Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Not even wrong
An apparently scientific argument is said to be not even wrong if it is based on assumptions that are known to be incorrect, or alternatively theories which cannot possibly be falsified or used to predict anything. The phrase was coined by the early quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was known for his colourful objections to incorrect or sloppy thinking.
The term (or pseudo-skepticism) denotes thinking that appears to be skeptical but is not. The term is most commonly encountered in the form popularised by Marcello Truzzi, through his Journal of Scientific Exploration, where he defined pseudoskeptics as those who take "the negative rather than an agnostic position but still call themselves 'skeptics.