Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

The Naturalistic Fallacy

Posted by Michael Dickens on July 22, 2009

The naturalistic fallacy involves saying that something is morally correct simply because it is natural, or that something is morally wrong simply because it is unnatural. This argument is common in the debate over homosexuality; since it is supposedly unnatural, it must be morally wrong.

But perhaps even more interesting is the root of the naturalistic fallacy: the idea that anything natural is good for you.

It is commonly assumed that anything natural is good for you; conversely, anything artificial is bad for you. You frequently see food packaging that says “no artificial flavor!”, an entire magazine called Natural Solutions, and other such atrocities.

I can disprove that anything natural is good for you:
Rattlesnake venom is natural; rattlesnake venom is bad for you. Multivitamins are artificial; multivitamins are good for you. QED.

The idea that natural = good is a deep-seated one, but one that is horribly flawed. I hope that you, too, will not succumb to the evils of the Naturalistic Fallacy.


2 Responses to “The Naturalistic Fallacy”

  1. phynnboi said

    Yeah, it’s best not to play that game. First they say homosexuality is wrong because it’s unnatural. Then you point out that it is natural because other animals besides humans do it, and they turn around with, “What, and you want to behave like some wild animal?”

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