Author Topic: Name that logical fallacy  (Read 578 times)

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Offline Roro86

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Name that logical fallacy
« on: March 11, 2019, 04:40:44 AM »
Dear Skeptics,

An old colleague posted the following thoughts on their Facebook. Instinctively it feels like there is a logical fallacy in there but I cannot point it out. Could you help me?
Thank you!!


"I often get the feeling that I have to feel guilty for my ecological footprint. Because I have four children. Made in tempore non suspecto, admittedly. Two reservations.
1. If my children's footprint is my responsibility, is my footprint the responsibility of my parents? In this way we can regressively stick everything on Adam and Eve.
2. Much more important: if every European would have only one child left, we would be strongly committed to ... immigration to keep our economy running, to pay for the ageing of the population, etc. So the actual population decline would then be much slower than the decline in the birth rate. An African or Asian with now a low footprint would then adopt a European consumption pattern, and net there would be little change in European CO2 emissions."

Online Gigabyte

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 05:23:46 AM »
Dear Skeptics,

An old colleague posted the following thoughts on their Facebook. Instinctively it feels like there is a logical fallacy in there but I cannot point it out. Could you help me?
Thank you!!


"I often get the feeling that I have to feel guilty for my ecological footprint. "
Yep.  That is a fallacy.  In the sense that a fallacy = a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.

I don't know what the name of it is, but it is certainly a fallacy.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 09:45:58 AM »
Feeling guilty accomplishes nothing, and can actually lead to social paralysis. Don't feel guilty. Instead, try to act responsably. Having fewer children (always a good thing) is only one of many ways you can reduce your footprint. Using less energy is another way: do what you are able to switch to sustainable sources, eliminate inefficiencies, use less overall. Another would be helping to eliminate the poverty and powerlessness of women in developing countries that are driving factors in the high birth rates there.

I know I'm not answering your question. But note that not every failure to correctly analyze a problem involves logical fallacies. FWIW I'm terrible at "name that logical fallacy."

I wonder if "reductio ad absurdum" is a logical fallacy. I'd say it applies to shifting the "blame" for overpopulation back to (fictional!) Adam and Eve. Note also that before the modern era, overpopulation was not a problem. Quite the opposite: maintaining a sufficient population was the problem.

Finally, your childrens' footprint is only partly your responsibility. You are responsible for bringing them into the world, but once they grow up they are responsible for their own choices. To go back to the absurd example of Adam and Eve, they are responsible for the birth of Cain and Abel, but they are not responsible for Cain's crime in murdering his brother. Your parents are responsible for bringing you into the world, but they are not responsible for your choices that led to your having children of your own. Again, I'm not sure what logical fallacies there might be in your Facebook friend's analysis. Just that their approach is counterproductive.
Daniel
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 11:03:13 AM »
As Daniel notes, sometimes you are just wrong, no need of a logical fallacy.  That being said, reductio ad absurdum is a logical fallacy. Feelings of guilt are not objective and so not really subject to logical arguments. 

 

"I often get the feeling that I have to feel guilty for my ecological footprint. Because I have four children. Made in tempore non suspecto, admittedly. Two reservations.
What does, "in tempore non suspecto" mean?  The internet has not been helpful.
Quote

1. If my children's footprint is my responsibility, is my footprint the responsibility of my parents? In this way we can regressively stick everything on Adam and Eve.

As noted, reduction to the absurd.  You are of course responsible for your choices(Maybe, I'm not at all sure we have free choice but we have to act as though we do anyway) Is this just a weird attempt to duck out of personal responsibility?
Quote

2. Much more important: if every European would have only one child left, we would be strongly committed to ... immigration to keep our economy running, to pay for the ageing of the population, etc. So the actual population decline would then be much slower than the decline in the birth rate. An African or Asian with now a low footprint would then adopt a European consumption pattern, and net there would be little change in European CO2 emissions."
This would still likely reduce CO2 emissions over all.  The developed economies are transitions to more sustainable energy sources on account of being rich while the developing economies are a bit behind on account of not being rich. Anyrate, its not as though higher birthrates in the developed world would translate to lower birth rates elsewhere.  This seems very much a non sequitur in regards to environmental footprint.

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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 01:52:47 PM »


http://www.clsadb.com/document/73e3c15f-d5b6-44d9-9e87-819e8a4944b9
You couldn't just have said, "when he didn't know more kids was bad for the environment"

Offline John Albert

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 01:53:42 PM »
reductio ad absurdum is a logical fallacy

No, it isn't. At least not necessarily.

Reductio ad absurdum is just an argumentation tactic that may or may not be fallacious, depending on how it's presented. The classic reductio ad absurdum is an extension of a faulty line of reasoning to the point where the fault becomes obvious.

For example, a reasonable reductio ad absurdum could be made to refute the argument that poaching trees from public lands should be decriminalized; you could point out that if everybody took just one tree, the entire forest would quickly be ruined. The point is not that every single person in the world is going to steal a tree. The point is that every stolen tree causes some damage, and that adds up.

Where a reductio ad absurdum can go wrong, is when it is turned into a slippery slope fallacy by asserting some exaggerated real-world consequences instead of drawing a metaphor. Like if somebody made an argument against homosexuality which asserted that everybody will become gay and the human race will go extinct; that would be a bad reductio ad absurdum in the form of a slippery slope fallacy.


What does, "in tempore non suspecto" mean?  The internet has not been helpful.

It means that the action in question was performed at a point in time time before the actor expected the potential outcome. I'm guessing Roro86 intended it to mean the unintentional conception of children.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 01:56:00 PM by John Albert »

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 04:15:42 PM »

I often get the feeling that I have to feel guilty for my ecological footprint.


What is the relevance of feelings of guilt? 

I’d suggest this is a non seqitur. 

Quote


1. If my children's footprint is my responsibility, is my footprint the responsibility of my parents? In this way we can regressively stick everything on Adam and Eve.

I suppose you could assign blame or guilt or responsibility to any real or fictional characters past or present, because it is entirely inconsequential. What does it matter who you blame? 

Quote

2. Much more important: if every European would have only one child left, we would be strongly committed to ... immigration to keep our economy running, to pay for the ageing of the population, etc. So the actual population decline would then be much slower than the decline in the birth rate. An African or Asian with now a low footprint would then adopt a European consumption pattern, and net there would be little change in European CO2 emissions."

A low birth rate in Europe does not mean a lower birth rate in Africa or Asia or anywhere else. By what mechanism would you expect increased immigration to lead to a reduced birth rate.?



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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2019, 05:08:35 PM »
reductio ad absurdum is a logical fallacy

No, it isn't. At least not necessarily.

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That is true, I could have been more clear thanks for the clarification.
Quote
What does, "in tempore non suspecto" mean?  The internet has not been helpful.

It means that the action in question was performed at a point in time time before the actor expected the potential outcome. I'm guessing Roro86 intended it to mean the unintentional conception of children.
Funny, once I figured out what it literally meant, I figured Roro86 meant that when the children were conceived the parent wasn't aware the notion of environmental footprints.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2019, 05:19:52 PM »
That is true, I could have been more clear thanks for the clarification.

No problem! I'm a bit of a geek about the argumentation terminology.


Funny, once I figured out what it literally meant, I figured Roro86 meant that when the children were conceived the parent wasn't aware the notion of environmental footprints.

That could be. I was just guessing with my interpretation.

Come to think of it, yours makes more sense in context. 

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 10:33:06 PM »
What does, "in tempore non suspecto" mean?  The internet has not been helpful.

My high school Latin suggests "I did not suspect at the time". Google Translate gives me "in the time, there must be suspected," but it's never been that great with Latin.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2019, 08:59:12 AM »
What does, "in tempore non suspecto" mean?  The internet has not been helpful.

My high school Latin suggests "I did not suspect at the time". Google Translate gives me "in the time, there must be suspected," but it's never been that great with Latin.
The translation I got was along the lines of "in the suspected time". 

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Name that logical fallacy
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2019, 09:16:50 PM »
What does, "in tempore non suspecto" mean?  The internet has not been helpful.

My high school Latin suggests "I did not suspect at the time". Google Translate gives me "in the time, there must be suspected," but it's never been that great with Latin.
The translation I got was along the lines of "in the suspected time".

The verb "suspecto" is first-person singular: I suspect. "Non" negates the verb: I do not suspect. "In tempore" means "in time". "In tempore non suspecto" literally therefore means "I do not suspect in time".
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