Subject: Re: less parentheses --> fewer parentheses
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/08/24
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (FM)
| If you meant learning by a counter-example then, I guess you can
| still *learn*.

  Please listen carefully, now.  You're still in the frame of mind
  where people who know something that others don't _teach_ it and
  where learning means listening to someone who communicates what they
  know that whoever listens presumably don't.  Learning isn't like
  that at all.  It isn't like that even in schools and universities.
  Learning is, to repaet myself, a profoundly _personal_ experience,
  and it's about your relationship with the world around you, and that
  _includes_ people, but they are far from primary.  Knowledge does
  not reside in the communications of knowledgeable people.  _Your_
  knowledge exists in _your_ brain.  It's _your_ responsibility to
  stuff _your_ brain with knowledge any way you can.

| Anyhow, I find it humorous that you redefined what it is to be
| "human" again.

  It is consistent with your idea of learning that concepts have only
  one meaning, and that people "define" humanity as one single aspect
  every time they point to some essential feature.  I am, however,
  quite amazed by this mode of thinking.

| Irrelevant, you implied the importance of activity on the part of
| the one sharing knowledge, yet you turn around and say you can learn
| from them without having them *teach* you.

  No, I certainly did not imply the importance of any activity on the
  part of the one "sharing" knowledge.  Even if I did, I'm very far
  from turning around: I have never said or implied that "learn" is
  _only_ the passive, receiving end of "teach".  Quite the contrary:
  Learning is an _active_ process.

| In other words, you somehow pointed out that you should be nice to
| those who have knowledge to share, while still arguing that *they*
| don't have to do anything for you to learn from them.

  No, I have never argued for anyone being nice.  I wonder if your
  world isn't coming in only two colors and that if I deny something,
  you automatically think that the contrary has been asserted.  This
  is just not the case.  I have argued that if you are _hostile_ to
  someone who knows more than you or are skillful and competent, they
  won't share anything with you.  Nothing in that implies being nice.
  Just be normal.  Nice is nicer than normal.

| There's a clear contradiction here, perhaps related to your changing
| definition of what "learning from someone" means.

  Nope, the contradictions are your own quite amazingly sloppy work.
  "Not nice" doesn't mean "hostile", just as "not hostile" doesn' mean
  "nice".  Both concepts imply the presence of a quality, and it is
  that presence that is denied in with "not", meaning that a
  contradition of either concept means that the quality is _absent_,
  not that some other quality (which one?) is present.

| Ridiculous. You face more people than you can possibly relate to.
| You can't "actively" learn from everyone.

  I can, because I don't put people first.  You do, so you can't.  And
  I don't learn _from_ people, I learn _via_ people.  I also don't
  teach people, I teach the stuff I know.  If people want to learn,
  that's good.  If they don't, they'd better not pretend to know what
  they don't.

| And so what if I had such priorities. Learning isn't the most
| important activity

  Thank you.  This is what I have wanted you to come out and say,
  because clearly you put something, and my guess/hunch/view on that
  is that that is people relations, first.  Then you'll never really
  learn, because you learn what other people tell you at best, not the
  stuff they are talking about.

| >  You know, the very essence of the ad hominem argument, which most
| >  people don't exactly take pride in the way you do, is that you don't
| >  want to listen to the argument because of the person.  I consider it
| >  an incredibly unintelligent approach to both people and arguments.
| Irrelevant.  If you're engaged in a formal debate, then you are
| simply not allowed to dismiss an argument based on the lack of
| credibility on the part of the opposition.  On the other hand,
| there's more information than you can possibly imagine, and it's
| okay to dismiss certain sources that you consider unreliable or
| offensive.

  Oh, great, so unless you're in a formal debate, ad hominems are
  perfectly OK?  Well, I tend to think there's something wrong with
  the people behind an argument quite often, but I still don't dismiss
  their _arguments_ as such.  You do.  I consider that moronic at best.

  However did you manage to confuse "unreliable" with "offensive"?
  And if this isn't saying "only nice people are reliable", nothing is.

| For example, when you're looking for a book in a certain area, do
| you not pay attention at all to who wrote it?  Do you read every
| single newspaper in the world?

  Highly irrelevant, and stupid too boot.

| >  I'd rather dismiss the person for his arguments any day.
| That on the other hand, would, vaguely qualify as "ad hominem" if
| you dismiss other aspects of a person based on his "arguments" in a
| specific area.

  Perhaps you should to look up what "argumentum ad hominem" means
  before you make a bigger fool of yourself?

  Dismissing the person means just that: I don't want to have to deal
  with the _person_.  Since you obviously have not yet grasped the
  very important distinction between a person and his actions and work
  or whatever his professional role, but still speak in terms of
  people when you want to gain knowledge of whatever you experience as
  the real world, there is no hope for you until you realize that in
  your quest for knowledge, people are just _media_.  (People are, of
  course, very nice to be around as such, but if you can't deal with
  the two functions of always learning and being with other people,
  you aren't really with other people, either.)

| Perhaps that's not how you meant it, but would you dismiss a
| Political Science professor on what he has to say about the world
| politics simply because he was unable to give coherent arguments for
| his ideas on the design of a LispOS.

  Irrelevant, and an incredibly stupid example.  Is this really the
  best you can do if you have to ridicule your opponents?  Clearly,
  learning is so far down on your list, I'll bet you'll have to go to
  classes to get into it, and that probably doesn't work well, either.

| >  As I have belabored, if you can't learn from the harsh parts of
| >  life, what do you expect to learn from the soft and kind?
| Why do you assume that he didn't "learn?"

  Why do you assume that?  Can't you deal with conditionals, either?

| Then don't deal with it.  If you find it necessary to deal with
| incompetence, then it's your problem.  Find a better place to work,
| hire better people, etc, etc.

  Oh, geez.  Spare me such infantile naïvité!  Show me a country where
  incompetent people are banned from power, private or public, and
  I'll pack up and move.  If it doesn't exist (which, since you have
  so problems with conditionals, it doesn't), there's no such thing as
  "go start your own country", or "go live on your own planet" unless
  you're just as moronic as I'm beginning to suspect you are.  (That's
  an instance of dismissing the person for his arguments.)

  If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.