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On knowing that you’re often wrong but not knowing when

June 8, 2010

Felix Salmon (via Andrew Gelman):

Many if not most of my opinions are wrong (although of course I have no idea which they are), and … many of the most interesting and useful things I write come out of my being wrong rather than being right. This is not, as Wilkinson noted to Cowen, an easy intellectual stance to hold: he calls it “a weird violation of the actual computational constraints of the human mind”. But I think it’s undoubtedly worth working on.

This makes me feel better about the surprise and then ensuing guilt I experienced the first time one of my published results replicated.

2 Comments
  1. Sanjay Srivastava permalink
    June 8, 2010 10:22 am

    Another example, speaking of negative capability… I believe that Keats was wrong about unweaving the rainbow, but I still like him better than Dawkins. What’s up with that?

  2. June 8, 2010 12:17 pm

    Ditto. I also find myself agreeing with Dawkins more often than not, but still finding him quite a jerk.

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