is the conventional usage, and not a human-made dictionary, that is the final authority on the denotation of a particular term. The only other option is to agree upon a stipulated definition of a term before engaging in dialogue.


Case Study Four

Prior to the word “deconversion” becoming mainstream, there were arguments by some theists that, because the word was not found in a dictionary, the concept it denoted was illegitimate.


Case Study Five

When identifying a logical fallacy in your opponent’s thinking, there is often the tendency to invoke the “official” name of that fallacy, and hurl that name at your opponent and/or the audience hoping the association with that fallacy alone will invalidate your opponent’s position. At times this is valid; if the fallacy is a formal fallacy, and your opponent’s position is fully contingent upon the fallacy, then you have indeed defeated their position. However, fallacies are collected and named by humans, and many fallacies are fallacious to a particular degree; they fall on a continuum between rationality and error dependent upon the context. It is, therefore, usually much more productive to spend the necessary time explaining why their argument is fallacious rather than calling it out by name, hoping to shame your “irrational” opponent (though there may be times where this may accomplish your agenda). This site is not the ultimate authority on logical fallacies, but is merely a tool.


Keep in mind that a fallacious argument does not entail an erroneous position.


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