You can be wronger than wrong - Issac Asimov

2 minute read

On my recent studies on Philosophy of Science (I will describe more in future posts), I came across an article titled: The Relativity of Wrong by Issac Asimov, one of my all-time science-fiction author and science popularizer.

It is his reply to a letter from an English Literature major who attempted to change Asimov’s attitude towards science. This one particular quote did the whole job in my opinion:

“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.”

He goes on to explain how 2 + 2 = purple is more wrong than 2 + 2 = 17 and how students are usually guaged on a discrete scales of Right-Wrong, where in reality it is a continuos scale.

For an intuitive explanation of how transitions from flat-Earth to spherical-Earth to some kind of a pear-shaped one is a result of our ability to do more and more presice measurements, read the entire article in his book titled the same, or here. If you prefer listening to it instead, check the following video.