In a current thread, frequent objector, Seversky, posed a one liner objection intended to dismiss an OP: “Argumentum ad consequentiam.“
This raises an obvious issue on logic and linked epistemology, as argument by reduction to absurdity (which is broader than simple logical contradiction) is a well recognised argument type. Where, also, the issue is not emotive reaction to logical or operational consequences, but that that which is false or evil often leads to chaos, logical or existential or both. Thus, for example, we learn from history that certain things are manifestly false or evil.
In short, we need a way to responsibly decide on when an argument succeeds as a reductio. For example, dismissing any arguments we do not like the conclusions of or which overturn favoured views with, oh that appeals to bad consequences which is a fallacy, is itself patently absurd.
So, in comment 7, I addressed this: >>It seems the core of the problem (insofar as there is a real issue) is whether there is a FAILED reductio ad absurdum, where all that has been shown is unpalatability or undesirability not actual absurdity. However, when evolutionary materialistic scientism is injected into the picture, what we have is a large number of ways in which self-referential incoherence, amorality and the nihilist’s credo, might and/or manipulation make ‘right’ ‘rights’ ‘truth’ ‘knowledge’ ‘justice’ etc. lead to broad incoherence and needless chaos. That is indeed a general reduction to the absurd.
Let me clip logically fallacious dot com:
Reductio ad Absurdum
reductio ad absurdum
(also known as: reduce to absurdity)
Description: A mode of argumentation or a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd conclusion. Arguments that use universals such as, “always”, “never”, “everyone”, “nobody”, etc., are prone to being reduced to absurd conclusions. The fallacy is in the argument that could be reduced to absurdity — so in essence, reductio ad absurdum is a technique to expose the fallacy.
Assume P is true.
From this assumption, deduce that Q is true.
Also, deduce that Q is false.
Thus, P implies both Q and not Q (a contradiction, which is necessarily false).
Therefore, P itself must be false.
This is the obvious case, and the one widely used in modern Mathematics.
Reduction to absurdity, however, is not just a matter of the necessary impossibility of any candidate possible world in which x and ~x “must” both obtain. There are legitimate broader senses of absurdity, especially those connected to the self-referential incoherence of undermining undeniable moral government of our minds. For, absent such moral government of our intellects through known duties to truth, right reason, sound conscience, fairness and justice etc, the credibility of human reasoning and communication collapses into chaos. We can take it as a corollary that no worldview [i.e. perspective on our world, i.e. a candidate possible world model of our in-common, actual world] that undermines the credibility of having a worldview, could pass the triple test of factual adequacy, broad coherence and balanced explanatory power. In particular, as intellect has to be used to frame such a view, one that radically undermines credibility of mind is broadly incoherent. Thus, absurd.
However, unfortunately, as scientism dresses up absurdity in the lab coat many are tempted to a very different fallacy: clinging to manifest absurdity, through having made a crooked yardstick their standard for straight, upright and accurate. Which is of course one of the issues explored in Plato’s famous parable of the cave.
In this case, News is well within her rights to point out the inherent amorality of evolutionary materialism, which ever since Plato has been known to open the door to nihilism. It is the worldview level absurdity of our evolutionary materialism dominated culture in its present form that is opening the door to raw nihilism. Which, we are going to have to face.
In former days, resulting misanthropy such as that of a Robespierre was relatively rare; now it is becoming a mass problem.
That is something we have to face.
And no, dismissing a genuine worldview level reductio as though it were mere fallacious appeal to disliked consequences without strong substantiation simply will not do. Ask yourself, are you clinging to a crooked yardstick? How are you responding to a naturally straight and upright plumb line?>>
I then added: >>For reference, Plato’s warning:
Ath [in The Laws, Bk X 2,350+ ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity] . . . .
[Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-
[ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics and law: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]
These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,
[ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”) . . . ]
and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].>>
Also: >>Wikipedia raises a viewpoint worth pondering:
Appeal to consequences, also known as argumentum ad consequentiam (Latin for “argument to the consequence”), is an argument that concludes a hypothesis (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. This is based on an appeal to emotion and is a type of informal fallacy, since the desirability of a premise’s consequence does not make the premise true. Moreover, in categorizing consequences as either desirable or undesirable, such arguments inherently contain subjective points of view.
In logic, appeal to consequences refers only to arguments that assert a conclusion’s truth value (true or false) without regard to the formal preservation of the truth from the premises; appeal to consequences does not refer to arguments that address a premise’s consequential desirability (good or bad, or right or wrong) instead of its truth value. Therefore, an argument based on appeal to consequences is valid in long-term decision making (which discusses possibilities that do not exist yet in the present) and abstract ethics, and in fact such arguments are the cornerstones of many moral theories, particularly related to consequentialism. Appeal to consequences also should not be confused with argumentum ad baculum, which is the bringing up of artificial consequences (i.e. punishments) to argue that an action is wrong.
Notice, the fact vs value dichotomy here. I note, once there are moral truths (such as that we are governed by duties of reason) this falls apart.>>
So, we must beware lest dismissal on presumed fallacious appeal to consequences becomes in fact an excuse to cling to a crooked yardstick even in the face of a corrective, naturally straight and upright plumb line:
This calls for prudence. END