Subject: Re: [OT] Re: Difference between LISP and C++
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 30 Oct 2002 21:14:09 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Bijan Parsia
| The problem with this dictum, I've found, is that it tends to elide the
| possibility of malicous stupidity (or of culpable stupidity of a sort
| that entails something of the same order as malice).

  I quite agree.  /Everything/ can be explained by stupidity.  One would
  have to perform an exhaustive search of all other possible explanations
  and determine whether they are less adequate than stupidity to say that
  something can be adequately explained by stupidity, so it is a silly rule
  to begin with.  It only says that people are not evil, they are stupid,
  but this is wishful thinking; it pretends that people will change their
  mind sooner if they are believed to act from stupidity than from malice.
  There is no evidence that this is true.

  However, if people are believed to act from /ignorance/ or /unawareness/
  in preference to either stupidity or malice (which would exclude willful
  ignorance and unawareness), they usually listen to facts and pointers to
  more information.

  Some invariably believe that if they should have known and that this is
  communicated by giving them information they obviously missed, it is
  instead an accusation of stupidity and/or malice, in which case that is
  precisely what it turns out to be.

| (Of course, the "adequately" is supposed to cover some of this, but, in
| general, I prefer *best* (available) explanations rather than merely
| adequate ones.)

  I make it this simple: Willful stupidity is ipso facto malicious.

  Errare humanum est.  We cannot escape not knowing enough and it is
  impossible to cover every possible angle, but once notified of knowledge
  or angles that are important to the argument at hand, failure to adapt
  the argument accordingly is therefore willful, therefore malicious.

  People have asked for the root of all evil for eons.  One of the reasons
  that many have been afraid to name the obvious candidate is that they
  would like to defend some other things that also follow from the same
  root and would be hard to defend if this rule was made hard and fast:
  The root of all evil is the failure to think.

  (For that matter, the root of all stupidity is the failure to think, too.)

  In my personal view, stupidity is tantamount to malice, anyway.  The only
  hope for someone who missed the obvious or important is to claim simple
  unawareness -- in which case the person should be happy to be informed of
  whatever they missed and there should be no hint of an accusation until
  they fight back against what was never there.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.