Naturally Unnatural by Sara Walker

In psychology, the naturalistic fallacy is defined as a bias in believing that what is observed is natural and therefore good.  However, the implications of these false perceptions can have a lot of negative effects.

I read a biography entitled “Not Another Sarah.”  It was written about a girl named Sarah at BYU who married an extremely abusive man named William.  He continually beat her, shouted at her, raped her, and demoralized her.  By the end of the book, he was planning to murder her.  Sarah felt trapped in her situation.  At one point, she talked to her mother-in-law and told her that she was being abused.  From that conversation, Sarah learned that William’s father was just as abusive as William.  (Check out this website for more information about this book:

This is a clear example of how succumbing to the naturalistic fallacy can have detrimental effects.  William believed that what he observed growing up as a child was natural and normal.  William learned his role as a husband was to be abusive because this is what he observed.  We are often most affected by what we observe in our childhood homes.  I find myself organizing and cleaning just like my mom did because I developed a biased belief that the habits my mother has are characteristic of good mothers and wives.  In this case, I feel like it’s a good habit (but of course I’m biased).  However, we often don’t recognize the role the naturalistic fallacy plays in our lives.  Especially in our familial relationships, we should analyze our “naturalistic” behaviors and see if they really are good.  Think about it.  How does the naturalistic fallacy affect you?

Sara Walker

  1. #1 by cdthomas34 on June 4, 2012 - 3:04 PM

    I agree completely that we can succumb to the naturalistic behaviors that seem normal- but may not be all that positive. Could this also be an example of modeling- where we learn how to act or react by watching others. In the example that you posted, William modeled the abusive behavior of his father. I think they both play into each other to a degree. Thanks for your post.

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