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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Reality Mirrors Paradox

I've often noted on this blog how often satire ends up predicting reality. It happens pretty often. But this is the first time that I've seen reality mirror a paradox.

The "liars paradox" is a famous logic paradox has the following form:
"This statement is false."
It's a paradox, because whatever truth value you assign to the statement implies the opposite truth value. If you assume the statement is true, that implies that it's false, but that implies it's true, and so forth.

Now, thanks to some recent research, we have a very similar statement:
"Research results shows that the results of all research is false."
Well, not quite. We need to substitute "most" in for "all" in the above statement, but still, it's hard to believe a researcher would write something like that and expect anyone to take him or her seriously.

But let's give this research the benefit of the doubt and assume that it's true (that most other research results are suspect). That might well explain the results of the rather inane research identified by both Hey Skipper and erp that supposedly supports the hypothesis that liberals' brains are more "spiffy" (that's Hey Skipper's word for it) than conservatives' brains. I'd certainly call it suspect.


erp said...

I still stand by my belief that parody, irony, satire, etc. is no longer possible and hasn't been for a very long time, but as this "study" clearly shows, it's still possible to be ridiculous.

Harry Eagar said...

I saw this at Volokh and read as far as this guy's claim that he had understood 'thousands' of research reports better than their authors.

My BS detector went off the scale and I quit readingun