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February 19, 2014

"Mathematicians know how to admit they’re wrong"

From the "Mathbabe":

Not every person gets trained in being wrong and admitting it. I’d wager that most people in the world, for most of their professional lives, are trained to do the opposite in the face of being wrong: namely, to wriggle out of it or deflect criticism. Most disciplines spend more time arguing they’re right, or at least not as wrong, or at least they have different mistakes, than other related fields. 


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I think a lot of people believe what O'Neill said. The problem is that they think they are trained to think skeptically, when they in fact are not. Ask anyone if they're open to constructive criticism. 100% of respondents will say "yes". Then start criticizing them, not personally attack, but a valid criticism, and find out just how open they really are. Almost everyone will dig in and argue that you are wrong, ultimately taking it personally.

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