They’re Logically Fallacious! Moving The Goalposts

Riley Sproul Ideas, Logical Fallacies Leave a Comment

Here we are, the end of April, and all I can think about is fallacies. This week, Moving The Goalposts:


Moving The Goalposts

(argument by demanding impossible perfection)

An informal fallacy that occurs when one constantly or consistently changes the parameters of success. Usually in a rebuttal type format. Very similar to the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

Example: 1) Explain A. 2) explanation received. 3) well… Explain B. 4) explanation received. 5) Well you’re still wrong.

Real World Example:

Ken: There has to be an objective morality because otherwise terms like “right” and “wrong” would be meaningless, since they have no foundation for comparison.
Rob: The terms “right” and “wrong” are based on cultural norms, which do have a subjective foundation — one that changes as the moral sphere of the culture changes. The term “heavy” does not have an objective standard, yet we have no problem using that term in a meaningful way. In fact, very few relational terms have any kind of objective foundation.
Ken: But without an objective morality, we would all be lost morally as a race.
Rob: Many would say that we are.
Ken: But how can you say that torturing children for fun is morally acceptable in any situation?
Rob: Personally, I wouldn’t, but you are implying that anything that is not objective must necessarily be seen in all possible ways. A feather may not be seen as “heavy” to anyone, but that doesn’t mean its “lightness” is still not relative to other objects.
Ken: But God is the standard of objective morality. Prove that wrong!
Rob: That I cannot do. (Source)

Indicator: For me, when the points I make are dismissed, and new points are requested, I look for this fallacy. Also, if the conclusion is to the effect of “Well you’re still wrong…” then I know we’ve entered fallacious territory.




Next week: Begging the Question

Last week: Ad Hominem

Look how far we’ve come!

Riley Sproul has a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in PreMed, and a Chemistry Minor, from the University of Toledo. His goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with in the next 4-5 years. His interests include sci-fi, PC-gaming, playing guitar, and a variety of other hobbies.
They’re Logically Fallacious! Moving The Goalposts was last modified: April 27th, 2015 by Riley Sproul