The Sluggard’s Fallacy

I encountered this one in the wild, and figured it might be fun to explore:

Person A: If the wheat crop fails, we can feed the people apples.

Person B: But not every person may like apples, and some apples may be rotten!

Technically, this isn’t a fallacy so much as confusing a disadvantage of a proposition with a contradiction. A contradiction occurs when a proposition destroys what it hopes to achieve; on the other hand, all propositions have disadvantages. If I say we should go to lunch at a pizza joint, there’s an opportunity cost and the disadvantage that we can’t also eat Greek food.

Person A: If we want to influence the world, we should get power by taking positions of responsibility in industry, religion and government.

Person B: But not everyone one of us will succeed in those roles, and many of us will become corrupted by the lure of money, so let’s not — let’s post on livejournal instead!

The Sluggard’s Fallacy is more of a mentality, and it’s a very modern one. If a proposition is not 100% successful, or does not treat succeed in every single instance, it is assumed to be bad. This arises from human conversations where one person suggests an idea and others shoot it down. It may technically be simply an inversion of the No True Scotsman fallacy but that’s not really the point.

The point is that our mental outlook has decayed to the level of whiners and sluggards — lazy cowards. We want any proposed idea to be magically 100% successful, even though nothing is, or we want it to go away so we can keep being mentally lazy. It’s a widely-distributed version of the drunk dad watching sports who doesn’t want to be reminded the kitchen’s on fire.


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