Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Margin of Error

Posted on February 25, 2011

This blog post has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

Which, I guess would mean that that number, itself, could be wrong. If it's three percentage points in error of its percentage of error, then this blog post could have a margin of error as large as 6% or as little as 0%, which would mean it was absolutely correct.

And, if we assume that it's absolutely correct that it has a 6% chance of being wrong about its 6% margin of error, than six times six is a 36%. Wow, this blog post has a possibility of being totally wrong a full one-third of the time!

I'm sorry, I think I got my math wrong. I was never so good at numbers. When I said "possibility" I should have said "probability." because, we're dealing with probabilities, right?

That means this post is probably wrong 36% of the time. So, let's say that we test this blog three times, and each time it's one-third wrong. One-third times three is 100%. This blog post is probably totally wrong 100% of the time.

Or, 0% wrong, which is absolutely right. Both are equally valid possibilities/probabilities.

So, how can we tell if this blog post is 100% right or 100% wrong? Well, the only way is to ask one possibility what the other possibility would say and then assume the opposite.

See, if you asked the blog post that was right 100% of the time---let’s call that Post A---what the blog post that was wrong 100% of the time---Post B---would say… Let me start over.

Post A asks Post B if it’s correct, and Post A says that Post B said no. Well, if Post B is always wrong, Post B is wrong about it being wrong, which makes it right. But, then that makes Post A wrong about Post B being… I’m getting a really bad headache here. Does anyone have any ibuprofen?

Anyway, I can’t be sure, but I think this blog post is trying to create a paradox that would destroy the Space/Time Continuum. But, I think I can stop it by---

[BOOOOOOOMMMMM … pfizzzzle… pop!]

Oh shit, existence ended. Sorry, guys.