In response to the article “Arizona Criminalizes Certain Abortions” one (notably, me) might have the following train of thought:
[li] There is something sick about doing a brute force search through all possible babies and aborting the ones you don’t like. Sperm/egg selection and IVF is a more reasonable option if you want to do artificial selection.[/li][li] BUT, is there any evidence that people are really aborting babies because they don’t like their characteristics? Maybe there are a few outlier cases but that’s probably it. Or maybe not, it’s probably widespread in China. But this is Arizona, not China.[/li][li] Well, what does it matter. This is just a conservative approach in case this becomes a popular trend. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt anyone. [/li][/ul]
Fairly convincing, no? But wait, have I done a brute force search through all possible scenarios in which this law could hurt someone? No, I haven’t. And it seems exceedingly likely that there is some scenario in which it could hurt someone, rendering the argument trivially false. Therefore, I should have reasoned “In the meantime, it probably doesn’t hurt very many people.”
Unfortunately this opens the statement up to a smorgasbord of attacks, notably that we must now compare the costs of the law against its benefits, which promises to be unwieldy.
Now that I’ve likely made your blood boil (and remember, this is GQ), my question is simply, does the “it doesn’t hurt anyone” fallacy have a name, or fall into the category of any existing fallacies?