30 January 2008

Fractal Wrongness

A recent (and unfortunate) foray into the troubled terrain of U.S. political blogging reminded me of the term "fractal wrongness," which I first encountered at Artblog.net.

As the links suggest, fractal wrongness is not specific to politics, but has a wide variety of potential applications.
fractal wrongness
via Keunwoo Lee's "Lexicon of Computing"

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.
Mandelbrot Section
a section of a Mandelbrot set


momtomanylittles said...

Right and Wrong compared to what? Its all relative.

Helquin said...

If you open with "It's all relative," then truly we have nowhere to go but dancing around the Mandelbrot set.