Q. Am I really wrong?


Q. Are you sure?


Q. Can you prove that I’m wrong?

Yes, but, you’ll have to agree in advance what proof looks like, otherwise you could just move the goalposts after the game.

Q. How come I have so much evidence that I’m right?

That’s confirmation bias. Your brain carefully files away all the reasons you might be right, and disregards all the reasons you might be wrong.

Q. How come so many people agree with me?

They’re wrong too.

Q. They can’t all be wrong, can they?

Most people are wrong about most things most of the time. If there’s one remarkable discovery to be made in the study of science, religion and philosophy, it’s that being wrong about almost everything does people so little harm. The fact that every scientific discovery since the stone age has only doubled our life expectancy is a cutting indictment of the futility of knowledge in the face of ignorance.

Q. What about the evidence that I should be right?

Those are mostly just reasons why it’s embarrassing that you’re wrong.

Q. What about the mathematical proof that I’m probably right?

That just means we should have been momentarily surprised that you were wrong. Total denial is not called for.

Q. Why has nobody told me this before?

Given the way you’re acting now, it’s hard to imagine anybody feeling like you might be anything but completely receptive to information relating to your wrongness.

Q. So what? I’m supposed to completely rethink everything I thought I knew?

Well, bumbling blindly got you this far, and we wouldn’t be exploring all our options unless we at least considered elective ignorance. Eternal darkness loses some of its lustre once you embark upon it willingly, though, so perhaps you should take comfort in the knowledge that you’re probably wrong about all sorts of other things, too.



Post a comment
  1. October 29, 2013

    “a FAQ” never “an FAQ”.

    • October 29, 2013

      It depends how you pronounce FAQ. If it’s a single word that rhymes with “back” then it’s “a FAQ” but if it’s three letters “EFF AY KEW” then it’s “an F.A.Q.”

      Either is a bit clumsy: “A frequently asked questions” isn’t a lot more elegant than “an frequently asked questions” but the term has entered sufficiently common usage that it’s safe, in this context, to use it as a noun.

      Aware that there would be some ambiguity over pronunciation, I put periods between the letters to give the reader a clue as to which of the two options was intended.

      It’s not like I didn’t think about this.

      I guess, really, what I’m trying to say, is that you’re wrong.

      • I'm Right #
        October 29, 2013

        You are both wrong.

      • October 30, 2013

        [citation needed]

      • October 30, 2013

        How ever you pronounce consonants .. .they’re still not vowels. It doesn’t mater how many reasons why it’s embarrassing that you’re wrong you cite.

      • October 30, 2013

        A real live misinformed grammar troll? Right here on my very own blog? You guys are like the drunk hecklers of the Internet.

      • March 5, 2014

        Funny… I always pronounced it FA Q (fa – Q). I first learned about them when I was in tech support, and that was how it was pronounced if we didn’t just say the phrase itself to the customers.

      • Enno #
        March 6, 2014

        You’re both wrong because it’s more than one question. So not a singular “Frequently Asked Question” but plural “Frequently Asked Questions”. Neither “a” nor “an”. Now, you get to argue over FAQ vs. FAQs and whether or not FAQ is a collective noun for more than one question. Your time starts now…

      • May 27, 2014

        Iraq. a FAQ. That’s I choose to pronounce it.

      • May 27, 2014

        I challenge you, sir, to a duel.

      • May 27, 2014

        A duel of what sorts??

      • May 27, 2014

        My favourite line on this subject (from a Patrick O’Brian novel set in an era when duelling at dawn was the traditional manner of resolving a dispute) is “Pistols for two, coffee for one” but it seems in poor taste these days. Maybe it’ll have to be rock, paper, scissors.

      • May 27, 2014

        To determine who’s right? Doesn’t seem fair.

      • May 27, 2014

        Not at all. I’ll even let you go first.

      • May 27, 2014

        “Thank you!” I’d say, being an idiot. Of course, I’m not, and like I said: rps shouldn’t be used for an argument of this kind.

      • May 27, 2014

        You’re wrong. See above.

      • May 29, 2014


    • May 27, 2014

      Pronunciation makes it start with a vovel – “ef”. Thus according to rules of english it is An FAQ.

  2. October 29, 2013

    “Q. What about the evidence that I should be right?
    Those are mostly just reasons why it’s embarrassing that you’re wrong.”

    Sorry for being dense, but I don’t quite get what this one is trying to say. Is it embarrassing for the Wrong person, as in “What you think of as evidence you’re right is actually evidence you’re wrong, and you should be embarrassed at how stupid you are for misinterpreting it”, or embarrassing in general, as in “Yes, you really should be right because X, but annoyingly and embarrassingly for everyone, you’re still wrong”?

    • October 30, 2013

      Ok. This could be clearer. It’s a response to appeal to authority: “I’m an expert, so I should be right” doesn’t mean you really are right but if this is the sort of thing that you, as an expert, really ought to be right about, then you look like rather less of an expert if you turn out to be wrong.

      • Patrick #
        November 6, 2013

        Why don’t you change it to ‘What about my expertise and relevant background knowledge?’

      • November 25, 2013

        That makes sense.

      • May 27, 2014

        This is a clearer explanation.

  3. I'm Right #
    October 29, 2013

    @ProperDiscord You’re wrong.

  4. byroboy #
    October 30, 2013

    Could you be wrong about me being wrong? 🙂

  5. adele #
    May 26, 2014

    you’re right and wrong at the same time
    that’s depend from your point of view
    where you stand depends where you sit….still

  6. May 26, 2014

    There’s absolutely no wrong in it to be wrong as long as you don’t try not to be wrong all the time…hey lovely write up….something quirky and humorous as well as logical…you deserve FP… So I am following you

  7. May 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on nikyliriano.

  8. May 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Rocky Horror Of Youth.

  9. May 26, 2014

    Are you crazy? Lol. Just kidding.

  10. kingdevthedon #
    May 27, 2014

    Reblogged this on therealkingdev and commented:

  11. joesch22 #
    May 27, 2014

    Refreshing and probably wrong

  12. May 27, 2014

    Love it!

  13. May 27, 2014

    Reblogged this on Lubabah and commented:

  14. cerabellum #
    May 27, 2014

    nice little satire. Wouldn’t have included religion in there though… Gave A. a better argument, made it about scientific inquiry and discovery but then had to add religion…

    Example within an example haha.

    • May 27, 2014

      If we’re going to talk about being wrong about stuff, it would be strange to ignore religion. The major monotheistic religions present their single deity as the one true God with a single creation narrative and a sometimes self-contradictory set of rules to live by. Without taking a side here, these religions can’t all be right, so even if they’re not all wrong, most of them are. Unless, that is, we’re embracing a non-aristoteleian form of logic in which two contradictory statements can simultaneously be true, in which case everybody can be wrong about everything and still be right.

      • cerabellum #
        May 27, 2014

        Oh nono I didn’t mean that, I completely agree with your take on religion – but presented in the argument along with science didn’t seem right. Scientific discovery and advancement is, in my view, exactly the opposite of religiosity. One of the most harmful and illogical vices to have crept up through evolution is religion. Science is combating the futility of our ignorant disposition while religion perpetuates it.

      • May 27, 2014

        They’re all areas where we get to observe wrongness – sometimes in the search for truth, sometimes in the pigheaded pursuit of wrongness. Religion and science are not the same thing, but we do get to use the two words in the same sentence from time to time.

      • cerabellum #
        May 27, 2014

        Fair enough – I agree with that. I just wouldn’t put them both in the context of discovery and true knowledge. But then again, that’s me. I am an atheist who adheres to Einsteinian religion and admires people like Dawkins and Hitchens.

  15. May 27, 2014

    No one can be right all the time, except for me. lol

  16. May 27, 2014

    Reblogged this on Less Is More…More or Less. and commented:
    A pretty clever perspective!

  17. May 27, 2014

    Thank you for this. So much.

  18. May 27, 2014

    Q. Confirmation bias is a doubled-edged sword. If you use it to disprove someone, they can simply use it to disprove you.

    That’s not really a question.

    Q. Nope. And your confirmation bias has removed from your awareness the fact that everyone’s reality is right for them.

    Prove it.

    Q. I just did.


    • May 27, 2014

      Confirmation bias is the habit of only recognising evidence that supports a believe you already hold. It is an explanation for why somebody might believe something, but it doesn’t disprove that argument – it only explains how somebody can have ignored the evidence to the contrary.

      The idea that everybody’s reality is right for them is a treacherous line to take. In the words of Harry G Frankfurt (On Truth, Pimlico, 2007):

      “…societies cannot afford to tolerate anyone or anything that fosters a slovenly indifference to the distinction between true and false. Much less can they indulge the shabby, narcissistic pretense that being true to the facts is less important than being ‘true to oneself.’ If there is any attitude that is inherently antithetical to a decent and orderly social life, that is it.”

      Frankfurt is good. He doesn’t mess about. He writes short books about big things, and he gets to the point. He goes on:

      “A society that is recklessly and persistently remiss in any of these ways is bound to decline or, at least, to render itself culturally inert. It will certainly be incapable of any substantial achievement, and even of any coherent and prudent ambition.”

      “Societies have never gotten along healthily, and cannot get along healthily, without large quantities of reliable factual information. The also cannot flourish if they are beset with troublesome infections of mistaken beliefs. To establish and to sustain an advanced culture, we need to avoid being debilitated either by error or by ignorance. We need to know – and, of course, we must also understand how to make productive use of – a great many truths”.

      So there.

      • May 27, 2014

        Wow, that’s a lot of quoting. And yet, I’m still right.

        You see, I’m so sure that the sun exists that when somebody tells me it doesn’t, I don’t argue with them. I just smile, shake my head, sadly, and walk away.

        Their belief, strange as it is, must serve them or they wouldn’t hold it. And if they are arguing with strangers, trying to get them to join their team, their team must be on shaky ground. Only the dubious proselytize, only the fearful require an army.

        Shaking my head, walking away.

      • May 27, 2014

        You’ve created a magical reality in which everybody’s truth is right for them, so of course you’re right. This one actually is a double-edged sword, though, because it means I’m right too, which is how come you’re wrong. You walked away just in time to not get trapped in your own circular argument. Or maybe you didn’t. Or perhaps both.

      • May 29, 2014

        Also awesome.

  19. May 27, 2014

    hahahaha.. an article that successfully drive people to write/give comments!

  20. May 28, 2014

    Hahaha, this is great! Good job on this!

  21. May 28, 2014

    It sounds like a conversation with the iPhone’s Siri.

  22. May 28, 2014

    Reblogged this on Surviving in Paradise and commented:
    Everyone else is always wrong.

  23. May 29, 2014

    This was quite entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed the sarcasm and satire amongst you and your readers.

  24. May 29, 2014

    Reblogged this on TheGEorgIApRncESs and commented:
    lOVE THIS!

  25. myballetshoes #
    May 29, 2014

    Reblogged this on Letters to November.

  26. May 30, 2014

    Reblogged this on Monkey Memoirs..

  27. May 31, 2014

    Reblogged this on Apps Lotus's Blog.

  28. May 31, 2014

    Reblogged this on umsterling.

  29. June 1, 2014

    The Cruciverbalist says: The solution to “Internet data” is not FAQ. The answers to FAQs comprise the internet data.

  30. Wendy #
    June 1, 2014

    Reblogged this on Ramblings and Musings and commented:
    Funny. I don’t know if the comments will carry through, the comments are as good as the post!
    This could also be called Perception is Reality.

    • June 2, 2014

      The trouble with “perception is reality” is that it replaces truth with sincerity. The upside is everybody gets to be right. The downside is the concept of truth becomes meaningless. This only seems like a good deal if you have a sneaking suspicion you were wrong in the first place.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. You are probably wrong most of the time | Constantine
  2. You’re incompetent: An F.A.Q. | Proper Discord

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