The Appeal to Nature, also erroneously called the Naturalistic Fallacy, involves assuming something is good or correct on the basis that it happens in nature, is bad because it does not, or that something is good because it "comes naturally" in some way. This is fallacious because it assumes the "natural" to be an ideal state without argument, effectively using it as a synonym for "desirable" or "normal." This is a form of equivocation fallacy, because "natural" can mean "consonant to a thing's nature, proper, fitting"; things that happen on their own do not have to fit that definition.
Alice: That treatment is unnatural. You need to accept that it's your father's time rather than trying to fight it.
In most circumstances, Bob's father is obviously unlikely to consider himself better off dead than alive. This fallacy is sometimes combined with Retrospective Determinism, arguing that a given event was "just the way things are" and hence should not be regarded as negative. "It's nature's way."
The Natural Law Theory may look like this fallacy, but isn't. The nature it appeals to is the essence of something, not the wild and woolly outdoors (though its critics argue that it can't help but devolve into this still, e.g. what if something's nature isn't good?).
Many fantasy stories explain Necromancy and the undead as being evil as they "go against nature". Never mind by that logic one could claim wielding swords is evil, as it's not like you grow swords in a garden.
Compare All-Natural Snake Oil, which is when advertising uses an Appeal to Nature. Appeal to Inherent Nature is a subset of this fallacy where the claim is that, if something or someone is naturally predisposed to a certain act or state, then this must be accepted regardless of what it is.
- Any commercial that tells you its product is all-natural or accuses its competitors of using artificial ingredients. Less directly are commercials for foods that depict rolling hills, farmers in fields with tractors, rivers winding through mountain ranges, or attractive people leisurely sitting on park benches or exploring national parks when talking about themselves; or when talking about their competitors, depict scientists in sterile white laboratories pouring brightly-colored chemicals, large industrial machines mixing and packaging the food, or people doing math on chalkboards.
- Many products are advertised as having "all-natural sugar" (or, equivalently, "no added sugar"), as if the human metabolism can somehow distinguish sugars by source. Among the products which advertise themselves as "all-natural" and "no added sugar" is sugar cane juicenote .
- The term "essential oils" sounds like the oils are essential (as in, necessary and required for your health), but what it actually means is that they contain essence (as in, plant extract).
- Captain Proton And The Planet Of Lesbians: One of the Parody Commercials advertises "Radio-Active Water" for killing germs and "restoring your youthful vigor".
You might ask: is radio-activity dangerous to my health? Be assured that radium is not a synthetic drug or medicine but an entirely natural element, present in many hot springs famous for their recuperative properties.note
- Pokémon Strangled Red: Chillingly lampshaded by the narrator when, directing Steven to Lavender Town to resurrect his Charizard, Miki, he sees an NPC say:
"Sometimes dead is best."
- Rocketship Voyager: Inverted. Because Future Food Is Artificial, Captain Janeway concludes that natural food is good for an occasional treat but not healthy in the long run.
- Jurassic Park: Malcolm states that bringing back dinosaurs is bad partly because that's going against natural selection. The way he phrases it is particularly unfortunate, making it sound like he sees nature as an intelligent God that "decides" which species deserve to live.note
- Shrooms: Holly and Troy believe that taking magic mushrooms will be fine because they are "all natural", unlike Bluto's steroids.
- Theresa & Allison: Allison says it's just nature when vampires kill humans for blood, asking Theresa (who's not comfortable with this) whether she'd blame a lion who killed a lamb. Theresa objects that they aren't lions, but Allison says they aren't humans anymore either. However, it's shown blood from donations also works, and they don't have to kill humans. Many just don't care not to, and others clearly enjoy it.
- Troll 2: An evil witch is able to convince someone to drink a steaming green broth that has just turned someone else into green goo because "it is made from vegetable extracts".
- Two cavemen are lamenting their situation in a cave. One tells the other the following:
"Something's just not right. Our air is clean, our water is pure, we all get plenty of exercise, everything we eat is organic and free-range, and yet nobody lives past thirty."
- The Berenstain Bears: In The Big Honey Hunt, the Bear family is out of honey. Mama Bear asks Papa Bear to buy some more, but he insists on gathering it the old-fashioned way, bringing along his son to search for honey from a wild comb. In the process they anger many animals, including the beehive defending the honey they want. At the end, Papa and son settle for buying honey from the store.
- Carmilla: When Laura's father brings news of another peasant woman falling sick from the mysterious disease and tries to reassure Laura and Carmilla by asserting that even the disease must be within God's will, Carmilla in constrast puts forth her belief that the disease is natural, and that "all things in the heaven, in the earth, and under the earth act and live as Nature ordains". As it is strongly implied the disease of the peasant woman is caused by Carmilla feeding on her, Carmilla is transparently justifying her vampiric predation as a part of the natural order of things.
- Discworld: Pratchett has a lot of fun with this trope.
- King Verence and his wife Magrat fall prey to it on a regular basis, usually for the worse.
- Carpe Jugulum: King Verence is talked into drinking brose after being told "It's got herbs in", on the assumption it must be healthy. He spends most of the remainder of the book foaming at the mouth and randomly attacking inanimate objects. This, however, turns out to be useful. It should be noted that brose is what the Nac mac Feegle, six-inch pictsies who can drink their weight in lamp oil with no ill effects, drink to get their spirits up before marching into battle.
- Witches Abroad: Teetotaller and lightweight Magrat drinks a third of a bottle of absinthe because she vaguely recognizes it as involving wormwood, after which point she, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg start calling it "herbal wine".
- The popular drinks Scumble (made of "mostly apples") and Splot containing such vaguely defined ingredients as "tree bark" and "naturally occurring mineral salts".
- In another book, Ankh-Morpork's notorious CMOT Dibbler is making himself a killing off of a particularly desperate dandruff sufferer by selling herbal shampoo "now with more herbs!" One character notes, "throw a bunch of weeds in the pot and you've got herbs."
- The Fifth Elephant: When Acting-Captain Colon says he's opposed to "unnatural things" like Sonky's contraceptives, Lord Vetinari replies "You mean you eat your meat raw and sleep up a tree?"
- Going Postal: Vetinari takes a dig at the Appeal to Nature: "Freedom may be the natural state of mankind, but so is sitting in a tree eating your dinner while it's still wriggling."
- King Verence and his wife Magrat fall prey to it on a regular basis, usually for the worse.
- Marquis de Sade often had characters cite Nature having so much death to justify them committing murder, along with a larger proto-Social Darwinist view with the "Right of the Strong" being crushing anyone weaker than they are.
- One Nation, Under Jupiter: Diagoras invokes this, claiming homosexuality goes against evolution.
- The Traveler's Gate: Enosh wants to release the Incarnations to destroy the "unnatural" supremacy of Ragnarus, and bring everything back to the "natural order". They don't particularly care that millions will die when the Incarnations rampage, and even want to help them after they are freed. This isn't even the natural order. In truth, Incarnations are rare; usually whenever someone Incarnated, they would immediately return to their Territory and become a part of it. On the rare occasions when Incarnations would remain in the real world and rampage, Elysian Travelers would fight them. A conspiracy created eight Incarnations at the same time for an unknown purpose, resulting in an Elysian Traveler Incarnating to stop them, and then a Ragnarus Traveler Incarnating to stop her. It was a Ragnarus Traveler who saved the world by sealing all the Incarnations (except Elysia, who had returned to her Territory on her own) beneath the Hanging Trees.
- Adam Ruins Everything: Discussed with regard to breastfeeding vs. baby formula. One of Emily's friends berates her for using formula to feed her baby (who wouldn't latch at the hospital), saying that formula is "baby poison," and also that breastfeeding is the best or only way to bond with baby. Emily's mother-in-law, Patti, with the help of a researcher, shows her that formula is not toxic (as long as you use clean water and sterile bottles), it saved the lives of many babies whose mothers couldn't breastfeed, and that there's no conclusive evidence that using formula will adversely affect the baby's IQ or well-being...or that breastfeeding makes a difference in that regard. She and Adam also explain that breastfeeding is not the only way to bond with baby, and that the "love hormone" (oxytocin) is released while doing plenty of other things than breastfeeding (even things we might consider vices). The researcher explains that the view of formula as "baby poison" goes back to The '70s, when Nestle was marketing formula in poor countries, where clean water was not available, which led to the formula being contaminated by the dirty water, and in turn, a spike in infant death from diseases and parasites. (Not helping matters was the fact that these impoverished mothers were diluting the formula to help it last longer, because it was expensive for them, which led to babies dying of malnutrition as well.) This led to conspiracy theories, and the belief that formula is unsafe because it's artificial.
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie:
- Parodied in a sketch where a doctor is offering his patient cigarettes as a cure. "Oh, herbal cigarettes?" says the patient. "That's right, yes. The leaf originally comes from America — it's called tobacco" and "It's a perfectly natural leaf."
- Another Fry and Laurie sketch has a bedtime drink containing "nature's own barbiturates and heroin".
- Cosmos A Space Time Odyssey: Neil deGrasse Tyson points out that an appeal to nature was used to justify using the dangerous gasoline additive tetraethyllead, or "leaded" gasoline. Part of the campaign General Motors used was simply pointing out that lead was a naturally occurring element in the environment. Likewise, paint companies would resort to similar appeals. Long before the '60s, lead's toxicity was well-established to scientists, but the public outcry wasn't there. To a lay person, the appeal to nature could be convincing. A person with even a modest amount of knowledge of chemistry could say, "As are arsenic, mercury, and uranium; should I be ingesting those, too?" To this day, the cost of lead poisoning is staggering. A study available on the web at the website of the NIH of the United States puts the return on investment of eliminating lead at about 1700-2100%. Links between lead levels and criminality (controlling for other factors, such as income, neighborhood, and race), lower IQ, poorer school performance, and increased medical expenditures are uncontroversial in modern medical science. This fallacious argument to keep using lead led to terrible consequences we're still paying for today.
- Eureka has an episode where everyone is becoming dumber, and the supposedly-a-genius farmer doesn't think the additives she's using are bad, because they are "organic"...In a town of super-geniuses, granted lacking in common sense sometimes, this seemed rather glaring in its stupidity.
- Resident Alien: Harry tries to justify his plan for genocide against humanity by saying everything dies in the end, and it's only humans that won't accept this as simply natural.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures, where aliens convince millions of people to drink a new energy soda that contains alien parasites called "Bane" simply by claiming that Bane is "organic" (and by extension "healthy").
- Star Trek: Enterprise: In "Dear Doctor", Doctor Phlox argues against curing a disease affecting the Valakians on grounds that the existence of the Valakian species is holding back the evolution of the Menk species on the same planet. He argues to Captain Archer that they should "let nature take its course". For icing on the cake, Archer's closing monologue in effect claims this incident as the origin of the Prime Directive.
- Vampire: The Masquerade: This is the central precept of the Path Of The Beast, a system of Blue-and-Orange Morality followed by some Gangrel. This philosophy postulates that things are good because they are natural, and bad because they are unnatural. Thus, killing to sustain yourself and looking after your hunting grounds are good, but engaging in politics or using tools other than vampiric powers in hunting is morally reprehensible.
- Jade Empire is a pretty severe offender. Much of the setting's backstory revolves around a conflict between the Emperor and the Water Dragon, one of the setting's nature deities. The short version: the Water Dragon allowed (or perhaps even caused) a severe drought that nearly crippled the Empire and cost thousands of lives, and the Emperor captured, tortured, and maimed the Water Dragon to force her to make the drought stop. While the other characters never waste an opportunity to condemn the Emperor's actions, none of them ever do the same for the Water Dragon and automatically dismiss any suggestion that the Water Dragon's drought was anything but 100% justified, and this trope, along with Omniscient Morality License, is strongly implied to be the reason. Granted, the setting and culture are based on Chinese mythology, and the characters' unwillingness to question the morality of a goddess makes sense in context, but to a modern viewer, the Values Dissonance, while purposeful, can be pretty jarring.
- Manafinder: Illia and her worshipers believe that manastone usage is wrong because it goes against nature, and that excessive human expansionism will harm the ecological balance of Aevi. They also believe people should accept their inner nature and gut instincts in general.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain does this with hamburgers. Miller is trying to make the best burger possible by using Code Talker as a taste tester, and since Code Talker is a man of Native American descent who talks like a Magical Native American, Miller assumes the burger has to be as natural as possible. This trope eventually gets inverted when Code Talker tells Miller that good food is all about the flavor, which is achieved through science instead of nature, so Miller takes the opposite approach and creates a hamburger called the Chemical-Burger. Even though the burger is so loaded with additives that it's turned into an unnatural color, Code Talker finds the burger to be perfect.
- Telepath Tactics: The anarchist Zimmer tries to invoke this after learning that the local constabulary were paid off by their opponents, but is immediately debunked by Phoebe.
Zimmer: But to be honest, I prefer it this way: individuals duking it out like nature intended, instead of an unaccountable state picking winners and losers...
Phoebe: (sighing heavily) Nature does not have intent, Zimmer; it is nothing more than a series of systems. Civilization is no less "natural" than running alone, naked and delirious, through the woods.
- JonTron pokes fun at this when ripping on Gwyneth Paltrow's quotes and "natural cure" products which have been criticized as lacking scientific basis and outright labelled harmful and misleading by medical professionals, particularly her claim that "We're human beings and the sun is the sun — How can it be bad for you? I don't think anything that is natural can be bad for you." It cuts to Jon doing a Thousand-Yard Stare to Super Mario World music, sounds of people screaming, and a MASSIVE list of about 50 natural things that are dangerous, bad for you, or outright deadly scrolls by, ending with THE SUN.
- TV Tropes:
- See All-Natural Snake Oil for a lot of examples of this.
- This is the underlying logic of The Social Darwinist and often the Evilutionary Biologist; there are various versions, typically some variant of:
- The strong deserve to rule over and / or destroy the weak, because it's nature's way.
- Mankind has perverted the course of nature, so society needs to be destroyed / someone needs to genetically engineer a killer something to prey on man / whatever.
- This might also be why people think cybernetics will eat people's souls.
- Frequently comes up in rants about why New Media Are Evil.
- South Park: Played for Laughs a few times:
- Firstly is when "Miss Information" shows up in South Park pushing her all-natural ingredients, nearly killing Kyle in the process when she claims his worsening condition is his body "getting over its addiction to unnatural chemicals" and that he is vomiting up "toxins". It's not until the discovery that her "Native American suppliers" are just Cheech & Chong she hired to play the part that the public turns on her and accepts that Kyle has a severe terminal illness that requires proper medical attention to cure.
- And then there's Tweek Coffee, with their "all-natural organic ingredients sourced from local suppliers". Yeah it's "true", but those ingredients are illicit drugs from criminals...
- Natural law is a genuine concept in philosophy that certain values (and by extention laws) are the result of human nature, which obliges us to certain duties. It should be noted that the idea of natural law itself is not a fallacy, but it has been invoked by some people in a fallacious manner.
- This is often used with regard to social issues; for example, certain more extreme opponents of feminism contend that since the natural order for a great many species (particularly mammals) is for males to be dominant, women should not be granted the same rights as men. Apart from the numerous exceptions to this observation (such as the many matriarchal species of simians and the occasional Real Life One-Gender Race species that reproduce through parthenogenesis such as the whiptail lizard), this contention assumes that nature is what endows us with our rights. Yet historically, nature has never yet been demonstrated to provide any rights whatsoever to animals, let alone sexual equality. By this "logic" therefore, not only equality, but the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness would all have to be abolished and we would have to return to a Hobbesian state of total anarchy (in which life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short) in order to restore men to the "natural" social order in which such dominance arises. This is distinct from the idea of natural rights, which argues human rights exist as a result of our nature (similar to natural law theory above- there is often overlap). Part of the issue here is "natural" having multiple meanings as well, which can result in confusion. The same goes for ethical naturalism, which argues what's good is natural (which includes natural law theory). A rule of thumb is these views say the good is natural, though not everything natural is good, different from this fallacy.
- The overuse and misuse of antibiotics, pesticides, and herbicides (and the resulting resistance and health and environmental effects) have led quite a few people to denouncing all use of them per the appeal to nature, right down to claiming a conspiracy theory that any or all of the above are part of a Depopulation Bomb conspiracy. The problem is that while overuse and misuse needs to stop, to obliterate these products entirely (or allowing their continuing overuse and misuse to do just that by creating 100% resistance) will lead to The End of the World as We Know It. Especially in regard to antibiotics — these are the medications that turned such diseases as pneumonia, syphilis, and bubonic plague from terminal pandemic illnesses into quickly curable illnesses. In the same way, while many modern pesticides and their manufacture are bad for the environment, they are also a vital part in the control of disease-spreading, food-ruining, or venomous insect pests, especially for people and situations where setting up more natural methods of barriers and predators would be problematic. Ironically, organic farmers also use pesticides (made of "natural" toxins) which can be more harmful than synthetic ones since they are subject to far less testing. Additionally organic farming requires far more land use, meaning it could not possibly feed all the people necessary in today's world. The same arguments also apply to GMOs.
- A shocking amount of people think that organic food is not only better for you but better for the environment. The logic is that all those pestisides must be bad for nature and organic uses less so it must be better. However many people fail to realize that agriculture is THE single largest threat to the environment simply by the amount of space it takes up. Organic crops lose more of their product to pests so the solution is to simply destroy more natural habitats to plant more. So in this case, an appeal to nature means we have less of it, ironically.
- The idea of the superior "Noble Savage" has popped up repeatedly for centuries. The supposed moral superiority of the primitive person or beasts over civilized man has been a repeated assertion of certain philosophical romanticists such as Rousseau. Of course, since Nature Is Not Nice, a lot of these "savage" cultures have some 25% of their men dying in war, 20-50% of children failing to survive their childhood, and widespread polygamy (not very popular with these romanticists) in part as a consequence of the imbalance in the sexes resulting from this high mortality rate; not exactly what most of these philosophers would deem desirable outcomes for our cultures. Lampshaded by a December 1977 MAD Magazine article on "The History of Medicine": "In the Stone Age, very few people had childhood illnesses. The reason for this was simple: very few people had childhoods."
- A famous example from mathematics is Giovanni Saccheri's attempt to prove the parallel postulate. In his book, Euclid Freed of Every Flaw, Saccheri assumed the postulate was false and tried to derive a contradiction. Instead, he derived results that got stranger and stranger (but remained logically consistent), finally concluding that they were "repugnant to the nature of straight lines". Saccheri didn't know it, but he was developing what we now call hyperbolic geometry — a fruitful field of study that just doesn't work the same way Euclidean geometry does.
- Eric Schlosser mentions this in Fast Food Nation: sometimes artificial things are better for you than natural ones. The example he uses is almond flavoring; extracted naturally, it contains trace amounts of cyanide. That's the nature of "natural" and "artificial" ingredients, at least as defined under United States law. Often, the active chemical is identical, the difference being that the "artificial" ingredient is synthesized directly from its components as a pure substance while the "natural" ingredient is extracted from some naturally occurring source but usually includes contaminants that aren't removed in the extraction process.
- Lots of "herbal" supplements. The idea being that because they are "herbal" they can't be harmful. Belladonna, also called deadly nightshade, which is a poison, is an herb (in small amounts, it can be used as a soporific, but still). This also ignores the fact that anyone can be allergic to a plant that is not usually poisonous, making it harmful to him/her.
- In an extension of this, multiple supplements are now claiming (verbatim) "It's all natural, so there are no side effects." Depending on the product, this is either a case of misleading truth (it's natural and there are no side effects, whether its primary effect will do you any good or not), a case of Blatant Lies (it's natural, and there are some side effects, but these are just other natural aspects of it) or a case of selective omission (it's all natural, and there are no side effects. There are no primary effects either because this is actually just a placebo to help you psychologically while you follow the rest of the instructions we give you. Those are what will actually make you healthy).
- In German, the word "Chemie" (literally "chemistry", but in this case a more accurate translation would be "chemicals") is often used to refer to certain food additives and basically any other substance that the speaker considers to be "unnatural". The fallacy is that, technically, water is a chemical too, and so is everything else. So if you're condemning the use of "chemicals", you are basically against every substance known to man, the healthy ones as well as the unhealthy ones. Russian has a similar phrase, "Himya" (translated literally as chemistry, but often means "chemicals".).
- War is often said to be bad because it's a human invention, which isn't really true. Also not human inventions: agriculture (ants and termites, among others), division of labor (multiple species), language (disputed-multiple species), ownership (disputed-multiple species), tool use (apes, octopuses, crows, and others), or... well, actually, we didn't invent a lot. We mostly just do a lot of things other species do, but do it on a grander scale. What makes humans, or perhaps even just certain cultures, unique is the method in which we adapt and pass information on, forming increasingly complex societies that have greater ecological impacts. We didn't even invent paper. Wasps did that. We did, however, invent writing on paper — and writing in general, to be perfectly blunt. Wasps mostly just live in their paper, which incidentally includes crapping on it. (If you've ever seen a wasp's nest, you might notice black liquid dripping from it. That's wasp poop. You're welcome!)
- All sides contending over various sexual issues are guilty of this, claiming either that a given sexual practice is wrong because it's unnatural, or that it's perfectly natural and must therefore be acceptable. The aforementioned ambiguous meaning of "natural" produces a lot of equivocation and question-begging, serving only to cloud these arguments further.
- This is a point in arguments against preservation of endangered species. Extinction is a natural event that occurs when a species is no longer fit to survive in its environment. Attempting to repopulate a Dying Race works against the natural order in both the target species as well as those that share a niche. Not an example of the fallacy when referring to animals that have specifically become endangered due to human activity, such as whaling.
This is what happened with a polar bear named Knut: His mother rejected him after he was born, and some people suggested to let him die because that's how it works in the wild (polar bear mothers reject any cubs if she's already raising one or two, leaving them to die), never mind the fact that polar bears are endangered and this was a big step up in learning how to keep them from dying out. Also, he wasn't in the wild.
- Back in the days when they sold radioactive water to kill off germs and "restore your youthful vigor", the ads reassured potential customers that it wasn't dangerous to their health because "Radium is not a synthetic drug or medicine but an entirely natural element, present in many hot springs famous for their recuperative properties."
- The argument in favor of the tropes My Girl Is Not a Slut and I'm a Man; I Can't Help It. The idea is that men are supposed to impregnate as many women as they can, and thus have a need to be promiscuous, while women are supposed to be the ones that are choosy. Even if true biologically (which it isn't), that would not make it right.
- Many a Straw Vegetarian has used this argument to demonstrate that a meat-inclusive diet is unnatural and unhealthy for humans. They also like to argue that eating meat is unnatural because it has to be cooked, as if steak tartare, sashimi or cooked vegetables didn't exist (plants that have to be cooked to be eaten, like rice and potatoes, go conveniently unmentioned when this argument pops up). Many opponents of vegetarianism also use this fallacy, arguing that it is right to eat meat because humans are naturally omnivorous. Similarly, proponents of such diets as the Paleo Diet and gluten-free diets for those who do not have celiac disease decry the consumption of grain as the source of all of humanity's chronic health woes (cancer, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, dementia, obesity, and even male-pattern baldness).
- In Nazi Germany, propaganda glorified the "natural order" which, according to the Nazis, was that the strong should dominate the weak and that the "master race" should subjugate the "inferior" races. This worldview is illustrated in Education for Death, in which the Nazi teacher uses the story of a fox devouring a rabbit to teach students the "lesson" that the weak should perish and the strong should kill and devour them. This argument preceded the Nazis by decades: social Darwinists used the argument to justify many horrible things, like "scientific" racism and eugenics. Indeed, it even preceded Darwinism itself. The argument that Might Makes Right is the natural order of things goes back millennia.
- The pseudoscientific practice of Lunaception posits that before the advent of artificial lighting, women's menstrual cycles were perfectly synced to the moon's phases, with ovulation taking place at the full moon and menstruation taking place at the new moon (unless, of course, she was pregnant or nursing, or not of reproductive age). The solution to menstrual irregularities and infertility, according to this practice, is to reset the body's clock by eliminating light from the bedroom except during the full moon. Supposedly, it also eliminates the need for artificial contraception, as ovulation is supposed to become more predictable.
- Some of the supporters of traditional gender roles and expectations (in particular, certain religious leaders), say that women are "oppressed" because they are (supposedly) overwhelmed with all the choices they have, or are unsatisfied with life because they picked options other than what's (supposedly) "natural." (i.e. choosing to go to college instead of marrying right out of High School, choosing to get married later in life, or not get married at all, choosing to cohabitate with a partner rather than get legally and formally married, choosing to have children later in life or not have children at all, choosing to have a career outside the home rather than being a Housewife, being the primary breadwinner for the household instead of depending on her husband to be the provider, choosing to Marry for Love instead of accepting an Arranged Marriage based on socioeconomic considerations, etc.)
- This is the reason for the Catholic church's official stance on birth control. They believe that every cell and organ has a divinely-ordained natural purpose, and that the natural purpose of the reproductive organs is, well, reproducing, and that therefore having sex solely or primarily for pleasure (even as a married couple) "cheapens" the act because you're blocking the natural purpose of these organs artificially (it does concede that some couples may wish to limit the number of children they have or delay having children, and allows for "natural" methods of birth control, such as the Rhythm Method or the symptothermal method of "natural family planning," on the grounds that these fertility-awareness methods don't introduce artificial barriers or disrupt the natural menstrual cycle). It takes a dim view of IVF for partially the same reason (the others being the "extra" embryos produced in the process being left in the freezer indefinitely or destroyed, and the possibility of it being a slippery slope to Designer Babies, which they're against as well). Another reason they oppose IVF is the sperm used is generally gained by masturbation, which they oppose by the same theory (though other methods of gaining samples they approve of are also possible).
- The anti-vaxx movement. Some parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated against diseases like whooping cough, mumps, chicken pox, HPV, etc., because they think that because the vaccine is artificial, it's dangerous, or they don't understand how vaccines work, or they think it's a government conspiracy of some sort (read: it's not). Long story short, a vaccine is more or less just the equivalent of teaching your immune system karate so it can, all-naturally, kick a disease's ass if it gets cornered in a dark alley by one, and "the government" already has more than enough means at its disposal to do anything with people that a vaccine allegedly allows them to do like "control" or "track" us (unsurprisingly, simple bank, employment history, tax records, bills, and mundane laws, to say nothing of the geolocation, microphone, and camera-equipped always-online spy's wetdream that has all your info and is tied to all your personal accounts most people carry in their pockets, are a lot better at this than a vaccine).
- Any time someone says "life isn't fair" to justify acting unfairly they are engaging in this fallacy.
- Many people believe that for animals, living freely in the wild is best for them. There is evidence that assuming all their needs are met, animals are actually happier in good zoos that follow a good standard of care. Wild animals have consistently been shown to have higher levels of stress hormones and live shorter, harder lives. They suffer everything from hunger, predation, disease, no medical treatment when injured, etc... Animals in zoos do not have to worry about food, they are protected from predators, are given toys and other enrichment to play with, are given medical treatment if needed, and are housed with others of their species if social. Of course, there are plenty of bad zoos where the animals are all miserable, so this all depends on the individual zoo.
- Inverted by raw food advocates, who argue that cooking foods simply stave off rotting—the perfectly natural process of decomposition.
- Some hardcore vegetarians/vegans argue against dairy because it's not natural to drink a cow's milk, and usually bolster this argument by saying "Why don't we drink horse/dog/pig/rat/whatever milk, then?" Putting aside that people in many cultures do consume milk from larger ungulates like horses and goats, the argument fundamentally misunderstands why cow's milk is the go-to: Bovines are very big animals and usually very docile, meaning they are easy to milk and produce a very large yield per cow. Even if it were delicious and packed with nutrients, who the hell would go to the trouble to milk dogs or rats instead?
- The food craze where candy, cookies and whatnot labeled "fat-free" are automatically assumed to be healthy for you. A five-pound bag of sugar also has zero fat in it.
Seanbaby: "Are you insecure, candy? Because you don't see gravy bragging about being sugar-free. This label is so irrelevant to consumer health that they only put it there so your doctor can laugh when he asks how you got diabetes."
- The transphobic argument that because things like gender confirmation surgery and hormone replacement therapy are manmade and cannot change the sex chromosomes you were born with or allow you to have the reproductive functions of your self-identified gender, trans people are participating in a harmful delusion or mutilating themselves as a denial of their own biological reality. In truth, it has been shown that being trans is naturally occurring (with apparent epigenetic causes) and biological sex has been found to be far more of a complicated spectrum than was previously known. There are even animals capable of changing their biological sex later in life. So such arguments (even in regards to what's biological or otherwise natural) don't stand up.
- This argument is occasionally used in support of marijuana legalization: the plant is naturally occurring, so it shouldn't be illegal to do all the fun things you can do with the plant. Identifying the fallacy doesn't in any way impact one's views on the wisdom of marijuana legalization, it should go without saying.
- Tobacco is naturally occurring, too, and despite what people think, most of the processing it usually goes through doesn't add in the most harmful stuff, but instead takes some of it out. The reason you're not supposed to inhale cigar smoke isn't just because of its harsh taste and heaviness, but because natural tobacco leaf contains much more nicotine and tar than your average cigarette, and can very easily make you sick if that much goes into the bloodstream at once. American Spirit cigarettes bank on this fallacy by boasting that their cigarettes are 100% natural tobacco, even though this actually means they have more tar than the competition, not less.