Why It’s Good To Be Wrong

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Well, a redneck nerd in a bowling shirt was a-guzzlin’ lone star beer
Talking religion and-uh politics for all the world to hear.

–Kinky Friedman, *They Aint’ Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore*

I used to hate to be wrong.

In fact, most of my life, I’d deny being wrong long after all doubt had left the room.

I’d get angry when I was wrong, too. More accurately, I’d get angry when someone found out I was wrong.

People like me tend to be wrong a lot, and I think I figured out why. When you assume that your every gut instinct is 100 percent right, you don’t hesitate to spout your opinion about anything. Especially about religion and politics. And after a few beers.

Then, one day not so long ago, I realized that I was the redneck nerd in a bowling shirt that Kinky Friedman punched.

I still don’t like being wrong, but my assumptions have changed. I assume I’m wrong. If you assume your opinion is wrong, you”ll always be at least half right.

When I was afraid to be wrong, because I assumed I was right, I avoided some touchy subjects like race. That’s because being wrong about race could have bad repercussions. And I’d be mad about it, and I’d deny I was wrong even after my wrongness was as obvious as my nose.

Now, I can blog about race because I know I’m probably wrong. But the only way I can find out if I’m wrong is to put my opinion out for testing.

So, for my friends who are wondering why I blogged about something so divisive as race yesterday, now you know: I assume my opinion is wrong, and I want to test it.

It’s called the scientific method.