Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-15-95

To appear in Journal of Uncertain Systems, 2017, Vol. 11.


At first glance, Tertullian's idea -- that absurdity of a statement makes it more believable -- sounds irrational, maybe appropriate for theology but definitely not for science. However, somewhat surprisingly, a similar idea was successfully used by the Nobelist Niels Bohr in theoretical physics -- an epitome of rationality in science. In this paper, we show that this Tertullian-Bohr idea actually has a simple rational explanation. Specifically, if previous attempts to construct a theory which is consistent with what is perceived as common sense were unsuccessful, this implies that a true theory much contradict common sense -- and thus, the fact that a given theory contradicts common sense increases the probability of its correctness.

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