Subject: Re: contra graham
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2002 10:33:53 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Chris Beggy
| Here's a rebuttal to some of Paul Graham's recent writing:

  What is there to counter?  The guy has completely lost it.  His rant
  about Java (Java's Cover, dated April 2001) is the worst piece of
  dishonest argumentation I have seen outside of U.S. racial politics.
  Clearly, we no longer have to actually read what he writes, it enough to
  "feel" something about it and talk to others who have not read anything
  he writes, either.  Consequently, it is sufficient to argue that:

1 He has been so energetically hyped.
2 He is aiming low.
3 He has ulterior motives.
4 No one loves him.
5 People are forced to listen to him.
6 He has too many arguments.
7 He is bureaucratic.
8 He is pseudo-hip.
9 He has a large organization.
A The wrong people like him.
B His daddy is in a pinch.
C The DoD likes him.

  See for how he treats Java
  exactly this way.  (It is obviously irrelevant whether any of this is
  true or not.  Arguments like that are not _true_, they are arbitrary.)

  It is highly disturbing to watch a person progress from what appeared to
  be a clear and successful thinker to his defending his right to be a
  prejudiced idiot.  Everyone looks at something and makes decision like
  "this stinks", but who is presumptuous enough to write an article with
  this as the premise?  The whole piece is an immature stunt, the likes of
  which you expect from 14-year-olds who just came to the Net.  He sort of
  defends his crap thusly:

    Some people who've read this think it's an interesting attempt to write
    about something that hasn't been written about before.

  But this, too, is hogwash.  The prejudice of ignorants has been the
  subject of much serious and unserious writing alike over the years.  When
  not desired, it takes the form of racism, homophobia, and other forms of
  bigotry.  When the prejudice of ignorants is highly desired, however, it
  is called "marketing", "campaigning", "user-friendly", and "popular".

  _Not_ managing to figure out that ignorant hackers have prejudice, too,
  and thinking it has not been written about before is haughty at best.
  But more importantly, should we listen to people who make arguments about
  something based solely on the other peoeple who are behind it, the target
  of it, and who may like it?  Perhaps in a bar, perhaps when trying to
  find out which courses to take at a university, but as a world-wide self-
  published statement?  No.  I say: Turn away!  This is a man who has come
  to his position too quickly and have not a clue how to deal with it.

  A similarly unfortunate incident happened to the brilliant mathematician
  U. J. J. Leverrier, who computed the position of an additional planet
  beyond Uranus to account for its unexplained orbital irregularities
  according to Newtonian mechanics.  Having found Neptune this way (it was
  independently confirmed in 1846), he set out to find a planet inside the
  orbit of Mercury to account for its irregular orbit according to the same
  Newtonian physics that had given him so much well-deserved success and
  high acclaim.  The planet Vulcan the he false predicted numerous times
  obviously does not exist, however.  Instead of another success at what he
  was obviously very good at, he paid with his life and carreer to prove
  the very theory on which he built his standing _wrong_ and paved the way
  for Einstein's much more _accurate_ theories.  (This story is recounted
  in the introductory essay Why and When Are Smart People Stupid by Ray
  Hyman in Stephen J. Sternberg (ed): Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid.
  ISBN 0-300-09033-1.)

  Leave the tragic ranting on Java or Arc or whatever alone.  Remember Paul
  Graham for his very useful contributions to Common Lisp (and try to
  ignore his misinformed opinion masquerading as fact about `loop').
  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.

  70 percent of American adults do not understand the scientific process.