Today I watched a talk on skepticism about quantum error correction. Now I don’t agree with the particular criticism’s leveled, but I’m all for people airing their criticisms and, if the majority view is correct, the majority should be able to answer the questions raised. But this isn’t what interested me today. What interested me today was thinking about the following question: when has it been true that a curmudgeon, which I use in the most positive since of the word, been on the winning side? When has it been that a single or very small group of radicals who opposes a majority whose beliefs are set in concrete has actually ended up on the correct side of the argument? But more than this the definition of a curmudgeon indicates an amount of stubbornness which is above and beyond normal stubbornness. Indeed I would say that it even indicates a small amount of being confronted to by contrary evidence, but persisting in spite of this. And maybe not even being confronted not just by a bit of contrary evidence, but maybe a vast encyclopedia of contrary evidence.
I suppose the reason this fascinates me is that I, myself, certainly have some curmudgeonly characteristics. Does this mean I’m doomed to the losing side of the battle? I’m pretty sure I’m doomed, but for other reasons, and only today did it occur to me that I need to add my curmudgeonness to the list of reasons for doom.