Correct By Coincidence YKTTW Discussion

Correct By Coincidence
(permanent link) added: 2009-12-27 11:54:32 sponsor: superluser edited by: rodneyAnonymous (last reply: 2010-11-20 01:31:06)

Add Tag:
Formerly Critical Research Success, probable redirect that and Accidentally Accurate (extremely close between this and CBC, each is good). Up for Grabs. Probably a Subjective Trope based on what the troper believes to be common knowledge and crackpot theories.

The combination of writers or characters who Did Not Do The Research and an audience filled with too much Common Knowledge. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the subject will realize the writers made this up, while anyone who actually researches the subject will believe the writers are aware of current research on the subject.

If research not available at the time of the writing proves them right, that's a case of Science Marches On, not this trope. If the theory would never have been accepted by researchers working in whatever field (e.g. Professor Alexander Abian's theory that we should blow up the moon to stop Typhus), it's just the writers fertilizing some Epileptic Trees.


  • Examples from The Simpsons
    • In the commmentary for the episode The Crepes of Wrath, the writers note that the bit about adding antifreeze to wine was a parody of an incident where some wine was found contaminated with antifreeze. Obviously, it wasn't deliberately added. Except that the contamination was discovered when a winery started listing antifreeze as a business expense, and it was very deliberately added to make the wine sweeter.
    • While the writers may have known that a torus is one of the contenders for the shape of the universe, Homer certainly didn't know that when he told Stephen Hawking about his theory of a doughnut-shaped universe.

Possible examples:

  • Dolphins are frequently given an Alternative Character Interpretation as violent, venal and murderous animals, unlike their actual gentle and caring personality. As anyone who has studied dolphin behavior can tell you, this is not true. It's not clear which, if any, writers knew this when they used it.
  • Seaquest DSV had an episode where someone claims to have found something in Homer's handwriting. This has to be incorrect, because it would be impossible for a blind man to write something that wasn't written down for many years. While it's not clear if the writers knew it, there is a significant amount of scholarship debating whether Homer was blind and whether the Odyssey was written.
Replies: 25