Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fractal Wrongness and Pwned.

The first is to popularize a very useful term of Fractal Wrongness. It has been batting around for a while showing up in the Computer Science lexicon or two for a while. Mentioned on both the Non-Prophets and the Atheist Experience.

The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person's worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person's worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person's opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet--in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums--your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.

I've met many people exactly like this, amazingly as wrong in their entire view as they are on the little subpoints that views that view is built upon. Leading to an odd sort of paradox where not only are none of the premises acceptable but the entire argument itself fails and is itself being used to build up an impossibly wrong conclusion. If you look into why the premises fail, you'll see they are accepted on reasons equally as bad as the conclusion they are attempting force out of this silly exercise.

Second, suggested by two headed boy on some philosophy blog comment.

instead of writing "QED" at the end of proofs, I think we should all start writing "pwned."

(Via Ethics in Science entry)

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