Young’s Incredulity Principle

Douglas Adams once said [citation needed] that one of the benefits of the Internet is that it made people more skeptical of the written word. Words in newspapers, though not literally set in stone, impart a feeling of Having To Be True. Words on a screen, that can be put there by anyone, surely don’t carry this weight. Unfortunately, my inbox over the years has shown very little evidence to support this.

Rather than having to reply to each email and explain that Nasa didn’t spend millions developing a zero gravity pen rather than using a pencil or that a blond did not spend an hour holding what she thought were her brains in I came up with a handy rule that I could gift to the undeserving masses to help them lead better lives and save them countless hours hitting the “forward” button and adding further exclamation marks.

I therefore bestow on the world “Young’s Incredulity Principle”:

The amount that you’d like to believe something is true is inversely proportional to the probability of it actually being true

…where “like” includes the comfort of confirmation of long held prejudices rather than just simply making you happy.

I’m sure it’s not an original thought and it’s probably just a corollary of Sturgeon’s Law but who asked you anyway. Jeez. There’s no pleasing some people.

November 8th, 2008 | AllReallyBad

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