Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fudging or Meta-Fudging. What’s The Right Word For It?
The other day, discussing the local recycling program with a former town official we both cited the necessity of taking into account that a lot of people won’t sort or clean or limit things thrown into the recycling bin. I was trying to figure out a word for the act of taking that kind of sloppiness into account, “fudging” or even “meta-fudging” don’t seem to work just right. Using them would be an act of whatever it should be called.

Just about everything in life, even those things supposedly of great precision involve some kind of ignoring the less than pristine compliance with what should be. Most of the mewling I’ve been doing here about lapses in science would fall into that category. IQ, the fact that no one can define what it is or prove that it exists as something other than the product of reification doesn’t stop even relatively serious people from making believe that they can build science and, more dangerously, educational systems on the, perhaps, illusory stuff. As it is, there is a professional conspiracy to sweep the sullied pedigree of it under the rug.

We need a formal term for this kind of fudging and a science to identify and study it. Maybe one exists already and I’m just ignorant of it. Anyone know? If this kind of stuff, accepted only because it is either necessary or professionally desirable, could be studied, papers published and, most essential to any of the behavioral sciences, paying jobs produced at universities, tenure and endowed chairs, then maybe the possible negative effects could be controlled. As it is, that kind of junk is rampant.

Anyone know the Greek for "fudging"? An inexhaustable field of study awaits.

I always though of "fudging" as implying not intellectual blindness, but calculated misrepresentation : as is done with lovely "Mission Statements". Sometimes the target of a complaint makes it clear by their characterization of irritated observers the nature of the difference, i.e. "fussbudget".
Back in engineering math classes, we represented it with the letter epsilon. Our professor referred to the math surrounding various fudge factors as "epsilontics" but he always giggled when he said it.
I do believe that you will find the answer at the intersection of Fermat's Last Theorem and the Butterfly effect. Some folk mistake this for Quantum uncertainty but that is a very different issue.

Think very deeply and you will see it.
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