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For other uses, see Not even wrong (disambiguation).

The phrase not even wrong describes any argument that purports to be scientific but fails at some fundamental level, usually in that it contains a terminal logical fallacy or it cannot be falsified by experiment (i.e. tested with the possibility of being rejected), or cannot be used to make predictions about the natural world.

The phrase is generally attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was known for his colorful objections to incorrect or sloppy thinking.[1] Rudolf Peierls documents an instance in which "a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli's views. Pauli remarked sadly, 'It is not even wrong'." [2] This is also often quoted as "It is not only not right, it is not even wrong," or "Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!" in Pauli's native German. Peierls remarks that quite a few apocryphal stories of this kind have been circulated and mentions that he listed only the ones personally vouched by him. He also quotes another example when Pauli replied to Lev Landau, "What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not."[2]

The phrase is often used to describe pseudoscience or bad science, and is considered derogatory.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Shermer M (2006). "Wronger Than Wrong". Scientific American. 
  2. ^ a b Peierls, R. (1960). "Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, 1900-1958". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 5: 186. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1960.0014. 
  3. ^ Oliver Burkeman (September 19, 2005). "Not even wrong". The Guardian. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong — Please support Wikipedia.
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2 news items

 
Asheville Citizen-Times
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 13:37:30 -0700

BOOK DISCUSSION: The Autism Book Club discusses “Not Even Wrong” by Paul Collins at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 1 p.m. Call 254-6734. BOOK DISCUSSION: “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan is the subject at the ...
 
South China Morning Post (subscription)
Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:30:00 -0700

Well, have a look at an online "review" by Peter Woit (another physicist), dismissively entitled "Not even wrong". The tone reveals much about how far Woit feels challenged at some fundamental level. My schoolboy mathematics is not up to assessing ...
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