The Challenges of
the Naturalistic Fallacy
The biggest problem for the natural or evolutionary basis for ethics is the Naturalistic Fallacy,
which is like the Is - Ought Fallacy. In his study of the term "good," the British philosopher G.E.
Moore (1873-1958) found that it was a term that was incapable of definition; the term good" was too
basic to define with simpler terms.
In attempting to connect ethics with evolution, evolutionary ethics commit a logical error when they
attempt to define the term "good."
The fallacy is drawing a conclusion about how things ought to be based on information about how
things are in fact. Thus, the Naturalistic Fallacy is committed when Charles Darwin identifies moral
"goodness" with "pleasure" or Herbert Spencer identifies it with "highly evolved." "Goodness" is not
defined as "pleasure" or "highly evolved," and "pleasure" and "highly evolved" cannot be concluded as
Darwin, and Spencer’s theories fail because of the Naturalistic Fallacy. Sociobiology and Meme Theory
avoid this fallacy, because no attempt is made to define the normative term "good" with empirical facts.
A resource for learning how to read the Bible.