Appeal to Consequences

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    Appeal To Consequences

    The truth or falsity of a statement is decided by the positive or negative consequences of it.
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    If global warming is occurring and is caused by humans, then we are obligated to do something to stop or slow it.
    The most effective way to do so is for businesses to cut down on carbon emissions.
    The short term costs of cutting carbon emissions would be economically devastating.
    Q.E.D: Global Warming is either not occurring, not caused by humans, or both.

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    Or, conversely,
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    If global warming is occurring and is caused by humans, then we are obligated to do something to stop or slow it.
    The most effective way to do so is for businesses to cut down on carbon emissions.
    The long-term economic benefits of stopping global warming will be enormous.
    Q.E.D.: Global warming is both occurring and caused by humans.

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    Ain't it fun when you can use the same fallacy and essentially the same argument and "prove" diametrically opposite conclusions?
    Examples of Appeal to Consequences include:
    • Lord Denning actually used this as a reason to quash the Birmingham Six's appeal against their conviction. If they were innocent, he argued, it means that the police must have lied and forged confessions. If the police really did lie, this would be really bad for society. Therefore, they must be guilty.
    • Child molestation accusations, also a case of Appeal to Fear. It's horrible to have an active child molester roaming around, so people accused of child molestation are often never trusted again by society, whether there's any proof of it or not. Taking note of this trope in this instance, though, can cause the opposite problem: assuming an accused child molester is innocent when they're not, because it'd be horrible to accuse someone wrongly of child molestation. The issue is a very polarizing instance of this appeal, which is why there was so much drama over Michael Jackson.
    • An argument for the existence of god (Any god, logical fallacies aren't picky) is how much life would suck if there was no god. Conversely, some atheists claim exactly the opposite, that life would suck if gods did exist. Christopher Hitchens was noteworthy for often being more adamant about how horrible it would be if the Christian god existed, than he was about actually disproving the Christian god. Bear in mind though, that either side isn't necessarily making this fallacy, and may just be making an observation.
      • Likewise, evolution is often claimed by creationists to have all sorts of horrible consequences if true, quickly summed up as "If we're descended from monkeys, then we will act like monkeys." Besides most of these negative consequences being false or irrelevant (If humans are apes, then to act 'like an ape' does not preclude acting like a human), the desirability of common ancestry has nothing to do with it's truth value.

    Looks like this fallacy but isn't

    • When the question isn't about the truth or falsity of a statement, but is instead about whether or not to follow a particular course of action.