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Unnatural Fallacy / Persuasive Definition of Nature

 

Unnatural Fallacy / Persuasive Definition of Nature

The unnatural fallacy is one of the many smokescreens that are used to cover the fact that the reasoning is based on one of the three fallacies of Agrippa's trilemma. Whenever a logical fallacy is committed, the fallacy has its roots in Agrippa's trilemma. All human thought (without Divine revelation) is based on one of three unhappy possibilities. These three possibilities are infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. This problem is known as Agrippa's trilemma. Some have claimed that only logic and math can be known without Divine revelation; however, that is not true. There is no reason to trust either logic or math without Divine revelation. Science is also limited to the pragmatic because of the weakness on human reasoning, which is known as Agrippa's trilemma.

The Unnatural Fallacy / Persuasive Definition of Nature occurs when an argument that something (object, being, phenomenon, etc.) in existence is not a result of natural causes by defining natural causes as excluding some part of nature. It is a definist fallacy, a kind of no true Scotsman fallacy. The fallacy is to artificially exclude humans (or something else) from what is natural. This fallacy generally focuses on man-made phenomena as opposed to those that occur without human intervention. With this definition of natural and unnatural, humanity is not part of what is natural, not part of nature.

The words, "natural" and "nature" need to be defined. Is the spiritual realm part of nature? Is nature limited to what is material? Is thought unnatural? The word, "natural," is probably not the best choice of words when talking about that which happens without human intervention, because it implies that humans are not part of nature. Yet, this fallacy has been largely published using "unnatural" as the main word to carry the meaning. Notice that "Persuasive Definition of Nature," is a term coined here.

In another sense, what is natural is what is according to the design and plan of God. Without acknowledging God and His will as it has been revealed, there is no rational way to say what is natural and what is not natural in this sense. However, God does reveal His will to whomever will acknowledge Him and stand in His Presence. This is available only through Jesus Christ. Those who do acknowledge Him are given His faith by which they can believe and trust Christ. This gives them spiritual senses that can be developed by listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit and keeping step with that leading. We can think of the "natural" as opposed to the spiritual. This is not the meaning of the unnatural fallacy.

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.

The naturalistic fallacy has several definitions that don't match each other. 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, but that doesn't seem to work. 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." 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.

The unnatural fallacy is sometimes confused with Logical Fallacy of Proof by Appeal to Naturalism: occurs when naturalism, the unfounded assumption that there is no spiritual realm, is used as a base assumption or axiom and treated as if it were a known fact. Appeal to naturalism is not to be confused with the naturalistic fallacy or the appeal to nature. This is a type of hysteron proteron. Naturalism is an assumption and it is often an entire worldview. It is a synonym for Atheism, although Atheism is a broader word. Naturalism basically says that neither God nor any spiritual beings do anything because neither God nor spiritual beings exist. It also goes so far as to say that there is no spiritual realm, no Heaven, no Hell, no soul/mind, and no human spirit. Its companion believe is called Materialism, which believes all the same things. The problem with appeal to naturalism is that this assumption is used as part of the proof of something. This is generally done by presupposing naturalism. Once the presupposition is in place, then anything that conflicts with the arbitrary presupposition of naturalism is treated as bazaar or insane.

The unnatural fallacy is sometimes confused with the Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Nature / Argumentum Ad Naturam, which occurs when it is arbitrarily assumed (hidden or stated assumption) that because something is natural it is OK or even preferred.

Examples of the Unnatural Fallacy / Persuasive Definition of Nature

Environmentalist: "We need to return the environment to nature."

What is really meant is that humans are not part of nature. A more accurate statement would be, "God has given us dominion over all of Creation. We must be good stewards. Let's pray that God will show us how best to take care of His Creation."

Christian: "Homosexuality is wrong because it is unnatural."

This argument is poor because it is unclear. If "unnatural" means not part of the physical realm, then the argument is an example of the unnatural fallacy. Really, unless the person who says such a thing is willing to admit a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in which Jesus teaches, leads, and counsels moment by moment, this will remain a fallacy. The only way that we can know that anything is true is by Divine revelation. A more accurate way for this Christian to state this would be to say, Homosexuality is wrong because God reveals that it is wrong." God is saying, "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error." In this case, the word, "nature," is referring to the orders and laws of nature. These are the orders and laws that God created and that God upholds and enforces.

Fallacy Abuse

wiki.ironchariots.org: "A common Christian argument: Homosexuality is unnatural (meaning against the biological human drive to procreate or against the supposedly God-given purpose of sex). Therefore homosexuality is wrong (ethically). Note: the first premise here seems to be untrue, based on scientific investigation into the causes of homosexuality. The causes are not understood but natural biological processes are known to be factors in at least some cases."

What ironchariots calls "A common Christian argument" is not a Christian argument. This is what God declares absolutely through Scripture. It almost seems as though ironchariots has an unfounded presupposition that God doesn't speak to His people, which would be an unsupported assertion. If God didn't speak to His people, then it would be impossible to rationally say that anything was natural, unnatural, right, or wrong. The question would then be, "Who says so?" The fact of Agrippa's Trilemma comes into play at that point, and there is no way to know anything; there is no chance that logic or science could be sound. That is to say that a chain of thought is only as strong as its weakest link. The thought chain must begin with something that is absolute for logic to be sound, but all that is available is infinite regress, circular reasoning, or axiomatic thinking. The sum total truth value of those three options is zero.

 



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Last updated: Sep, 2014
 
 




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Logical Fallacy of Limited Depth

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Logical Fallacy of the Conspiracy Theory

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Logical Fallacy of Appeal to Coincidence / Appeal to Luck / Appeal to Bad Luck

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Logical Fallacy of Taking Undeserved Credit

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Logical Fallacy of Ion / Regression Fallacy

Logical Fallacy of Joint Effect / Common Cause / Confounding Factor

Logical Fallacy of Insignificant / Insignificant Cause / Genuine but Insignificant Cause

Elephant Repellent Fallacy


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