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Does Java cause self-delusion?

Posted on December 5, 2007, in Philosophy, Programming

Finally, the mainstream media is starting to consider the possibility that Java is not only the crappiest language available on this planet (or at least up there with others such as C#), but also has the capacity for adversely affecting one’s learning capacity.

My 6 year old son is learning computer programming by first understanding the mathematical foundations, then applying what he has learned using Haskell, because it is short and natural (he doesn’t even know what Haskell is). I know many people claim to struggle with this language, but I have always held the position that this is because they are tainted will ill-conceived ideas that are internalised to the point of failing critical examination. My son uses a Linux machine for his work (read: fun), but importantly, Java is and has always been banned on his computer. As his trusted carer, I have a moral obligation to protect him from what could cause possible harm and from my observations, potential self-delusion.

Yes, that’s right. Java appears to me to cause an extreme state of delusion. Too often, I find myself in a conversation with someone who only knows one language (or a few others that are superficially different i.e. strict, imperative, poor type system), but most importantly, they don’t know it that well. I have the unfortunate and shameful scar of knowing Java quite well having worked on the implementation, but it always fascinates me to watch someone argue against what I am telling them even though they are not introducing any new information into the discussion. The conversation often quickly denigrates into chest-beating nonsense by making outlandish claims such as “my having never worked on a large Java application” (so what? and, I’ve worked on the largest Java application on the planet, but again, so what?) and various other forms of logical fallacy. I think we’ve all seen this behaviour to some extent, but it seems to proliferate quite extensively from the bottom of the intellectual pool i.e. the Java community.

It is a logical notion that the most well-versed person on the origins of Christianity is an Atheist (and observations support this), likewise, the most well-versed Java programmer wouldn’t touch such a useless (albeit popular) tool unless under extreme duress. This naturally leads to a conclusion where one attempts to explain the observed irrational behaviour from the Java Junkies who don’t understand the ins and outs of Java that well anyway (seriously, this boggles my mind). I certainly don’t think these people are committing acts of intellectual fraud by trying to deceive me. I am convinced that they have deceived themselves (again, Monotheistic belief systems – such a sound analogy), but to this extent?

The psychology of the human brain continues to fascinate me. The ability for self-delusion is extraordinary. I throw out the hypothesis that Java potentially causes brain damage for examination by anyone who cares. Certainly, I find no other explanation for such irrational behaviour.