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Naturalistic Fallacy


Naturalistic Fallacy

The Naturalistic Fallacy occurs when evaluative conclusions are drawn from purely factual premises. This is related to the is-ought fallacy. 

Some say that the naturalistic fallacy consists of defining a non-natural property like "goodness" or "happiness" in terms of natural (as opposed to spiritual) properties. Others say that the naturalistic fallacy consists of defining one property, such as "goodness" or "happiness" in terms of other properties. Others say that the naturalistic fallacy consists of defining an undefinable property.

To rationally use the term, "undefinable property" will require that we know what is undefinable. If one were to say that no one could define a certain property, say, "goodness," that person would be committing the logical fallacy of declaring a universal negative. That person would be claiming to know that no one, not even God, could define it. That person would be claiming that God could not reveal the definition to anyone. Such a claim would be irrational. Alternately, a claim is sometimes made like this: "That doesn't make any sense." As a syllogism, this would be, "Things that I personally don't understand are not part of reality. I don't understand the concept you are talking about. Therefore, it is not part of reality." This point out the fallacy of this claim. The "undefinable property" may be cited and a reference in a text book given to "prove" that this is a "real fallacy." This is a definist fallacy in which "undefinable property" as "anything that I don't personally understand." An undefinable property cannot be a situation in which the person who is defining a property cannot define the property. That definition is self-refuting. As of this writing, there is no way to make the "undefinable property" a rational part of the naturalistic fallacy.

G. E. Moore claimed, in the book, Principia Ethica (1903) that a naturalistic fallacy is committed whenever an appeal is made using the word, "good" in terms of one or more properties such as "pleasant," "more evolved," or "desired." Moore termed this as "natural" properties. Is Moore right that this would be a fallacy? On what basis? Can you define that without making any hidden assumptions, without any circular reasoning, and without infinite regression? The Atheistic paradigm cannot comment on "goodness" rationally. The definition of "goodness" or "happiness" from an materialistic paradigm is that there is nothing beyond the natural. Natural is defined as material; just energy and matter.

Another definition of the naturalistic fallacy defines it as occurring when two words are thought to be synonyms simply because they are used to define the same object. There is a tendency to focus on "good" as one of the words that is used to define said object. There is a relationship between the naturalistic fallacy and the is-ought problem. Sometimes, it is thought that they are one and the same. In reality, there is none good but God, which makes this a terrible problem for Atheists to make any rational statement regarding good or evil.

Sometimes, the naturalistic fallacy is defined as trying to draw ethical conclusions from observations in the material realm. Sometimes, the naturalistic fallacy is defined as a claim that what is good or right is natural or inherent. Without Divine revelation, it is truly a fallacy to make any statement in regard to truth, morality, ethics, theology, Biblical study, or anything of this sort. It is impossible to know anything about ethics or morality except by Divine revelation. In fact, Agrippa's Trilemma makes all knowledge outside of Divine revelation impossible. This is because a chain of thought is as strong as its weakest link. This chain must begin with something that is absolute, but all that is available is infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. These three have exactly zero truth value.

Fallacies that Sound Similar

There is the unnatural fallacy, the naturalistic fallacy, the proof by appeal to Naturalism, the fallacy of Naturalism, and the appeal to nature. You will find these fallacies all confused together in various sources. There seems to be no agreement. In addition, there are many definitions of the word, "natural." Although, it doesn't pay to get dogmatic about a certain definition, it would be nice to know what various authors are trying to say. Remember that the goal is to be able to tell truth from fiction.

Last updated: Sep, 2014
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Toons & Vids



Logical Fallacy of Avoiding the Issue / Avoiding the Question / Missing the Point / Straying Off the Subject / Digressing / Distraction

Logical Fallacy of Misleading Vividness

Logical Fallacy of Dodging the Question

Logical Fallacy of Ignoratio Elenchi / Irrelevant Conclusion

Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Question

Logical Fallacy of Proof by Consequences / Argument from Consequences / Parade of the Horribles / Argumentum Ad Consequentiam / Appeal to Consequences of a Belief / Argument to the Consequences

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Bribery / Appeal to Motives in Place of Support

Logical Fallacy of Red Herring / Digression / Diversion / Evading the Issue / Side-tracking

Dodge of Answering a Question with a Question

Dodging by Answering a Different Question / Answering a Question That Was Not Asked

Logical Fallacy of Non-Support

Logical Fallacy of Logic Chopping / Quibbling / Quibble / Splitting-Hairs / Nit-Picking / Trivial Objections / Smokescreen / Blowing Smoke / Befogging the Issue / Clouding the Issue / Megatrifle / Trivial Objections / Cavil / Spurious Superficiality

Admitting a Small Fault to Cover a Big Denial

Logical Fallacy of Arguing a Minor Point and Ignoring the Main Point

Logical Fallacy of Ad Misericordiam / Appeal to pity / Appeal to Sympathy / The Galileo Argument

Galileo Wannabe Fallacy / Galileo Argument (Appeal to Pity)

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Novelty / appeal to the New / Ad Novitam

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to High Tech

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Tradition / Argumentum Ad Antiquitatem / Appeal to Common Practice / Appeal to Antiquity / Proof from Tradition / Appeal to Past Practice / Gadarene Swine Fallacy / Traditional Wisdom

Logical Fallacy of The Way We Have Always Done It

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Desperation

Straw Man Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Extension

In a Certain Respect and Simply / Secundum Quid Et Simpliciter Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Extremes

Logical Fallacy of Taking a Quote Out of Context / Contextomy (type of) / Abstraction / Quote Mining

Logical Fallacy of Misquoting

Logical Fallacy of Accent / Accent Fallacy / Accent by Emphasis / Emphatic Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Accent by Abstraction / Emphasis by Abstraction

Misleading Context Fallacy / Contextomy

Logical Fallacy of Misinterpretation

The Mind Game of Playing Dumb

Logical Fallacy of Arcane Explanation

Logical Fallacy of Hyperbole

Logical Fallacy of Exaggeration / Stretching the Truth / Overstatement

Logical Fallacy of Irrelevant Thesis

Logical Fallacy of Burden of Proof / Shifting the Burden of Proof

Logical Fallacy of Demanding an Uneven Burden of Proof / Demanding Uneven Standards of Acceptance

Burden of Proof Fallacy Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Argument to Moderation / Argumentum Ad Temperantiam / Middle Ground / False Compromise

Logical Fallacy of False Fallacy / Fallacy Abuse

Logical Fallacy of Confusing an Explanation with Proof

Logical Fallacy of Moralism

Logical Fallacy of Ought-Is / Moralistic Fallacy / Moral Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Is-Ought / Is-Ought Fallacy / Arguing From Is to Ought / Is-Should Fallacy / Hume's Law / Hume's Guillotine

Naturalistic Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Notable Effort

Logical Fallacy of Political Correctness / Political Correctness Fallacy / PC Fallacy

False Compromise Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Lip Service

Logical Fallacy of Tokenism

Logical Fallacy of Argument by Denial / Paralipsis Attack / Paralepsis / Apophasis

Diminished Responsibility Fallacy

Contrarian Argument Fallacy



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Word Magic

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Flaky Human Reasoning

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Public School's Religion

Twisting Science


Public School Failures

Twisting History

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