Talk:Appeal to nature/Archive1

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Is this the naturalistic fallacy?[edit]

Sometimes I've encountered arguments of the type "X is the natural behaviour of Y, therefore Y should do X" (for example, vegans claiming that humans are herbivores by nature). Another type of argument stops at the first clause: "X is a natural trait of Y" (essentialism?). Are these forms of the naturalistic fallacy? Anyway, the article needs expansion.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:52, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

It turns out that we have an article on Essentialism that sent me to Biological determinism.--ZooGuard (talk) 18:58, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Disagree with the definition[edit]

We say:

  • The naturalistic fallacy uses the description of how the world "is" to infer how it "ought" to be. Essentially, an argument whose premises merely describe the way that the world is, but whose conclusion describes the way that the world ought to be, introduces a new term in the conclusion, a logical fallacy.

I think this is a bad definition. It would be more accurate to say:

  • The naturalistic fallacy uses the description of how the world "WAS" to infer how it "ought" to be.

But I don't even like that one very much either. Would it not be better to say something like:

  • The naturalistic fallacy maintains that anything which has been produced by the humanly untouched environment to be "good" and anything which has been processed in some way by humanity to be bad.

I would change it myself but as it re-thrusts the article substantially I thought it better to comment first.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 20:37, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Works for me. ТyrannisPlead 20:45, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm better with your choice #2. I was trying to fix the definition since it's also widely known as the is/ought fallacy. Whatever we write, we should have a redirect from something like "is/ought argument". I think if you look up any description of this fallacy, is/ought is part of the argument. What say everyone? This isn't Wikipedia (thank the fucking FSM), so I defer to expertise. I am linking to many of these arguments to my website which has a Logical Fallacy FAQ! I prefer accuracy in description then my lame changes. :) SkepticalRaptor® 20:50, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually #3 is an Appeal to nature. SkepticalRaptor® 20:52, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Are they not more-or-less the same thing? I would suggest that our current definition confuses things with the "is–ought fallacy".--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 21:04, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Although the WP article speaks of both.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 21:06, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
(ecx3)The "is-ought" wording is imported from Hume's law. The naturalistic fallacy was once associated with Moore's arguments about the definition of "good" but today it's pretty much used synonymously with the is-ought problem. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:07, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
It seems though (and somewhat to my surprise) that the Naturalistic fallacy s now associated with both. I suppose we should go the WP route and list both on this page. Interestingly, their talk page has a sort of similar discussion. --Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 21:13, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I have always known them to be completely different. It's like the Fallacy of Division and composition, they are related but mirror images of each other. SkepticalRaptor® 23:06, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I have also always thought them to be completely different. But my understanding was a mirror image of yours.  :-) --Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 10:18, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I've seen some sources (the Wikipedia article being one of them) that say the naturalistic fallacy is something markedly different from what is described in this article. What this article describes seems to be synonymous with a fallacious appeal to nature (or phrased without using the word "nature", the is-ought problem). (talk) 05:54, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Post-move improvement[edit]

The article needs more improvement. One area of improvement that I see is making the "pothole" links explicit - at the moment, a lot of the argument can be understood only if you read the code of the page, or if you try to follow or hover over every link. Another is adding real-life examples (cited, of course :)), noting that it's not limited to alt-med ("being gay is unnatural") and generally limit the reflexive altie-bashing.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:43, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Increased confusion[edit]

There are two different ideas that sometimes go under the same name.

  1. Naturalistic fallacy - what ever is natural is good and healthy. Chemicals are evil.
  2. Naturalistic fallacy - however the world is the way the world is supposed to be is preordained and therefore morally good.

I had tried to clarify the article to separate these concepts but they have become confused again by this move. We need to clearly explain both concepts.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 11:26, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

This article is about 1. The term "naturalistic fallacy" and its other meaning are explained in the section with the same name, which links to the is-ought problem article (and this arrangement is almost identical to your disambiguation effort). If you wish to further elaborate on 2, expand the "naturalistic fallacy" page (and move there the link to the philosophical encyclopedia).--ZooGuard (talk) 11:34, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
No. You should have gone to the talk page before making the change where you will see the point is already under debate. It's all yours now.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 11:43, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
It was under debate - 8 months ago. The last time I "went to the talk page" to propose a change, my suggestion stood alone and unnoticed for a month. So yeah, change is effected by those who take the initiative. Given the current activity of User:Krej, and the general lack of philosophical inclination of the userbase, it was really unlikely that the discussion of the term in philosophy would expand beyond disambiguation any time soon.
So, what exactly makes the current article more confusing, according to you? The name change itself (naturalistic fallacy -> appeal to nature)? My changes to the lead? The "naturalistic fallacy" section? Have you read the Fallacy Files page I added to the External Links?--ZooGuard (talk) 11:54, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Does this sound like a shoehorned jab at religion to anyone else?[edit]

Various beliefs in good old days, and in particular the Christian idea of original sin also give credence to this fallacy by contextualizing the development of civilization as a process of decay, rather than a process of progress. Was this written by Proxima Centauri? It's got a half-point to it, but it seems to be a case of truthiness. Polite Timesplitter Let's move on to some other area of sodomy! 14:30, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

It was our resident nukie.--ZooGuard (talk) 15:51, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Evolutionary stable strategies[edit]

You can't claim that man is a product of Evolution and, in the same breath, deny that the natural stuff man has been optimized for is most probably better than any novel alternative. (talk) 01:29, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Hunting and gathering, dying of typhus, cutting your feet on rocks and getting eaten by hippos is superior to modern life in what way exactly?
An aside: hippos, though very dangerous to people and are capable of killing them, they can't eat people. They are herbivores and have the wrong type of teeth for meat eating. Bongolian (talk) 18:05, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
That's an excellent point, although recently hippos have been observed eating their own dead (source National Geographic) so who knows what terrifying future the Hippos hold in store for mankind? (talk) 09:37, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
Interesting, it was a badly decayed hippo they were eating; only the second time hippo cannibalism was documented.[1] Bongolian (talk) 17:30, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
What we have been optimised for is strife, pain, and the constant warfare of the natural world, same as all animals. Comfort and peace are, by most metrics, better.
Also "claim" haha. Can you 'claim' a statement of fact, or is that just called 'stating'? (talk) 13:08, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Misleading paragraph about NOW investigating raspberry ketones[edit]

Article says:

  • Alternative medicine's obsession with "naturalness" can lead to some amusing incidents. One herb company chemically tested synthetic and natural raspberry ketones to determine whether it was possible to distinguish between the two.[1] They couldn't find any difference. Rather than conclude the synthetic and natural molecules were exactly the same, they decided not to sell the product at all, because chemicals.[1]

That sounds like "The only reason they decided not to sell it was because of chemicals" which is really misleading. Citation from the source:

  • Our team found that of the few natural sources available, none actually are derived from Raspberries! Yes, that’s right – Raspberry Ketones don’t come from Raspberries! Shockingly, Raspberry Ketones can be naturally derived from anise seeds, and after processing smell and taste just like raspberries.'That was the final straw for our search as we didn’t feel good about selling a product that had minimal research and a deceptive name/source.

The article earlier mentiones that there is no research that would support claims about its weight loss properties. So the decision was definitely not based solely on 'chemicals'.

It makes the whole paragraph irrelevant to "Appeal to nature" - I would just delete it.

Raspberry Ketone article here mentiones this source as well but manages to not make any exaggerated (or just false) claims. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

The sentence is a bit awkward but you misread it. It's about the difference between raspberry and synthetic ketones. The raspberry was "better", and natural retailers decided to sell the "natural one", even though it was identical to the synthetic product because "chemicals". Not that people decided not to sell the raspberry version which is still readily available at Walgreens, Costco, online... Pfft, no alt med copmpany would stop selling something that made money if it didn't work.  :-p -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 14:37, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
PLEASE please read the source article. There is a difference between "the decided not to sell because chemicals" and "they decided not to sell because they didn't find supporting research and name is misleading". There is the exact citation for this above - if you can find a better one, please paste it here, I'm more than willing to see some good arguments, but let they be based on the source. Arguing without any reference is pointless.
The point is they didnt sell it because "It wasnt raspberries!" even though it was virtually indistinguishable from raspberries, therefore it is an appeal to nature, the pragraph should stand as is Bubba41102The place where you can scream at me 14:35, 29 February 2016 (UTC)
Do you have any citation or reference that woulde prove your point?
Well, look, their reasons for not selling raspberry ketone are that: 1) it is not possible to determine if it's natural, 2) even when naturally extracted, it's not sourced from raspberries. The first reason seems to indicate that non-natural ketone must be "bad", and this is the relevant part for this article. As for the name being "deceptive", that could easily be negated by simply explaining in the product description that raspberry ketones are not derived from raspberries. They also say that "In the case of Raspberry Ketones, our new product search ran into several red flags. [...] There never has been any human clinical studies on Raspberry Ketones for weight loss. This was a big concern, so we planned to add thermogenic Green Tea extract in significant potencies in order to make the product effective with or without Raspberry Ketones. So far, so good." What's with the "So far so good"? If there are no clinical studies showing efficacy, that's fine, but if it's not derived from raspberries, that's unacceptable? If anything, that should be the deal-breaker, not whether or not it's sourced this way or that way. But the point is, they stopped selling raspberry ketones not only due to concerns of non-raspberry origin, but also in order to avoid selling a "synthetic" product. So the statement that they discontinued raspberry ketones because they didn't want to sell "chemicals" seems accurate to me.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 10:06, 6 March 2016 (UTC)
You have some good points, I have to admit that - citing the source is also really helpful. At the same time I still think you are exagerrating with reasons: "1) it is not possible to determine if it's natural, 2) even when naturally extracted, it's not sourced from raspberries.".
That's just not true as far as you can tell from the article. They clearly say 'we didn’t feel good about selling a product that had minimal research and a deceptive name/source.' So your points are valid (although they could be summed in 'deceptive name/source' but 'minimal research' is missing.
I agree - if they have issue with ketones source they could just describe it on a label. So yes, you can call that "Appeal to nature". But I still oppose calling it the only reason.
I see that now article looks a bit different: One herb company chemically tested synthetic and natural raspberry ketones to determine whether it was possible to distinguish between the two.[7] They couldn't find any difference. Rather than conclude the synthetic and natural molecules were exactly the same, they decided not to sell the product at all, just in case.[7]
That sounds better than previous version, but still ommits the fact that they decided not to sell it NOT ONLY for that one reason. The other reason was lack of proper research. It's simple: there were two reasons, article mentions one and call it a day.
After all I agree that it could be example of 'Appeal to nature', but there is no need to exaggerate already valid point. There were both appealing to nature AND lacking of research.
When they note they couldn't find any supporting research demonstrating raspberry ketone's efficacy, they say they decided to bundle it with something that (in their opinion) did work, and conclude, "So far so good." They say they "didn't feel good about selling a product that had minimal research", but at the same time it doesn't seem like that was a deciding factor. The "last straw" was that raspberry ketone did not come from raspberries; it therefore seems that if raspberry ketone were of raspberry origin, they would have just said, "So far so good" and left it at that. The part about lack of research seems to be more of an added, "by the way" point to the main reason of raspberry ketone not being natural.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 12:56, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

Just a bit long[edit]

Does anybody else think that the initial "Deconstruction" section is somewhat over-long?--Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 12:44, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

No. It's not somewhat over-long, it's really over-long. Some section headers here and there would be useful.--JorisEnter (talk) 13:56, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Go for gold?[edit]

I think this page is close to cover page quality. It's reasonably important for our mission and it substantially better than both the WP article (Appeal to natureWikipedia) and the Logically Fallacious article.[2] Bongolian (talk) 05:22, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

From a quick scan of the page, I wouldn't be opposed. Notes formatted fine, references good, substantial content. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 07:16, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
As a completely random person who has made his way here from the Saloon, having only a few months of reading various RW pages as my experience here (and no editing experience, thus meaning I am fairly likely to screw something up in this very comment), my argument is obviously of the utmost importance. With that said, I think there are a few places where the article could be streamlined. In particular, the "False Dichotomy" section is overly long, with the "conservation of mass" bit feeling a bit flat (might serve better as a note), and the several succeeding paragraphs feeling repetitive.
The "Examples" section seems to combine both food woo/alt med stuff with political uses of the same idea, but the article seems to focus pretty much exclusively on the former, with no mention of how the argument operates/fails in the latter. It might be useful to have a section on use of the fallacy within political contexts, and move/expand upon the examples in that section.
I also can't quite wrap my head around the relevance of the "Recreational Drugs" example.
If I had to vote, I guess I'd say I'm opposed because it feel like it isn't quite well-written enough, compared to what I've seen with the other golds.-- (talk) 02:16, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
I see. The criticism is valuable here, don't see why you need to downplay any of it. It's feasible to try to fix your concerns too, but depends how the editors edit. I hope we can see improvements to the page. I'm not really available because I'm relying on mobile to monitor the wiki. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 02:59, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I also appreciate your criticism. Hopefully we can make the page better. Since you've been here a few months, why don't you create an account, @ Bongolian (talk) 03:06, 12 January 2019 (UTC)
It was supposed to be a preventative measure so that I could justify reading articles and having fun without having to care about any potential errors, minor or otherwise. I suppose now that I've dipped my toe in, I may as well dive in head first. I'd be happy to try and help touch up this article, which seems only fair if I'm going to lay criticism upon it. I'd need to take a more comprehensive look at it, but I've tried to take another glance and make some notes of where some stuff could be improved in terms of readability and substance. I don't know if y'all would prefer me to share those notes, or just roll up my sleeves and do stuff and see what you guys think once the dust has cleared.--Mabian (talk) 22:53, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It's probably best to just go ahead and make the changes yourself unless they're fairly major, @Mabian. If the latter, post here and we can discuss them first. Bongolian (talk) 03:34, 14 January 2019 (UTC)

I made my first change. I'll focus on revising the main section little by little. In the meantime, I tried first to get rid of a couple of the subsections in the "Examples" and was caught by the filter. I guess those technically fall under "fairly major," so I'll put those larger proposals down here for discussion:
- The "Recreational Drugs" and "Medicine" example subsections should be blanked, unless there is some particular reason for keeping them. As I noted above, the drugs example is confusing (it so far notes one plant used recreationally that is natural, one that is natural but from I am aware is not used recreationally, and points out that alcohol is what?). The medicine stuff is covered pretty in-depth in the earlier sections, and so it seems largely redundant. The cloning stuff would probably fit better as a political example (such as the "Playing God" example further down the page).
- The "Excusing Bad Behavior" section should also be blanked, unless we can expand the original syllogisms to make these excuses fit. At the moment, the excuses all suggest that X is a natural behavior, and thus cannot be stopped, therefore there is no point in trying to stop it. This would seem more like cynicism or pessimism, than an appeal to nature as being described in the opening.
- As I mentioned above, I suggest setting up the article to cover the different ways that the appeal gets used. The big change here would mean adding in another section about how it is used in political or religious contexts (the last set of examples, perhaps excepting GMOs). Since the basic syllogism would be the same, the only thing that would need to be done is to add in a refutation about why "natural/unnatural" behavior fails as an argument.
  • On that note, the "Creationism" example seemed particularly strange, and I would suggest getting rid of it, unless we have some good sourcing for that argument occurring out in the wild.
    • What would be left of the example section out of this, for the most part, would be stuff on food, which might suggest that either A) it should just be turned into a list of foods that can be/are harmful, or B) there might be some utility in providing an additional section on the appeal as applied to food specifically.
- We should also try to clarify once and for all (at least for RW) the relationship between the naturalistic fallacy and the appeal to nature. Note that at the top of the page it says the reader should not confuse the appeal with the naturalistic fallacy (a similar warning occurs at the relevant section on the other page), and then the second sentence of the article says "The fallacy is a naturalistic fallacy..."
That's what I've got right now. There is a lot of redundancy in the main section, particularly the stuff about safety and testing. I'll do what I can to clean that portion of the page up. --Mabian (talk) 01:03, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
Those are all good points. I've deleted the "recreational drugs" and "medicine" sections as you suggested. I've left the "excusing bad behavior section", which could be deleted later as you suggest. I've also given you additional user rights (autopatrolled). Keep up the good work! Bongolian (talk) 02:21, 15 January 2019 (UTC)

Alright, it's been a while, but I've finally gotten around to making a first go at a specific section on the political uses of the appeal, which I've put as a subsection. I've tried to incorporate a few sources to help showcase the examples, but there might be more or better sourcing for some of this stuff. I've ended up getting rid of the Socialism and Social Darwinism examples, because I couldn't find any good sources for those to demonstrate that the appeal is actually used that way, but if anyone can find stuff it could help expand that section. Other than that, any cleanup or expansion that anyone wants to do on it is welcome. Since no one really objected, I also went ahead and deleted the "Excusing Bad Behavior" section, since as I mentioned before it didn't really fit with the structure of the appeal. I've gotten rid of most of the issues that I had. I'm not sure that I really like the article, per se, but aside from a few touch-ups here and there I could at least feasibly see this being golded if there aren't objections from others. Thanks to Bongolian for the encouragement and Krej for cleaning up after any of the mess I made in editing. --Mabian (talk) 05:16, 26 January 2019 (UTC)

I've done some more cleaning up. Looks good to me now. Thanks for your hard work, @Mabian. Any more comments or changes, @Krej or @LeftyGreenMario?
I am curious what Mabian means when they say that they don't like the article but think it's good enough for gold status.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 14:24, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
@Mabian Bongolian (talk) 16:43, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
@KrejMy only remaining quibbles have to do with the Examples section, since that focuses so heavily upon foodstuffs with the carcinogens entry stuck in, and the disambiguation opening. As I mentioned above, the former might warrant revision as a list of natural foods that can be harmful, with better incorporation of the GMO issue. I didn't want to overhaul this, though, without some sort of understanding of what others thought was a good way to handle it. The latter would ostensibly need some discussion, or it could be solved simply by just choosing to either remove the naturalistic fallacy disambiguation, or to categorize the appeal to nature as something else. For simple solutions, getting rid of the disambiguation seems the more accurate of the two, from what information I've been able to gather.
When I recall reading the other gold articles, I primarily remember them feeling both exhaustive and fairly well-written. This page originally struck me as fairly exhaustive, but was confusingly ordered and overly repetitive. With these combined edits, I think the writing is much improved, and perhaps good enough to warrant gold. If anyone disagrees, I'd be happy to continue chipping in to improve it further.--Mabian (talk) 19:49, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
We could add a something on causes of death, both most common,[3] and local catastrophes (List of natural disasters by death tollWikipedia). Do you think this would be helpful to balance things out, @Mabian? If not, what? Bongolian (talk) 05:05, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
@Bongolian I wrote out a response to say I didn't know what to do, but I had a thought that might work. Insofar as the "Examples" section is supposed to serve as a refutation of the appeal, it would be useful to have something concrete to connect that refutation to: some occurrence out in the wild of someone appealing to "natural foods" and the like as being healthy/healthier than manmade foods. If we could find a few sources and analyze those arguments, it should help sharpen the critique and provide some semblance that the food examples really belong on the page. I'll try to look for some pages and see what I can turn up. --Mabian (talk) 05:29, 5 February 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Mabian, off the top of my head, I can only think of one fairly direct case for advocating a natural diet then dying from it is the case of August Engelhardt, which I summarized on the raw foodism page. For herbal medicine though, which we should probably summarize, there are quite a few cases of people having adverse effects, including death. As for the food list, Rastafarians advocate an "ital" (i.e., vital or natural) diet. One of their favored dishes is ackee and saltfish, a double-whammy of sorts since ackee is on the food list and "salted fish, Chinese-style" is on the carcinogen list. Bongolian (talk) 05:59, 5 February 2019 (UTC)

There's also the section on deaths from veganism (primarily young children): Veganism#Vegan death and the vitamin B12 deficiency issue. Bongolian (talk) 20:12, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't know, after looking at it, I think this article is full of artificial, man-made edits. Wouldn't a natural article be better? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:18, 5 February 2019 (UTC)
@Ikanreed, someone made a bunch of natural edits long ago, but they got sick… of it. Bongolian (talk) 01:52, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for those suggestions, @Bongolian. I've done some revisions to the section to incorporate some of the material and move the GMO stuff in there. I don't know if more should be added or if there should be some more reworking, but this feels like a decent place to start. I wasn't able to locate any useful materials (I spent half an hour searching through some diet articles on NaturalNews to see if I could locate something like the appeal, but mostly came up with conspiracy stuff, naturally), but I don't think the article needs to be exhaustive on that front, so long as the article can connect how the appeal gets used in the real world to the problems with the appeal. That does, however, exhaust my ideas for what improvements could be made to that specific section. --Mabian (talk) 05:02, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
@Mabian, I think that most of the time, the argument is just implicit: naturopathy, "all natural", herbal, "back to nature". Bongolian (talk) 07:25, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
  1. 1.0 1.1 Why no Raspberry Ketones at NOW Foods?, The Herbal Insider.