Monday, April 23, 2012

On Being Wrong

It's often been brought to my attention, recently, that a graduate student --- indeed, any honest research professional --- spends most of his time being confused. Sometimes this confusion is consciously felt; sometimes it isn't. When it isn't consciously felt, it can lead to people declaring things like "Of Course the Riemann Hypothesis Ought to be True" (this is something most number theorists expect, and can't prove yet) or "Of Course You Can Square the Circle" (this is something actually true, in the right context, but not the context most people claiming it intend) or "Of Course All Widgets are Thingumy" (may or may not be true, depending on W and T, but usually not).

This happens to (honest) research professionals all the time, as well as to the more-normal core of Humanity; but there is a key difference between (honest) r.p.s and a particular subgrouping, not really quite fitting in the latter; which is that an h.r.p. is likely not to mind having been wrong, and will happily acknowledge it and receive correction. The weirdos are convinced that they Are Not Wrong, and no ammount of argument will convince them --- because the wrong conclusion derives from honest unknown confusion. Exposed to truth, honest unknown confusion learns only deceptive felt confusion, and prefers what it doesn't find confusing (even unknown confusion). I trust I make myself clear?

Anyways. I get confused a lot, and sometimes it shows. It's actually kind-of fun! Have a good day, everyone.


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