Subject: Re: Comparing development effort : Lisp and functional languages versus Java.
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2001 10:27:57 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,,comp.lang.functional,comp.lang.scheme
Message-ID: <>

* israel r t <>
| Is there any objective evidence for this statement?

* (Software Scavenger)
> Can anyone even prove it's less than 100 to 1?

* israel r t <>
| No.
| That would be patently absurd.

  Please try to figure out that your request for "objective evidence" has
  been shown to be nothing more than a hostile rhetorical device devoid of
  constructive value when you answered "no" to a question that should be
  much easier to prove on your part, "objective evidence" clearly being
  instrumental in a proof.  When you cannot dish up any "objective
  evidence" for a counter-claim an order of magnitude stronger than the
  one you request it for, what is patently absurd is your initial request.

  People who are so ill educated in logic that they talk about "proof" and
  "objective evidence" in informal settings, fail to understand that what
  they are doing is simply being hostile idiots wielding a weapon that they
  do not understand.  In a formal setting, "evidence" and "proof" derive
  their legitimacy on consensus and unanimity of both principles and
  premises of the field.  Since this is clearly very useful and valuable in
  mathematics and physics, some people who do not understand _how_ it is
  valuable have instead been seriously confused and think that failure to
  "prove" something or failure to provide "objective evidence" is somehow a
  weakness of the other party to their discussion until one starts to think
  about how little of what we hold to be true that we can prove to a person
  who has signalled not only disbelief, but a requirement to believe in it
  that far exceeds any requirements satisfied by anything he already

  Using "proof" and "objective evidence" in a rhetorical fashion like this
  is nothing more than evidence of a person's lack of ability to deal with
  his feelings of congitive dissonance -- the feeling of conflict between
  what he already believes and what he is asked to believe.  What this is a
  good symptom of, is a person who has believed only the first thing he has
  heard basically without evidence or proof whatsoever, but when it needs
  to be disproven or replaced by another belief, he applies a standard of
  truth to it that is intended to show only two things: (1) that what he
  already believes remains unchallenged, and (2) that whatever challenged
  it did not stand up under scrutiny.  This would not be so bad if people
  always believed true and proven things, but since they mostly believe a
  lot of nonsense, and only those who believe a lot of nonsense use "proof"
  and "objective evidence" to fight off challenges (those who know that
  their own beliefs are true and proven, can simply provide some evidence
  of their own beliefs to counter unfounded claims), using the tools of
  logic in a petty and hostile reaction to things one does not want to hear
  is somewhat ironically a strong signal to their surroundings that they
  lack strength of conviction in their own beliefs.

  How should we then face new information that challenges our current
  beliefs?  Assume it is true and see what follows.  Of course, if we do
  this, idiots who fail to understand that the level of goodwill required
  by this methodology will waste a lot of our time.  Idiots who refuse to
  back down from their false beliefs and/or sheer insanity, then become a
  source of flame wars and continued spurts of hatred on USENET.

  The past is not more important than the future, despite what your culture
  has taught you.  Your future observations, conclusions, and beliefs are
  more important to you than those in your past ever will be.  The world is
  changing so fast the balance between the past and the future has shifted.