What is the naturalistic fallacy, sometimes known as the is-ought problem? It is the fallacy that if something is a certain way in nature, that’s the way it ought to be. It is widely beloved of anti-vaxxers, organic food advocates, and natural childbirth advocates among others.skepticalob.com
I refuse to pay extra for food that is labeled natural or organic, and that is because there is no thing called natural. There is no test which can be conducted to determine if a thing is natural or not. There are no standards by which something can be deemed to be natural. Something either exists, or it doesn’t, naturally. Slapping a label on the thing that makes the claim that it is natural does not make it more real than the identical thing next to it which doesn’t have the label. It is a meaningless category, a label which does nothing but sell food at a higher markup.
Herzig said that what people who consistently eat organic foods are purchasing is the emotional satisfaction of knowing they’re taking steps to improve themselves and the environment.
“Is it actually better for you?” she said. “I’d go with no.”latimes.com
There is no thing called Organic. There are Organic standards which organic food growers are supposed to comply with in order to put the label on their products, but those standards aren’t what most people assume they are. Organic foods are treated with chemicals. The chemicals they use are approved organic chemicals. Organic foods are sprayed with organic approved pesticides, which are generally harsher and less effective than the non-organic approved pesticides. Organic is a meaningless label which the average person perceives means something that the label does not communicate.
These two labels as they pertain to foodstuffs are set out to create a false grouping of foods which are in no discernible way different from other foods which don’t have that label. Foods which can be shown to be altered, because some person altered them to our mutual benefit. Make no mistake, we have altered all of our foods over the course of the last several thousand years. None of them are natural in the way that the average person thinks of natural, as in found in nature.
Editor’s note. I wrote the bones of this at the same time that I wrote,
The Wife convinced me that I needed to separate the two subjects, that I was being overly general when I approached the subject of gender issues as being an issue of false categorization. In hindsight I think she was correct, even though I felt like I was making a huge concession in cutting this portion of the article out for reasons of sensitivity. Human is human. There are no categories of human that should be cleaved off in order to treat those humans differently than the others. There shouldn’t be a grouping called trans. I’m not even convinced there is a grouping that constitutes man or woman that incorporates all the people who want to be in those groups.
She was right because the subject of the natural fallacy is both more general and more specific than gender issues are, and placing the natural fallacy into that specific framework would distract from the fact that the concept of natural is a fiction that we need to shed ourselves of. In the meantime I went on to publish several other posts on the subject,
…but I never called out the thing that was most important. The fallacy of believing anything to be natural. This article fixes that oversight.