Naturalistic fallacy:

Definition Example
When it is claimed that, if something is natural, pleasant, or popular, then it is good or right. I know I’m in love with a bank robber. But how could could it be wrong if it feels so right?
  Notes
The fact that something is not artificial or human-derived is no gaurantee that it is not harmful. Likewise, the fact that something is artificial or human-derived does not make it harmful.

Case Study One

It has been argued that, the poverty of the uneducated is deserved because they choose not to further their education. This ignores the arguably vicious circular causation between a low education level and the inability to earn enough money to get an education. Conversely, there is nothing inherent to the status of those born into wealth that makes them “worthy” or “deserving” of their fate.


Case Study Two

Some proponents of Social Darwinism erroneously suggested that, because evolution operates on the survival of the fittest, that we ought to extend this notion of survival of the fittest to social policies. There is no coherent reason why humans need to adopt nature’s agenda as their own agenda. In the same way, some opponents of evolution wrongly suggest that, if “survival of the fittest” is true, it makes no sense to resist that harsh reality.


Case Study Three

For propositions that must be assessed inductively, a rational degree of belief in the proposition is one that maps to the degree of the inductively gathered evidence. This means rational belief is intrinsically gradient instead of binary. Some have argued “But that’s not what humans do. They either believe or they don’t.” However, the fact that humans “naturally” treat belief as binary does not change the nature of rational belief which remains gradient.


Case Study Four

“Eating or smoking this plant won’t hurt me since it is grows naturally in the woods.”


Case Study Five

A market free of government intervention can not be said to be inherently good. The advantages and limits of a free market must be assessed in the same way the utility of government intervention must be assessed.


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


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