Monday, January 3, 2011

Writing The Wrong

In a typical linkorama I came across an idea behind which I can totally get:

Duane over at Abnormal Interests talks about people who refuse to trust the experts. Along the way he quotes the famous Isaac Asimov piece The Relativity of Wrong:

John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.

It’s kind of a shame that reality is too slippery for us to quantify the amount of wrongness. Think of how useful it would be to if we had a unit of wrongness. Let’s say we had a unit – for absolutely no reason at all let’s call it a “beck” – that would allow us to express how wrong something is. “Ooh, close, but you’re wrong by 3 millibecks.” or “Whoa, off by a kilobeck.”

Nor would readers of this blog be surprised to apprehend that I strongly support the name of the unit, as well.

For absolutely no reason at all.

(I must admit the very concept of a kilobeck causes the sutures in my cranium to loosen. How wrong could something possibly be to qualify? Could it even exist? Would it not be a black hole of wrong such that all rightness would be sucked into it and light would disappear from the universe? And all parallel universeri? Henceforth and forever more?)

1 comment:

Sam Spade said...

Sometimes the "earth is spherical" crowd really isn't much better than the "earth is flat" crowd. The USA (2005 numbers) spends $4,271/person/yr for a life expectancy of 78.3 years. Mexico spends $236 for a life expectancy of 76.2 years. Medical error maybe accounts for a third of deaths in the US.

I am being provocative here, and yes I'm going straight to the doctor when my kidney fails or whatnot. Still, if I were CEO of USCorp I'd be seriously considering selling off the assets of the healthcare division.

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